Nielsen last year produced a usability study for the original iPad. Well this year they've done the same thing, and their findings aren't too kind to a number of major iPad applications and iPad optimized websites.
Based on observations collected form 16 individuals who owned iPads for two months, the study found performing basic functions on a number of hand picked iPad apps and websites proved difficult.
For users the biggest confusion for them between applications is the inconsistent nature of gesture-based navigation. Given the fact most users would rather swallow a box full of tacs than read a manual leads to many of the following problems highlighted in the study:
- Splash screens aren't dead. I thought the internet moved on from this horrible, horrible phenomenon, "but apparently splash screens are super-vampires that can haunt users
- from beyond the grave. Several new iPad apps have long introductory segments that might be entertaining the first time, but soon wear out their welcome. Bad on sites, bad in apps."
- Swipe ambiguity. Users were often confused when multiple items on the screen could be swiped. Also, swiping in the wrong spot, because the proper spot wasn't identified, led many users to assume the app was broken.
- Excess Navigation or as Neilsen calls it TMN: too much navigation. TMN clutters the screen and offers each individual navigation option less space.
Also, one of the biggest gripes users, and Neilsen have with iPad apps is the lack of features, and information when compared to their website based counterparts. For example, stores like Amazon require users to sign up for an account and give Amazon their email address to use the iPad app. On their website you can browse without doing so.
Tablets are still new to both designers and consumers. Their expectations and experience with the technology will change, and so will user interfaces and their intuitiveness.
God that sounds really optimistic. Someone must have put something in my coffee.