My Observations of the iPad

Last week, useit.com published a preliminary report on the iPad. I had to read the review as it was the first review of the device + I have been using the device myself.
I found the article to be too lengthy, too general and vague to be applicable. The article should be renamed to – Expert reviews for some iPad apps.

So here’s me on my take on the iPad and busting a few “myths” propagated by the study.

ipad is
1 a container for apps and 2 an input device (on-screen keyboard). It does these jobs pretty well.

+ves
1 There is one exit button for all apps- the big button on the device.
2 When you paginate through the apps and reach the beginning, app search appears. This feature integrates well in the swiping experience.
3 Any application breadcrumb can be found on the top left.
4 I dont miss mouseover. Or do I? Time will tell.
5 Watching movies is a great experience, mainly because of decent stereo speakers.

-ves
1 Volume slider on ipad does not tell you which way to mute or full volume.
2 The tilt lock is not apparent.
3 no consistent pagination behavior in some native apps (ex: ibooks).


Myths

1 iPad apps are inconsistent and have low feature discoverability-

All adobe air apps are made different, have different interface components and have “weird interaction styles”. How can you blame Adobe or MS Windows for these completely different apps?

Even the web browsing experience on the pc is unique on different websites. Hovering over a picture could produce completely different results.

A bad example of a touch interaction is the scroll behavior in HTC HD2. You touch and drag the finger down or touch and drag the finger up to scroll!!. Two completely opposite paradigms for scroll. And thats a OS issue not an app.

2 Cant hit small targets on websites-

A netbook with a touchpad as input will have a similar browsing experience. I don’t need to see a pointer as a visual indication. The touch software in the iPad is pretty accurate in deciding what I want to click. As far as I am concerned, if you can browse on a netbook, you can browse here too.

3 Quoting Jef Raskin saves the research-

Did not see the name-dropping any useful to the review. His great insight on card sharks vs holy scrollers works for any type of screen- big or small. but I do not understand its need to be applied specifically to the iPad.

There were some strange tasks on which the study was based. For a comic book app, the task chosen was “Delete the copy that you have just downloaded.” Why would I throw away the book that I just bought?


Design Suggestions for iPad Apps-

1 would love to have a “most frequently used apps” page or button
2 quick access for apps (search)
3 “show hints” button on the top left of each app. clicking which will show an overlay about what is touchable or not.
4 have to rethink of the hover action for interactive objects
5 test apps for usability and then update them.

If you are interested see some great iPad UX guidelines at UXMAG..
What the article needs is to show the best and worst practices for designing apps. Following is great review for the iPhone. I would definitely want to hear what these guys find about the iPad.

How people really use the iPhone

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