Thursday, February 23, 2006

The questionnaire results so far

Many thanks to those who have helped us out so far, we have had over a hundred responses since Tuesday and this trend will hopefully continue. We have no intentions of closing the survey as we want to see just how much of an audience we can cover.

Perhaps some of you are wondering "What relevance have these questions in light of your project?". Well, our project is working with the same kind of technologies that is behind these devices and we needed to understand the limitations their users have found. Particually, how accurate they find the click wheel, just in case a similar approach is better than a turning bezel along with, is it possible to memorise a big chunk of menus in the way they are currently laid out on devices (this is a very important speed issue for users, having to listen to over 100 products in an aisle slows them down and gets them in the way of other shoppers so memorising chunks of the menu is important, or menu design needs to have an upper bound limit of entries). We also need to know if using a powerful processor is absolutely necessary in our device and this also gives rise to the question of battery power.

I will now try and put my thoughts on the results so far and how this helps us in our project:

Do you or have you ever owned an IPod?

Yes (28) - 26%
No (skip to question 4) (78) - 74%

This question was introduced for two reasons, the first was to see how much of our audience had used an IPod personally, the second was to allow survey users to feel 'safe' not answering the IPod questions if they couldn't.

Overall this statistic surprised me. Considering that Apple dominate the mobile music player market, this shows that the market possibly isn't that big to begin with, despite the Nano being one of the best selling Christmas items of 2005.

How easy do you find navigating the music menu WITHOUT constant reference to the screen? In other words how easy do you find it to memorise the menu layout of the IPod?

Easy - I can get around well without peeking at the screen (7) - 23%
Not bad - I can get around quite a bit, but sometimes get 'lost' (6) - 20%
OK - I can work my way around where I currently am, but going to other menus needs a screen viewing (10) - 33%
Rather hard - I know one or two options surrounding my current selected choice, but thats it (3) - 10%
Terribly hard - Every change needs my eyes on the screen! (4) - 13%

This has been a very important finding, for some parts of our menu system we have figured it would be better to have 'click' sounds and only announce where you are in the menu after a brief pause, so as to allow users who frequent parts of menus (and thus memorise them) to get through these parts quickly. The finding here illustrate that changes between menus must always be announced and perhaps there should be settings options that allows the user to always have voice announcements instantly or to have the majority after a brief pause.

Of course not all menus can work like this and once in a shop or venue the 'add-on' menu will vary from place to place so these menus will have to be fully announced but in a supermarket, having all items accessible is infeasible (considering that most supermarkets stock thousands of different things) so the menus needs to split in a way similar to the Ipod - Brands, Categories and 'What's around my current location'. We'll discuss this more once we fully figure it out.

When using the IPod, do you ever have difficulty in trying to get the click wheel to respond?

Never had an issue - Works whenever I brush my finger over it (12) - 41%
Works everytime - But sometimes its too responsive and goes past/under my desired menu/volume location (9) - 31%
Works nearly all the time - But sometimes I need to re-adjust my finger because it stops responding (6) - 21%
Works most of the time - But others seem to have a better grip of the idea than me (2) - 7%
I can get it to work half the time - Just haven't quite grasped the technology yet (0) - 0%
Less than half the time - Help me! (0) - 0%

The majority of users seem to get on fine with their Ipod click wheels but considering how many find they are not always precise I think the turning on our device is best kept as a bezel.

Do you or have you ever owned a PDA/Smart phone?

Yes (37) - 35%
No (skip the rest of the questions) (69) - 65%

As with the Ipod, these devices appear to have a very niche market area which isnt big. It's inclusion here is pretty much for the same reasons as the first question.

What operating system does it use?

Windows CE (4) - 10%
Windows Mobile (8) - 21%
Symbian OS (12) - 31%
Linux (2) - 5%
Don't know/other (13) - 33%

This question was asked because we wanted to see what OS the majority of our questions below referred to and also because we wanted to see if their was a clear leader in the field that we should be using for the system, the results have proved their isn't.

How big is your device's built-in memory?

1-32 MB (16) - 46%
33-64 MB (4) - 11%
64-256 MB (11) - 31%
256-1024 MB (1) - 3%
1024+ MB (1GB+) (3) - 9%

And of this memory, how much are you using?

1-25% (4) - 11%
26-50% (8) - 22%
51-75% (14) - 39%
75+% (10) - 28%

Is the amount of memory sufficient to your needs

Sure - Got everything I want on there and room to spare (8) - 22%
Sure - Its a bit full, but there's more than enough room for my usage and I dont plan on adding to it (7) - 19%
Well its kind of enough, my applications sit on the memory but I keep all my files on removable flash memory (8) - 22%
Not really - I've filled it and have some of my applications and all my files on removable flash memory (7) - 19%
Are you kidding me?!? - I have to keep a load of my stuff on my huge removable flash memory! (6) - 17%

These three questions have helped us determine how big software and files tend to be on PDA's and whether our device was going to need a whole 8GB of storage and if so, was the demand for these sizes of storage meaning that prices were reasonable. It would seem 32MB of memory is the cheapest at bulk buy still and this seems to be sufficient for most peoples uses

How responsive do you find the device? In other words, how long does it take the device to complete an execution you request of it?

Rocket Speed - Does the task and finishes it faster than I can tell it (6) - 17%
Jet Speed - Fast at most things but complex things like movies and music it struggles to be fast at (13) - 37%
Car Speed - Its fast with stuff like word processing when its loaded, but loading the program is the issue... (15) - 43%
Snail Speed - I type in a word and wait for the thing to catch up! (1) - 3%

We asked this question because we wanted to find out what people thought of current PDA speeds in the face of ours needing to be pretty much real time responses to requests. From our results I think the faster we can get the processor to go, the better!

Lets talk about the amount of time you can use your device before the battery becomes too low (without recharging before it gets to this stage!. How long is this with your device?

I barely get away from the socket... (up to 2 hour) (1) - 3%
Gets me to lunch (3-4 hours) (5) - 14%
I get through the day (12-14 hours) (10) - 27%
...and the night (18- 24 hours) (5) - 14%
It gets through the weekend with a breeze (48-72 hours) (11) - 30%
Gets me through work all week (5-6 days) (2) - 5%
Goes further than that famous brand with the bunnies...(1 week +) (3) - 8%

This was a very important question because we really needed to know how long realistically the device could go on standard PDA batteries as a few hours was useless to us but we cannot have the device the size and weight of a brick, but the results here are quite promising. Ideally our device would take 48-72 hours to fully use up the batteries and many of our results show current PDA's to be in this bracket. Many are also in the 12-14 hour bracket which is worrying if this is due to heavy use of PDA resources (such as music listening) as our device will be just as demanding.

Finally, what do you use your PDA for?

Business use - Appointments, contacts, notekeeping (23) - 27%
Student use - Timetable, lecture note taking (12) - 14%
Social use - Music/Video storage/playing (24) - 28%
Travel use - Route planning/driving (8) - 9%
Mobile communication (non-voice) - Internet, email, instant message chat (18) - 21%

This question was asked so we could understand the results (i.e. fast battery usage with music/video play would be understandable).


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