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The influence of user expertise and phone complexity on performance, ease of use and learnability of different mobile phones

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The study focuses on usability, ease of use and learnability of three different mobile phones (Nokia 3210, Siemens C35i, Motorola P7389). The first independent variable refers to the complexity of the menu (depth/breadth of the menu tree) and navigation keys (number/functionality). The Nokia phone had the lowest and the Motorola the highest complexity, with the Siemens phone ranging between them. The second independent variable was user expertise: 30 novices and 30 experts solved six telephone tasks. In order to assess effects of learnability, tasks were presented twice. Differences between the mobile phones regarding effectiveness, efficiency and learnability were found: The best performance was shown by Nokia users. The remaining two phones did not differ significantly, although the most complex phone was superior to the phone of medium complexity which had the lowest performance. Moreover, an effect of expertise was confirmed, though suboptimal interfaces were identified as lessening the advantage of expertise. Specific weaknesses of the tested phones are discussed.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2002-09-01

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