Inspiration Log 2: Entry 3

Tablet Usability

Nielsen Norman Group’s Jakob Nielsen delves into the topic of tablets and the issues with their usability. He concludes that, “flat design and improperly re-scaled design are the main threats to tablet usability, followed by poor gestures and workflow.” On a positive note, Nielsen claims that tablet usability is reasonably solid and websites are relatively usable on tablets. One major problem discussed in the use of frames, either split-screen or temporary designs, and their ineffective application. The truth is that tablet screens should not be divided into multiple frames due to the relatively small size of the screen.

The article also explores the process of “Web UX Bleedthrough”, or web user experience bleeding through to the world of tablets. This concept proves that tablets should incorporate functional search engine results pages as well as useful “back” buttons. This is because users of tablets are already reliant on these functions as a result of utilizing the web so often. Additionally, there are several gesture related issues that tablet applications need to reduce including accidental activation, swipe ambiguity, invisibility, and low learnability. However, the majority of tablet apps that were tested utilized fairly effective gesture functions.

The two primary factors posing threats to tablet usability were found to be flat design and re-scaled design. Flat design caused users to not easily see what all they could do while re-scaled design provided improperly sized screens mostly with Android designs. Fortunately, both issues seem like they will be resolvable with some effort. These results demonstrate that tablet usability is fairly decent and has come a long way. There are still some lasting problems; however, these issues have proved to be minor kinks that will most likely be fixed in the near future.



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