updated 09:35 am EST, Wed November 8, 2006
Nielsen on Apple study
Web usability expert Jakob Nielson of Nielsen Norman Group has dubbed an Apple-sponsored study on large monitors and productivity meaningless. "A study of the benefits of big monitors fails on two accounts: it didn't test realistic tasks, and it didn't test realistic use," Nielsen wrote in his blog. "Productivity is a key argument for workplace usability, but you must measure it carefully." Nielsen says even if the method could be trusted, Pfieffer's figures were incorrect: "Reducing task time from 42.6 seconds to 20.7 seconds is actually a productivity gain of 105 percent, not 51 percent." Additionally, Apple's study focused at the wrong level of work -- pasting spreadsheet cells is not a user task, according to Nielsen, but an operation at a low interaction level. Nielsen also points to the fact that researchers tested rote memory operations which were practiced prior to the study, resulting in an unrealistic representation of how users operate, according to WebProNews.