Touch/gestural interactions: lack of discoverability

June 9, 2010

Nielsen says that some of the iPad’s problems are endemic to the touch tablet format. “With the iPad, it’s very easy to touch in the wrong place, so people can click the wrong thing, but they can’t tell what happened,” he says. There are also problems with gestures such as swiping the screen because they’re “inherently vague”, and “lack discoverability”: there’s no way to tell what a gesture will do at any particular point.

“People don’t know what they can do, and when they try to do something, they don’t even know what they did, because it’s invisible,” Nielsen explains. “With a mouse, you can click the wrong thing, but you can see where you clicked.”

Jack Schofield: Jakob Nielsen critiques the iPad’s usability failings

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