User Centric, Inc., a Chicago-based usability consultancy, finished a final study examining the user experience of Apple's iPhone. Previously, test participants found the iPhone's touch keyboard overly sensitive despite the iPhone's overall high usability. In this usability study, User Centric compared texting experiences of iPhone owners and non-owners across devices.
User Centric collected data from 60 participants who entered specific text messages and completed mobile device tasks. Twenty iPhone owners (had iPhone for at least one month), 20 hard-key QWERTY phone (aka QWERTY) owners, and 20 numeric phone owners (multi-tap texters) all entered six fixed-length text messages on their own phones. Non-iPhone owners also entered six messages on a test iPhone and a phone of another type. The Blackberry was the other phone for numeric users while QWERTYs used a Samsung E300.
Texting Errors More Frequent on iPhones than Hard-Key QWERTY and Numeric Phones
iPhone owners entered text as rapidly as QWERTY owners on their own phones. However, iPhone owners made significantly more texting errors on their own phone (5.6 errors/message) than both QWERTY owners (2.1 errors/message) and numeric phone owners (2.4 errors/message) on their own phones, p < .01.
Interestingly, comparing texting performance between iPhone owners and novices (non-owners) on the iPhone found no significant difference in error rates.
"While the iPhone's corrective text feature helps, this data suggests that iPhone users who have owned the device for a month still make about the same number of errors as the day they got it," said Gavin Lew, Managing Director.
Unfamiliar Users Performed Best on Hard-Key QWERTY Phone
User Centric also compared users' performance on unfamiliar phones. Numeric phone owners had faster text entry on a hard-key QWERTY phone than on the iPhone and also made significantly fewer errors on the hard-key QWERTY.
"Participants also indicated a preference for hard-key QWERTY phones when texting," said Jen Allen, User Experience Specialist.
Lew added that the "iPhone is a great switch from a numeric phone. But if you're switching from a hard-key QWERTY phone, try the iPhone in the store first."