Kindles vs. Smartphones: Age matters, Testing matters

January 26, 2010 at 10:19 am 2 comments

A study out of the University of Georgia (insert snide remark required of Georgia Tech faculty here, please) suggests that Kindles won’t replace newspapers for daily reading until additional features are added.  What I found most interesting about the study was that the desired features split by age.  Younger readers prefer smartphones–which I personally found bonkers.  I far prefer reading on my Kindle to my smart phone (tiny font, short lines, glaring backlight). But then, I’m not in that demographic.  Got me thinking about the challenge of me predicting what students will like in my classes, and the necessity of user-testing of ideas since I know that my intuition is wrong.  (Not quite “usability” testing — maybe “engagability” or “teachability” testing?)

While adults of all ages were impressed by the readability of the Kindle screen, describing it as “easy on the eyes,” few considered it a primary way to read news, the study found.Young adults in particular compared the Kindle DX used in the study unfavorably to smart phones, such as the iPhone or Blackberry. The e-reader felt “old” to them.Older adults were overall more receptive to the concept of an e-reader. However, the Kindle failed to include aspects of the traditional newspaper they had grown fond of, such as comics and crossword puzzles.

via UGA study: Kindles unlikely to help newspapers – Atlanta Business Chronicle:.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

An NSF for Educational Technology A new medium to engage students: Electronic pop-up books

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. slger  |  January 27, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Reading experiments might be broadened to include pure TTS, i.e. no screens. But first, what criteria matter: reading rate, absorption level; device comfort, simulated print experience, distribution costs and convenience,..?

    For the record, I just read your article by RSS, then switched to my Newstand, downloaded NYTimes and other papers from Bookshare.org, cooperating with NFB Newsline, and news companies I gratefully thank. Papers are delivered wirelessly in XML-based DAISY format, retrieved and read on a Linux-powered mobile device (Levelstar Icon), spoken in an old-style “robotic voice”. For delivery efficiency and cost, this cannot be beat and I think I absorb selective news reading better than ever. But how is experience of print-disabled news readers factored into comparisons like this article?

    This will soon be relevant if Kindle, iPod/iTouch, etc. TTS reading is fully enabled and adopted by some readers from proprietary delivery systems, like Amazon. For proper evaluation, it will be necessary to compare eReading by TTS on mainstream devices to that provided by evolved readers like APH book port, Humanware Victor Reader Stream, PlexTalk Pocket, Levelstar Icon, and (my favorite) GW Micro booksense. Also important is the media format, currently favored as DAISY on these devices. And finally is the provision of media, currently limited legally to print-disabled readers, as by NFB (National Federation of Blind) and non-profit Bookshare.org. In other words, there’s another ecosystem of reading open only to print-disabled that might benefit those attracted to eReading.

    Oh, my, here’s the “universal design” mantra again. ‘Reading news by screen’ is, of course, more limited than ‘reading by print or audio”. It’s possible than for some reading criteria the screen-free mode or open XML-based format and its reading devices and experienced reader population may beat mainstream strategies!

    Could these experiments be performed? Certainly, most universities have students who currently, or could, offer their experience with equipment provided through Disability Services. Fact quizzes and comprehension tests might raise questions about how our reading brains work and how well our reading devices and formats help or hinder. What research is in progress? Is there a CS agenda for this social and economic ecosystem? Why do people think reading is a vision-only activity? Ok, comics, photos, and crosswords are a bit challenging, but plain old print is so well handled by TTS. Let’s open our eyes and ears and fingers to a fuller range of capabilities. I would love to be a test subject for eReading experiments.

    Reply
  • […] TTS news reading beat Kindle and smart phones? By slger This post responds to concerns in ComputingEd post ‘Kindles versus Smart phones: Age matters, testing matters’. A UGa study and commentary focus on news reading as screen-dependant and vision-only. I suggest […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,091 other followers

Feeds

Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 1,701,044 hits
January 2010
M T W T F S S
« Dec   Feb »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

CS Teaching Tips


%d bloggers like this: