Related Services: Mobile Device Usability Testing
User Centric received a number of inquiries with questions about this research. In an effort to provide more information to further clarify the research findings this FAQ page was created. Thank you again for the interest. We hope these findings are interesting and serve to stimulate discussions to make mobile devices more useful and engaging for consumers.
Answer: No. This study was entirely funded by User Centric with zero client involvement / sponsorship. It was the second study in a series of research on the iPhone. Our first study was conducted one week after the iPhone launch and included actual iPhone owners. Based on these findings, User Centric conducted another study on non-iPhone users. Future studies planned this quarter will also be 100% funded by User Centric.
Answer: The goal was to publish findings for public consumption in an effort to further mobile phone research and answer interesting user experience questions. Mobile technology is a core area of specialty for User Centric. In the last few years, User Centric completed well over one hundred projects in the mobile space. Our user research on small screen devices have involved over 2,500 individual, one-on-one participant sessions (60 to 120 min sessions -- not online surveys) across five continents and over 20 countries. As such, we are always interested in new technologies and wanted to learn more.
Answer: As with any research study, the question of sample size and power must be addressed (i.e., Is the sample large enough to identify a significance, if it does indeed exist). The simple answer is: Yes. The sample size was sufficiently large and all results presented were statistically significant.
The long-winded answer is: Yes. While the sample may seem low by some large scale marketing standards, I can say with confidence that for hypothesis testing, the sample is certainly sufficient. Again, the fact that the primary results presented were statistically significant should tell those who conduct studies that the findings are legitimate.
User Centric's test methodology employed a 2x2 mixed factorial design. Type of phone owned by the participant was varied between subjects. However, participants typed text messages on both their own phone and the iPhone during the test session. Message length, phone order, and message order were both controlled.
With hindsight, we should have included the stats behind the results, but we did not want to over complicate the press release...
Answer: For the general mobile phone user, any new device will have a transition period. However, in terms of the text input system, what this study found was that there was NO difference in text messaging efficiency between a mobile phone (non-QWERTY) compared to the iPhone's touch keyboard. This is compelling because it suggests that users will have the same texting efficiency on the iPhone as they do today. Moreover, the first iPhone study we did on iPhone owners one week after they switched found that their text efficiency was better than the mobile phone they used just one week earlier.
That said, the same finding was not found for QWERTY device owners...
To further investigate learnability, one of the research questions we have in queue is to do some longitudinal research to assess learning and experienced iPhone users.
Answer: We specifically recruited participants who owned full QWERTY mobile devices. Thus, the findings that QWERTY users were 2x more efficient in texting should not be that surprising. A physical keyboard, which has the affordances of tactile feedback, should TRUMP a glossy virtual keyboard. I do not think that even Steve Jobs would argue that this study's finding is shocking. What we would like to investigate next is the performance gain with more exposure to the iPhone. We may find that iPhone users with experience may be more efficient, but we need to do the study first.
Answer: To recruit participants, we created a recruiting screener and the 15 message minimum was a criterion in the screener. The mean number of text messages sent per week was 165.8 for all participants. For QWERTY device and numeric keypad phone users, means were 225.1 and 106.4 text messages per week, respectively. So, these participants did text a great deal (over 400 per month).
About User Centric, Inc.
User Centric is a global consulting firm that focuses on improving user experience. We apply our expertise to projects involving handhelds, Web sites, software, medical devices, print, packaging, and telephony services. Experience, quality, value, global reach and outstanding client services set us apart. Fortune 500 companies and other organizations trust us to make their products and services better. Client satisfaction is our #1 measure of success: 95% of our revenue comes from repeat business. Learn more about us at www.UserCentric.com