Jakob Nielsen: Kindle Fire’s 7-inch screen causes usability problems

Jakob Nielsen has put the Kindle Fire through usability testing and is not impressed:

Amazon.com’s new Kindle Fire offers a disappointingly poor user experience. Using the web with the Silk browser is clunky and error-prone. Reading downloaded magazines is not much better.

The most striking observation from testing the Fire is that everything is much too small on the screen, leading to frequent tap errors and accidental activation. You haven’t seen the fat-finger problem in its full glory until you’ve watched users struggle to touch things on the Fire. One poor guy spent several minutes trying to log in to Facebook, but was repeatedly foiled by accidentally touching the wrong field or button — this on a page with only 2 text fields and 1 button.

Nielsen’s research finds that 7-inch tablets are too small to use full websites properly. 10-inch tablets, on the other hand, work quite well with full websites. Nielsen suggests that the only way for 7-inch tablets to succeed is for websites, apps, magazines and services to be designed specifically for this form factor. “Optimize for 7-inch or die,” he said.

Despite being a Kindle, Nielsen also found the Kindle Fire to be an overall poor reading device.

Personally, having spent a long time using a 10-inch tablet and a smartphone, I can’t see where a 7-inch tablet would fit in my life.

Source: useit.com.