Kindle Fire Found Lacking in User Experience Test

6 December 2011
Ben Logan

Ben Logan


Passionate about improving services and experiences for the people that use them.

A usability expert has given Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet the thumbs down on a number of points.

Jakob Nielsen, who has a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction, studied the behaviour of four Kindle Fire users. He argued that although this is hardly a large number of test subjects, smaller qualitative studies offer more insight than bigger studies which are more focused on metrics.

Overall, Mr Nielsen said that the Kindle Fire “offers a disappointingly poor user experience”.

Commenting on how heavy the hardware is, he said that “unless you have forearm muscles like Popeye, you can’t comfortably sit and read an engaging novel all evening.” To be fair though, this is actually rather true of most 7-inch tablets.

Nevertheless, the biggest issue according to Nielsen is the Kindle Fire’s software. Its interface has trouble spots such as buttons that are too small and screen updates that are too slow. Sluggish performance was also one of the main moans in PCWorld’s Kindle Fire review.

Nielsen also derided the fact that mistaken taps seem to be common amongst users and full-sized websites are hard to read and interact. He concluded that mobile-optimized sites are better suited for the tablet’s 7-inch display.

So that Kindle Fire owners don’t get too downhearted, it must also be said that it is Mr Nielsen’s job to discover weak spots in devices – he pointed out valid fall-downs in Apple’s iPad too.

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