iPhone Beats Out the Android in Usability Tests


It’s official: the iPhone is easier than the Android.


In a new study, Harvard’s Human Factors in Design lab looked at the usability of different smart phones to see what ones favored best, and both Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Windows phone beat out Android and the Blackberry in ease of use.  This does not, however, put the iPhone on top as the Windows phone favored best in the trials.

The tests were around basic functions with each phone like adding contacts, making calls, and sending text messages.  The results were not close as the Android and Blackberry came far behind, especially in how to enter in a contact.  The assumption around why the Windows and iPhone offerings were so much more successful is their background in operating systems, but it remains clear that since the majority of functions are the basic ones being tested that these are why they are becoming clear winners in the market.


Part of the problem could actually be directed back at the Android phone  that was being used.  Unlike the iPhone, the Android is simply an operating system that can run on different specific phones.  This means that there is not really a universal experience, or set of apps, that will work for Android devices. The phone that was used was the HTC Thunderbolt, which is a problem since it has been touted so roundly as holding a superior design to most on the market.  If a phone that wasn’t using a sense HTC interface was used this may have eliminated part of the problem.


The Android still holds the dominating operating system position amongst mobiles in the U.S., but this is because many of the models that run the software are not really parallel to the iPhone in terms of features and quality.  The market is then split, and the iPhone seems to be dominating those who really have a choice between a comparable Android models.  This trend will likely only continue with the eventual release of the iPhone 5.

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