So here we have what appears at first glance to be another entry in the “put iPhone in the headline and get unwarranted attention” sweepstakes:
iPhone Users Find Texting is 2x Slower Than on QWERTY Phones
but which turns out in fact to be more like the “write an egregiously misleading headline and get attention” technique.
Clicking through to the actual release reveals that if you take some frequent text messagers accustomed to physical numeric or QWERTY keypads and have them send six — six! — text messages on the iPhone — well, gosh, it takes them twice as long to do that as on their own phones … which they’re already used to.
(Apparently rubbing the iPhone on your head doesn’t cure baldness in half an hour, either.)
To their credit, they acknowledge this issue, sort of:
We were aware that participants’ prior familiarity with their own phones meant that there would likely be a learning curve associated with text messaging on the iPhone … Although participants were given one minute to familiarize themselves with the iPhone’s touch keyboard, their texting abilities on the iPhone were still at the novice level. [Emphasis supplied.]
So, apparently, they didn’t give the users any kind of advice on how to adapt themselves to the iPhone — the sort of thing any reasonably intelligent new user might do. Such as, oh, I don’t know, watch a video showing how it works?
Nor did they do the obvious followup and see how the users did after a couple of days using the iPhone — since it’s been widely reported that performance improves once the user adapts to the iPhone’s predictive key entry. Wouldn’t a usability research firm be interested in that information as well? Or would it just be satisfied to get a quick result likely to draw attention to itself, and send out a press release?
No, it couldn’t be that. What was I thinking?