The effects of platform navigation guidelines on the usability of smartphone applications

University essay from KTH/Skolan för datavetenskap och kommunikation (CSC)

Author: Josefine Martinsson; [2017]

Keywords: HCI; Human Computer Interaction;

Abstract: As mobile devices become a larger part of modern society, understanding how they differ from desktop devices and how to design for them is becoming more relevant. Apple and Google have themselves published guidelines for how applications should be designed on iOS and Android, the two major operating systems on mobile devices today. But the opinions on how important guidelines are for providing users with the best experience possible differ, both in scientific writing and among industry professionals. This study focuses on platform guidelines for navigation, researching the question: What effect does platform guidelines for navigation have on the usability of a smartphone application? To investigate this a usability experiment is conducted. The independent variable manipulated is type of navigation, which adheres or does not adhere to platform guidelines, and the dependent variable measured is usability in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction. The results from this experiment indicate no significant differences between the navigation types in terms of effectiveness nor efficiency. Differences found in user satisfaction cannot be linked to guidelines for navigation. Although familiarity can be identified as a major factor in why users were satisfied with navigation, what users considered familiar differed. Thus the results of this study bring into question whether the platform guidelines function as conventions and cannot confirm any major effects of platform navigation guidelines on the usability of a smartphone application. 

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