After talking to Steven Hoober, the author of Designing Mobile Interfaces: Patterns for Interaction Design (O’Reilly, November 2011) at a Guild conference last year, I realized something truly unsettling: We are designing for tablets but we really didn’t know how people are using them. “Uh, isn’t that a bit of a problem?” I asked him. “Most definitely,” he responded. He had just finished a really good presentation about how people use their smartphones and I wanted him to provide that information to Guild members in an upcoming research report. That’s when he grinned and said, “You know what we could do…” and the idea for the Making mLearning Usable: How We Use Mobile Devices report was conceived.
This infographic provides a few interesting tidbits from the report, but you’ll definitely want to download the report if you are designing any mobile information or instruction or have any thoughts of doing so, because it provides critical facts about people’s preferences for using smartphones (from Steven’s previous study) and phablets, small tablets, and large tablets (from the Guild’s recent study). We crowdsourced 651 anonymous observations, and from that data we analyzed preferences for the different device types and discussed the implications for user design.
Here’s a shout-out to the Guild and other field investigators who took the time to gather the data for this foundational research. Your help provided much-needed information about how people use and touch small-to-large tablets.