Wednesday, April 21st, 2010


I wrote a whole rant about how anti-competitive Apple’s App Store model is, and I was all set to post it here. But when I was fact-checking myself I found out that actually Apple approved Opera Mini for iPhone on April 12. So Apple is in fact willing to approve apps that compete with their built-in functionality.

That weakens the argument I was going to make. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about how much this changes my position. Just because Apple decided to allow competition this time doesn’t change the fact that they have the power to block any competition they don’t want. I suppose it comes down to a question of whether you think Apple is an “enlightened despot” or just a despot.

Congrats to Opera, though!

While we were working on Test Pilot studies, Patrick Dubroy was doing his own research on Firefox tab usage patterns. He presented his findings a paper at CHI 2010 last week. Now he’s put up an excellent blog post summarizing what he found out. Go read it right now!

A couple of months ago, the Test Pilot team sat down with six volunteer users, one at a time, and asked them to go through the steps of installing Test Pilot and submitting test results.

(Yes, that’s right: we were testing Test Pilot — feel free to make infinite recursion jokes.)

What we found was extremely valuable. The same problems happened again and again. Six users may not seem like enough to give you useful information, but believe me, after you’ve seen the fourth or fifth user in a row trip over the exact same usability problem, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how high a priority it is. (Statistics rule of thumb: if you have a problem that affects 1/3 of users, then you only need to interview 5 users to have an 85% chance of seeing it).

(more…)

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