For recent days I’ve been noticing articles about android user experience written in a pessimistic approach signifying the lack of satisfaction individuals have in the whole android deco system. What pinched me off is why writers aren’t focusing on the downsides of iOS and iPhones, while there are things to focus on. I guess it must be the ‘brand’. Everyone is aware of the ‘power’ Apple has in today’s technology. To be honest, my personal experience with android is great. On the other end, I’ve not always heard a negative remark on iPhones also. But somehow we gotta find which OS falls a step ahead the other. Senior experts who are into mobile app development recently conducted usability tests for both iOS and androids. This test seemed to be the fairest way to compare the two and conclude up with a prominent result. The process involved two testing approaches: A/B test and Preference test.
This sort of testing was used to compare the two different interfaces and designs. This test concludes to deliver the result in a unique way, say either A or B and not the both. Hence it becomes easy to judge which interface is the winner, but it takes time to interact with one another, especially if they select the incorrect location or button for a simple task.
Preference test is something like a popularity contest where two designs and interfaces are compared side by side. The test is conducted hopefully to eliminate individual’s personal and preconceived preferences. While analyzing the results we can easily detect the designs and interfaces which people actually prefer more.
Test & Results
Each app on the test has got a unique task to perform and all the result was almost dig out from the common task which people might be trying to perform. The result was also taken on the basis of time factor which people take to complete each task on both iOS and android platforms individually. As both these platforms face huge differences each other and even from app to app, it is quite significant to conclude about which platform stands better in usability. Following are the apps on which the usability tests of android and iOS platforms were conducted.
This test was conducted to compare Android1 and iOS1. Anyone who is familiar about twitter will be knowing the ‘@’ functionality in the message protocol. It happens to be the way to contact other users on twitter. Say for example, if you want to contact Contus, just send a message to @contus. This simple task should never really take much time to complete. Being the first question in usability test, the testing team was cautious that people take few seconds extra in familiarizing themselves with the concept. The result was amazing that in both iOS and android, users have taken almost the same time to complete. The most interesting factor here is the number of people who clicked the direct message button instead of the @ message button.
Translating languages is the core functionality of most of the apps and this activity should be done quickly and easily. This test was made among Android2 and iOS2 devices. The results turned out same again. However, comparing to iOS, the android versions had a shorter response time at the time of writing by two seconds, which might be possibly due to the addition of arrows on the drop-down. This indicates that android has got a bigger reach of results when compared to iOS.
Another study was made with Google translate among the android3 and iOS2. It is the way people listen to german audio pronunciation. Listening to language translation is one of the handy functionality of the Google translate app. You can talk over to a ton of different languages and the tool is also extremely useful while traveling and trying to learn a new language. As discussed above when it comes to writing, android Google translator app had a longer click time with a success rate of 80%. With iOS it is only 6.42 seconds but the success rate is 52%. This clearly indicates that android scores high in this battle when compared to iOS. The only thing that bothers with most android users is the android app speaker, which must be made even clearer.
This is again a handy app to find the name of the song you are listening to, which you are not clear about. Making an app successful in these days is quite essential and users need to find and understand the task very quickly. The app also gave a close finish to both android and iOS. The click success percentage is more or less the same with android and iOS (95% and 93%). However, it was a win for android with iOS taking 13 seconds longer than android in the test performed. This test was conducted between Android4 and iOS2.
Purchasing a track on sound hound also makes differences in both iOS and android. Android again is the leader with an average click time of 5.83 seconds while it is 7.6 for iOS. Thought the success rate of android is 100% and android is 90%, iOS is the apt for delivering strong results. This was verified with Android 5 and iOS 2.5.
Testing with Pandora comes under the preference test approach. The test was performed in order to see how users feel about the different designs of android and iOS apps. The result was neither close nor far away. It was a draw, with each platform making 17 clicks each. The test was performed between Android 6 and iOS 3.5.
Again a test was performed with Pandora between Android 7 and iOS 4.5. It was for the pausing task. Pausing is a very common task in any music listening application. Both the apps turned a 100% success rate with over half a second between the average click timings among the two.
Getting into the next comparison between android and iOS interface with Geo caching app. Geo caching is the process where you navigate to certain GPS coordinates in order to find a hidden cache. The designs of both android and iOS platforms differ in most of the aspects and hence it will be quite interesting to see what the results show up. The test was made with Geo caching on Android 7 and iOS 5.5. This time it was for iOS versions with 91% of respondents preferring the platform for this app.
Next testing was also done with the same app but on different versions of android and iOS (android 8 and iOS 5.5). Once you’ve found a certain cache, you tag it in the app and it then shows up as previously discovered. This is a quick test to check whether that is easily noticeable in the Android and iOS apps. Though the click times of both iOS and android versions were almost similar, the success rates made difference with iOS reaching 40% and android 100%. Android wins with geo caching.
Must be the hot result you were waiting for! With Facebook, a preference test was conducted and I am quite sure most of you would have made a right guess. Yup! It is iOS. Facebook has made a couple of changes between these two apps and it was the design perspectives which made the difference. The majority support was for iOS version of the Facebook app with 74%, where android resulted up with only 26%. The test was conducted between Android 8 and iOS 6.5 versions.
Another thing that favors the interests of Facebook users is the way they view their friend requests. Though it just takes few seconds to accept friends on FB, every part of the user experience matters. This test made an awfully close result. The test was performed with android 9 and iOS 7.5.
Analyzing all these results android is a bit on the lead when compared to iOS. The testing result score was announced with 9 points for android and 7.5 for iOS. To conclude with, both android and iOS are similar with respect to usability at least with the apps which are tested above. Though there are fewer other apps in both the markets which are very well designed and popularized, this test is taken among those apps which are commonly used by both the set of users. Comparing both the platforms with such kind of apps is more or less equal to compare the both individually. The best thing to be noted with Apple is the hardware functionality which is built of a very high design quality. Android however suffers poor hardware functionality in most of the devices. The major reason behind this is, android offer both high and bad quality mobile devices. In short, iOS is all that stuffs quality and brand, and android has all to do if relied on a high quality device.