Monday, April 21, 2008

So… Does the iPhone live up to its hype?

A detailed study comparing several phones ...


At last. The usability test of the iPhone! Without doubt, the hype around the iPhone has managed to exceed most consumer devices in modern time. But… will it live up to the hype?

We let some of our best usability experts run an inUse comparative usability test with four phones and five users. It is easy to fall in love with something so beautiful and sexy, but if the device is not easy to use the initial euphoria will quickly turn into despair and frustration.

The results? Stunning. The iPhone has introduced a new interaction paradigm to the world, in an uncompromising way that proves that “less is more” when it comes to true user experience.

Darja Isaksson, CEO inUse


Thanks to Jon Karlsson, Maria Sjödin and Anders Flygh for performing an excellent usability test, to Peter Erhard and Ingrid Ottersten for writing this report, and to Sonja Haglund for the beautiful layout.
So… Does the iPhone live up to its hype?

Without doubt, the hype around the iPhone has managed to exceed most consumer devices in modern time. Rumors, information leaks and patent applications along with total silence from Apple led to a fanatic guessing-game that spread like wildfire on the internet. There is a lot to be said on how Apple managed to pull it off, how much was intentional and how much was accidental, but from a user-perspective we are mostly interested in why people care in the first place.
What is the hype?

A colleague was taking pictures in La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona using his iPhone when he was approached by a stranger who recognized the device, asking to have a look. After playing around with it for a moment he concluded that ”We will not get it here in Spain for a long time. You are very lucky!”.

This is just one of many similar stories of people coming up to us and asking to see and try out the phone and so the question was born: What is it that people expect from the iPhone? What is it they think it will do for them, and how do they expect it to make them happier?

Apple attempts to position themselves as a company with a strong focus on user experience. Apple personal computers may or may not be better or more usable than the competitors, they are essentially used in the same way and the differences are only skin deep. The area where Apple really stands out is with the iTunes store and the iPod.

The iPod changed the way we access and enjoy music, iTunes changed how we purchase it and in the end the whole music industry. The iPod is a phenomenon. Apple made a difference in our daily lives.

We suspect that the fascination for the iPhone that we have seen in people’s faces carries the expectation that the iPhone will simplify and enhance their daily “phoning” life. That people expect the iPhone to change how we communicate in the same way the iPod has already changed our relation to music. If this is the case, how does the iPhone live up to such incredible expectations?

In short, does the iPhone live up to the hype?

... So, does the iPhone live up to its hype?

The iPhone aims for the stars, and the expectations are incredibly high. However, from what we have seen in this initial test, it manages very well.

Crucial everyday actions are intuitive and effective to carry out, at least better implemented than with competing mobile device conventions. The iPhone also seduces with its glossy interface and bright screen.

So – yes. The iPhone does live up to the hype!"    (Continued via    [Usability Resources]

iPhone - Usability, User Interface Design



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