In a recent study done by a Harvard professor of Human Factors in Information Systems Design, Dennis Galletta, the HTC Thunderbolt, the iPhone “4G” (yes, seriously), the Samsung Focus and the BlackBerry Storm were all put to the test. What kind of test you ask? According to the good professor, a usability test. By putting a bunch of newbies in front of a smartphone and telling them to perform certain tasks, Galletta claims he is able to show the usability of a phone. The results are… embarrassing to say the least.
Since the test was put on by a Harvard professor, you’d think there’d be a little more method to his madness than there appears to be. The test itself was rather straight forward. Take a group of people who had never used the specific model of phone they were being tested on, then get them to make a call, send an SMS message and add a contact. From the looks of it though, some users appeared to be well versed in how to use mobile technology. Others, like anyone who steps up to the Storm, not so much. While the iPhone and Focus tested the best according to the study, there’s clearly not a whole lot of organization and it doesn’t look like anything was taken too seriously. If the test was based on taking the phone out of the box, putting in a SIM card and then performing the tasks, I think the results would be a different story.
If nothing else though, the video is good for a laugh. Maybe someday, we’ll see a test similar to this that we can actually rely on.