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Apple iPhone And Windows Phone Top Harvard Usabilty Test

A new study, testing the usability of a wide range of smartphones from various brands was carried out by a group of students under Professor Dennis Gallatta at the Harvard Human Factors in Design lab.

The study saw the students conducting extensive comparison tests on one device from each of BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone as well as the Apple iPhone.

The tested handsets were the iPhone 4, Android based HTC Thunderbolt, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Storm and the Wndows Phone 7 based Focus.

The handsets were handed out to people who had never used any of the devices, who were asked to try basic operations such as making a call, sending texts, adding contacts etc. The team also videotaped the participants’ efforts to complete the tasks given to them.

The iPhone 4 and the Windows Phone 7 emerged as the winners in the study, pushing Android and BlackBerry towards the bottom.

“Of course, the experiences of a handful of clueless newbies aren’t a definitive verdict on these operating systems. Personally, I’m less interested in how well neophytes fare with a phone than how efficient and intuitive it is for a more experienced user over the long haul,” Harry McCracken of Technologizer wrote.

A video summarising the findings can be seen here.