Thursday, July 03, 2008

Mobile users make same errors as disabled PC users

Universal usability problems with mobile devices ...

"Mobile-device users find they have the same usability problems that some disabled users encounter with PCs, according to researchers from the University of Manchester.

The typing and pointing errors on PCs that are experienced by motor-impaired users are very similar to the mistakes made by mobile-device users, according to Dr Yeliz Yesilada, who was part of a team researching mobile-usability issues.

"Mobile devices have a limited screen size and the keypads are small; there are a lot of problems with the interface," said Yesilada. "Users become situationally impaired by the limitations of the device or location. If you're outside on a sunny day, you can't really see the screen."

Common problems include people pressing the wrong key adjacent to the target key, or missing certain key presses by not pressing hard enough, said Yesilada.

Programs which assist motor-impaired PC users could be adapted for mobile-telephone use, said fellow researcher Tianyi Chen.

"In recent years, solutions have been built to help disabled users that can now be applied for the benefit of mobile-phone users," said Chen. "Using solutions developed for disabled users can help handset manufacturers reduce the time we all spend correcting errors on our mobiles."    (Continued via ZDNet.co.uk, Tom Espiner)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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