Kindle, Kobo, iBook, An emperical analysis


To test the usability of three eReaders which have been our focus in the Mobile Lab during last couple of months, we ran a series of analysis and user focused group research.

Our goal was to measure impression of the device design in users’ minds; therefore functionality, structure or information architecture was NOT the focus of this study.




We provided one kindle (third generation), one Kobo (first generation) and one iPad to the users and asked them to use them for half an hour using following features:

- Turn on the device

- Find a book which was already downloaded

- Go to table of content

- Go to a specific chapter

- Read and go back and forth a few pages

- Find another book

- Repeat the above steps

- Exit from the book

- Turn off the device



Users Impressions of the three devices: from left to right: Kindle, Kobo and iPad

By having the books loaded, we purposely didn’t cover some of the functionality such as ease of loading the content. Also the focus was standard format that devices support best, so PDF texts were not selected. Users had no prior experience using the devices and it was their first hands-on experience. It allowed users to get the device in their hands and use main features (such as Menu, Home, Next/Previous buttons, etc.).

Once the test was done, we took away the devices and asked each user to draw a picture of the device on paper the way it was in their mind.

Some Common Results:

- Most users didn’t draw the side keys on Kobo

- Kindle represented a much bigger screen size in the mind of users

- Most of them drew the iPad horizontally (and used it in landscape position)

- The size of screen for iPad was almost double of the other two devices (while in reality it is not).

- Users draw one Next button on right and one Previous button on left side of Kindle and used those to go back and forth; rarely the next button on left was used by the users, all of them were right handed.


If you are interested in participating in Mobile Lab research and analysis projects please contact us.

Also if you are interested in reviewing your product and usability of it please contact the Institute for more details.

Disclaimer: Note that this study is not considered scientific; the common results described might change if test repeated with a different set of users. NO commercial or academic result can be concluded from the study. The results cannot be used for any individual or commercial decision to use, purchase, interact or other means of using the devices. Any use of the common results is solely responsibility of you and Institute of Mobile Technologies accepts no liability to use this report in any form. Kobo, Kindle and iPad are registered trademarks.



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