Good news for all those Jakob Nielsen fans out there. Jakob, according to Amazon.com, is about to release yet another book on usability. Mobile Usability
will be released towards the end of October 2012 has been released.
I know I cannot speak for any of you, but I know that I own (and have read) at least 2 of his other books. Whether you are a Nielsen fanboy/-girl or not, his research is always interesting to read, and even more valuable as a source when working on your own research or project.
Mobile Usability, like several of Jakob Nielsen’s other books, is a collaboration between himself and a co-author. In the past Jakob has published books with fellow NN/g employees Hoa Loranger and Kara Pernice. This time around, it is Raluca Budiu a NN/g User Experience Specialist who specialises in… you guessed it… mobile.
The 216 page book will have more than 100 full-colour illustrations to demonstrate the points made.
First off, comparing the book’s price at Amazon.com with a recent mobile usability report, makes the book look like a steal… $17.81 (at time of writing) vs $298 for the report.
But let’s not get lost in intricacies of persuasion techniques
Reading the book’s description, we learn:
This new guide focuses on usability for mobile devices, primarily smartphones and touchphones, and covers such topics as developing a mobile strategy, designing for small screens, writing for mobile, usability comparisons, and looking toward the future.
Based on expert reviews and international studies with participants ranging from students to early technology adopters and business people using websites on a variety of mobile devices, this guide offers a complete look at the landscape for a mobile world.
NN/g Mobile Usability Research
The NN/g crew have, up to now, published 2 reports on mobile usability. The findings so far have been very interesting, so getting on the band-wagon by buying this book and catching with the research might be very worthwhile.
NN/g have released 2 reports, where they focus on test success rates**. In other words, how succesful were the participants in performing and completing their tasks. In the first report, the overall success rate was a mere 59%.
In the second report, the success rate only went up 3 points to 62%. The time difference between the two research periods was 2 years. Now, even though 3% might not sound exciting, the increase in pace is similar to that of web (non-mobile) success rates, which NN/g has been tracking over the last 12 years.
According to NN/g:
The current success rate for mobile Web use is about what we measured for desktop Web use in 1999. The current desktop success rate is 84%; unless mobile usability starts improving more rapidly, we’ll have to wait until 2026 to reach that level.
** Success rate was computed across all tasks that we could reasonably categorize as having been done correctly or incorrectly.
Diving a little deeper, NN/g researchers discovered that success rates varied significantly depending on whether a mobile website, or a full website (on a mobile device) was tested. Mobile websites helped increase the success rates to 64%, whereas full websites (on a mobile device) scored only a 58% success rate, thereby dragging down the average score.
About Raluca Budiu
NN/g User Experience Specialist Raluca Budiu consults for clients from a variety of industries and presents tutorials on mobile usability, usability of touch devices, cognitive psychology for designers, and principles of human computer interaction.