"Usability guidelines change very slowly because they derive from human behavior, not technology.

[About apps and websites for iPad] Whenever apps lack features, users quit them for the websites.

If you need an iPad app
1. Design for repeat users.
2. Your iPad app should have a secret weapon compared to your website.
3. Do not make users work more in your iPad app than on your website.
4. Do not design an iPad app as if it were an iPhone app.
However, even for killing time, the uses are slightly different: the time that is usually available on the smartphone is much shorter and more fragmented than the one available on the iPad. On the smartphone, users may look for a quick article to kill the 3 minutes of waiting for the train; once on the train, they may take out the iPad for the hour it takes them to ride home.
Research has shown that the best target size for widgets is 1cm x 1cm for touch devices.
When targets are placed too close to each other, users can easily hit the wrong one.

One solution that app designers have found for small targets is padding: although the visible part of the target may be small, there is some invisible target space surrounding it, so that if a user hits that space, their tap would still count.
Our research with touch devices indicates that users expect padding in tabular views.

AFFORDANCES: users don’t know that something is touchable unless it looks so.

Build affordances by making buttons look tappable and relevant to the task they accomplish. This means choosing the right icons and labels for those buttons or action links.

To minimize user input on the iPad:
1. Compute information for the users.
2. Be tolerant of typos and offer corrections; don’t require users to type in complete information.
3. Save history and allow users to select previously typed info.
4. Use defaults that make sense for the user.
5. If the app does not store any information that is sensitive (e.g., credit card), then the user should definitely be kept logged in.
6. If the app does store credit card info, the app should allow the users to decide if they want to be kept logged in or they want to log in again each time they use the app.

Many apps use the (relatively) big iPad screen inefficiently: the screen contains little information, and users have to take extra actions to get to the content.

Before using a popover to display information, ask yourself:
How much information do I need to display?
o If it’s just a few lines and the user does not need to scroll to see it, then it’s ok to use a popover.
o If it’s a lot of information, then it’s better to use a table view or some other type of view that is suitable for the content.
Does the user need to see any info on the current screen in order to use the popover?
o If no, you are probably better off using a different view. o If yes, will the popover actually block that information or not? If not, then it’s
ok to use a popover.
Are the items in the popover visible in enough detail so that the user can make a decision?
o If some of the items in the popover contain thumbnails, you’re probably better off using a regular table view on a separate page.
o If the text font needs to be small so that items fit into the popover, the popover is not appropriate.

If you have a lot of content (such as product information) to display, use a separate page rather than a modal view.

List of recommendations for using the swipe gesture:
• Give users visible cues (arrows, tips) that they need to use the swipe gesture. • Make sure that the page contains enough space safe for swiping next to the
two vertical sides.
• Avoid covering the page with carousels and other design features that interfere with swiping.

• Include a back button in your app to allow users to undo any accidental touches.
• Make sure that the back button also works on the home page.

about carousels:
• Carousels are not appropriate for long lists (for instance, for search results).
• Many carousels on the same page can visually overwhelm some users.
• Two-dimensional carousels make it harder for users to remember which items they had already visited.

[…] more users mentioned that they preferred the landscape orientation for the iPad.
[…] users tend to switch orientation when an impasse occurs and, if the app doesn’t support them, their flow is going to be disrupted and they are going to wonder why it’s not working.

[…] Our recommendation is to make sure that the same navigation scheme is used in landscape and portrait orientations.

• Keep the same content available in both orientations, at both article level and page level. To make the content consistent at the page level, look for natural breaking points (e.g., new paragraph) and keep those in both orientations.
• Keep users at the same location (within the content) when they change orientation. In particular, when users rotate the tablet back to the previous orientation, reestablish the previous view.
• If a feature is only available in one orientation, tell users that they will find extra content by turning the tablet.

We often get asked to estimate for how long users will suffer through a download. The answer is roughly 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, they become impatient and start thinking about doing something else.
What can you do to make sure that your users will not abandon your app?
1. Display a progress bar (not a spinning gear).
2. If, once the user has started it, your app needs more than 20 seconds to download content and become fully functional, think seriously about how you are going to entertain the user during that download time.
Some possible suggestions include:
• Show a preview of the content that is downloaded;
• Show content that is downloaded so far;
• Show instructions and tips about how to use the app. Indeed, from our smartphone research, we know that, although people don’t care much about instructions, they will read tips if they don’t have anything else to do.

launch screens
• If you must have one, follow Apple’s recommendation and make it as close as possible to your first functional screen.
• Do not use animations, noises, and videos when the app is launched.

• If you must use instructions, make them clear and simple.
• Focus on a single feature at the time. Present only those instructions that are
necessary for the user to get started.

Task flow
• The task flow should start with actions that are essential to the main task. Users should be able to start the task as soon as possible.
• The controls that are related to a task should be grouped together and reflect the sequence of actions in the task.

1. The navigation bar should contain a table of contents link.
2. The table of contents link should take the users to the table-of-contents page in the magazine.
3. The information in the table of contents should be scannable, explanatory, clearly formatted.

Do not use a page (article) slider.

Search box
Users repeatedly asked for search boxes in the magazines

• Do not use multiple navigation schemes in the same app (in different orientations or in one orientation).
• Do not use horizontal navigation for your slideshow if your app supports a two- dimensional navigation scheme elsewhere.

Raluca Budiu and Jakob Nielsen. Usability of iPad Apps and Websites (2nd edition).


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