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Old 07-02-2010, 11:13 PM   #1
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Jakob Nielsen: iPad and Kindle Reading Speeds

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/ipad-kindle-reading.html

Quote:
Results: Books Faster Than Tablets

The iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed book, whereas the Kindle measured at 10.7% slower than print. However, the difference between the two devices was not statistically significant because of the data's fairly high variability.
Thus, the only fair conclusion is that we can't say for sure which device offers the fastest reading speed. In any case, the difference would be so small that it wouldn't be a reason to buy one over the other.

But we can say that tablets still haven't beaten the printed book: the difference between Kindle and the book was significant at the p<.01 level, and the difference between iPad and the book was marginally significant at p=.06.

User Satisfaction: iPad Loved, PCs Hated

After using each device, we asked users to rate their satisfaction on a 1–7 scale, with 7 being the best score.
iPad, Kindle, and the printed book all scored fairly high at 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6, respectively. The PC, however, scored an abysmal 3.6.

Most of the users' free-form comments were predictable. For example, they disliked that the iPad was so heavy and that the Kindle featured less-crisp gray-on-gray letters. People also disliked the lack of true pagination and preferred the way the iPad (actually, the iBook app) indicated the amount of text left in a chapter.
Interesting, if small, data sample.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:02 AM   #2
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I can believe that. People in general have more experience with books, so that might factor in. I too do not think speed should even be considered when choosing iPad over Kindle. Probably not much of a difference.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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I wonder what kind of optimization they did. Did they keep the font size the same? I read faster on my iPhone and iPad primarily because I can set the font size and margins such that my eye doesn't have to travel as much.

I also found my iPad much easier to hold after I got the Apple case.

Were they reading a large hard back....a small paperback?

Lee
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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I think reading speed might be affected by the click-and-wait. Takes time to get used to that cycle when paging. Also, there is the zoom factor. If you zoom, you might find it an easy read but more click-and-wait.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:34 PM   #5
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It's never crossed my mind before that the speed at which you can read a book might be considered a benefit of a device. For me, reading has always been something to be savoured and lingered over, not rushed.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's never crossed my mind before that the speed at which you can read a book might be considered a benefit of a device. For me, reading has always been something to be savoured and lingered over, not rushed.
I guess the real question is whether the technology in electronics readers (screen quality, refresh, page turn speed etc.) has any impact on the act of reading itself, compared to paper books. Judging the speed people read at is less useful than gauging their perceptions/enjoyment levels of reading from a screen vs. paper, and what can be improved upon.

I'm guessing the speed thing is just one factor they will test towards that goal. It really is only an issue if the speed or lack thereof (due to technical limitations) is perceived as a real negative by users.

Maybe it is cumulative-some users may realize they just aren't getting thru an e-book as easily as they do a paper book, or that it takes more effort, and they decide to go back to paper.

I think its great that someone is doing usability tests though-hopefully the manufacturers will benefit.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:53 PM   #7
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One thing the study confirms my own experience is the difference between reading on an iPad and a computer. I can't stand reading long form on a computer but very much enjoy reading on the iPad.

Lee
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebase View Post
One thing the study confirms my own experience is the difference between reading on an iPad and a computer. I can't stand reading long form on a computer but very much enjoy reading on the iPad.

Lee
Have you tried reading on a Tablet PC? I'd be interested to know whether that has the appeal of the iPad, or the dislike of the PC, for you.

For me, the issue with reading on a PC isn't the oft-quoted "eye strain" from the LCD, but simply the fact that the screen is immovable. You need to be able to easily move the "book" around to get comfortable.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:10 PM   #9
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I wear glasses, and I'm one of those who hate reading on a PC screen, and my ebook reading was exclusively on a Kindle DX. Before the iPad came out, I tried reading on a tablet (Asus T91MT) and it soon went back into its box. I can't be objective why, except my eyes did not "like" the screen appearance - even after playing with brightness, font, etc. I tried reading on the iPad (both the K4iPad and iBooks apps) and find it very enjoyable. I now use both the DX and iPad for reading - the choice depends on the ambient lighting and the book (photos, illustrations, typeface, etc) - and my eyes do well with both screens. Lately, I've shifted more to the iPad b/c I've found many books display better using the K4iPad app than on the DX.

I have pre-ordered the new DX and can't wait to see the "Pearl" screen - and compare it with the iPad screen.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:22 PM   #10
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I'm with Harry on this, I don't even see the point of worrying about speed. Plus there are so many unknown variables in this "study".
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I'm with Harry on this, I don't even see the point of worrying about speed. Plus there are so many unknown variables in this "study".
Sorry, just to clarify - I'm not saying that I think this study isn't useful; just that it hadn't occurred to me that reading speed could be considered a factor a device selection.
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Old 07-03-2010, 08:24 PM   #12
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I'm a fast reader anyway, but I've always thought that I read even faster on my Kindle. I have a K1, and the line spacing is slightly greater than the average DTB, and I think that helps. Not to mention the ability to increase the font size to make reading easier for my bad eyes.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's never crossed my mind before that the speed at which you can read a book might be considered a benefit of a device. For me, reading has always been something to be savoured and lingered over, not rushed.
Hear, Hear.

I wonder what the percentage of comprehension was - like Harry, I read for enjoyment, and I like to absorb the author's words.

Cheers,

Michael P
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:32 AM   #14
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The study seems ok to me, although I'd like to see a bit more research at some point.

They sort of buried the finding that reading comprehension was equivalent across all 4 platforms. I'd be more interested in further research on comprehension rather than speed.
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's never crossed my mind before that the speed at which you can read a book might be considered a benefit of a device. For me, reading has always been something to be savoured and lingered over, not rushed.
But they are not saying that. They are saying that your standard speed will be slower on an electronic book compared to a printed book. Which is not surprising because typography influence the speed since good typography will reduce the number of mistakes (e.g. loosing track of a line) you do. And it is the mistakes that reduces the speed.
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