any keyboard usability info on Kindle?

20 May 2009 - 2:25pm
5 years ago
1 reply
726 reads
Sean Bentley

I'm wondering if anyone has any study results regarding the usability of the Kindle keyboard. I'm concerned that the keyboard might be too small (hard to read and cramped) for an elderly person with visual/physical impairments.

Sean Bentley
Senior Content Provider, UI Text


25 May 2009 - 3:55am

I can't point to any studies (though I imagine that they must have
done some internally) but it is an interesting point you raise, to
wit: why does a device with variable font size, ostensibly a huge
selling point for the boomer market, have such a cramped keyboard?

My father, who just turned 60, was one of the very first Kindle
owners - #40 or something like that, early enough that they gave him
a free replacement after he broke the first. He has since purchased
v2. He's reads voraciously, and is inseparable from his kindle.

He mentioned to me, from the first, that he loves the fact he can
change the font size. His eyesight is not terrible, but he has always
worn glasses, and he keeps the kindle display at what's probably
around 16pt-18pt. I have not asked him specifically about his opinion
of the KB, but he praises the bookmark and notation features. One can
assume, then, that the KB is at least serviceable.

Though I am hardly a fan of the Kindle's physical design,
compromising on the keyboard between space and usability makes sense
to me. One must ask what % of users are going to mark up what
they're reading. If I am right to assume it is a vast minority, then
the preference for screen size, which can then accommodate more
characters in large font sizes, makes a far better value proposal to
visually impaired users than a robust input device.

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