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HCI - Website Usability of Tablet Devices

HCI - Website Usability of Tablet Devices

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Published by Sebastian Borggrewe
An iPad usability study constructed during my HCI course at the University of Edinburgh.
An iPad usability study constructed during my HCI course at the University of Edinburgh.

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Published by: Sebastian Borggrewe on May 31, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/12/2014

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HCI – Report – s1055940 – Sebastian Borggrewe
Table of Content
 ABSTRACT 2
INTRODUCTION 3
T
HE I
P
 AD
3
R
ESEARCH
P
ROPOSAL
3
M
OTIVATION
3
R
ECENT
R
ESEARCH
3
WORKING PLAN 4
H
 YPOTHESIS
4
P
LANNING
5
E
QUIPMENT
5
USER TEST 6
U
SER
T
 ASKS
6
T
ASK
1:
CNN
.
COM
6
T
ASK
2:
AMAZON
.
CO
.
UK
6
T
ASK
3:
FACEBOOK
.
COM
7
S
ETUP
7
R
ESULTS
8
U
SER DEMOGRAPHY AND PRECONDITIONS
8
T
IME CONSUMPTION OF THE TASKS
8
E
RROR TYPES AND FREQUENCY
9
 A 
DVICE FOR WEBSITE DESIGNERS
11
R
ESTRICTIONS TO MY RESULTS
11
FUTURE RESEARCH 12
 
 
HCI – Report – s1055940 – Sebastian Borggrewe
Abstract
This report deals with the efficiency of the iPad as a web-browsing device and points out themain reasons why the iPad is slower than conventional computing devices (desktop/notebook).Since Apple claims that the iPad is “the best way to experience the web [..]”
i
I was highlymotivated to find out whether it is also the most efficient way to browse the web. By constructinga user experiment for two iPad users and a control group of two notebook users containing threecommon websites (cnn.com, amazon.co.uk and facebook.com), I found out that the iPad is onlysignificantly slower if heavy keyboard is involved in the interaction. However there was anothererror that can actually be avoided: read-tap-asymmetry
1
.The results were taken to create a first checklist, that I advise all website designer to follow.These proposed improvements include especially reducing keyboard input for iPad-optimizedsites. I.e. search suggestions and increasing font and link size, as well as spacing between links.
1
Users are able to read a link, but fail to tap it accurately.
 
HCI – Report – s1055940 – Sebastian Borggrewe
Introduction
The iPad
Apple introduced the iPad on 03/04/2010 and over three million have been sold to date, whichmakes it relevant in the mobile computing market. It is designed to be a netbook replacement intablet form, which is almost 100% controllable via touch screen.
 
Apple claims that the iPad is“the best way to experience the web [..]”
ii
and a recent study
iii
indeed shows that already 38% of iPad users prefer using their iPad for browsing the web over their notebook and mobile phone.
 
Research Proposal
Although the iPad has quite a high resolution for a mobile device, it is still limited due to the lackof keyboard and mouse, in addition to other restrictions that mobile devices in general sufferfrom when it comes down to the web. These are, for instance, the smaller screen and apotentially slower Internet connection. In addition the iPad is the pioneer in a rejuvenatedcomputing category: the tablet. Therefore it is eligible to ask whether current websites areusable with the iPad. Consequently, my main idea is an investigation of the way users browsethe Internet with this new device and what consequences this has for website design regardingtheir usability.
Motivation
Since I am highly interested in both mobile and web technologies and work with bothtechnologies quite intensely, I find the combination of the two even more appealing andexciting. Moreover I am really keen to research whether current websites are suitable to bebrowsed by the iPad.
Recent Research
The iPad is a fairly new product and therefore there have been only a few articles and researchpapers published until now. However the iPad is, as stated above, still a mobile device andtherefore general rules for the usage of the mobile web can be partly applied as well.The Norman Nielsen Group did one of the first researches on Apple’s iPad. In their 103 pagereport, called “Usability of iPad Apps and Websites”
iv
, they give an overview of usability issuesthat occur along apps and websites, when used on the iPad and conclude recommendations foriPad specific app and website design. For example: Bigger font-size to reduce the frequency of zooming and bigger links to counteract the read-tap-asymmetry. This article is especiallyrelevant, because it addresses mobile web usability issues directly related to the iPad.As far as mobile web in general is concerned, I found a couple of useful papers, which helpunderstanding of its usage and what has to be done, to improve the concept.In 2008, a US study on why people access the mobile web was published in “A Framework forUnderstanding Mobile Internet Motivations and Behaviour”
v
. This study tries to explain thereasons people have for using the mobile web and how they use it. This study is therefore able togive an overview of when people access certain services on the web and why. These findings helpdesigning mobile websites in the way they are actually used and can therefore improve userexperience on mobile platforms in general, including the iPad. The main findings the author

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