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iPhone for Beginners

11:15 AM -- Researchers have discovered that the iPhone is hard to use if it's the first time you've used it.

Joking aside, consultancy User Centric wanted to compare how easy the iPhone's touch keyboard is to use for text messaging compared to QWERTY and numeric phone keyboards. So they took 20 people who had never used an iPhone -- 10 of them used phones with QWERTY keyboards and 10 used phone keyboards – and had them type out text messages on their own phones and on an iPhone.

The results were not good for QWERTY people. It took them twice as long to type out text messages on an iPhone. Not surprisingly, though, it took all participants longer to enter text messages on the iPhone.

Here are a few key findings:

  • Participants expressed a great deal of frustration with the sensitivity of the iPhone touch keypad.
  • Participants made an average of 11 errors per message on the iPhone compared to an average of 3 errors per text message on their own phone. Although the error rate was alleviated somewhat by the iPhone's self-correction feature, participants were still frustrated.
  • Five out of 20 participants asked if the iPhone came with a stylus. They indicated that they could be more accurate with the stylus rather than their fingers due to the sensitivity of the screen.
  • One female participant tried to interact with the iPhone keypad using her fingernail and was unsuccessful.
  • Only a few participants discovered and correctly learned to use the predictive and/or corrective text features on the iPhone. QWERTY phone users in particular had a tendency to backspace when they were correcting mistakes.
  • Participants did not understand how the predictive/corrective text bubbles worked.
  • It was especially frustrating for participants when they attempted to place the cursor in the middle of a word.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

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