Amazon’s Kindle Fire offers “a disappointedly poor user experience,” according to usability expert Jakob Nielsen, principal of the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG). In a small study, NNG found that even experienced touchscreen users’ navigation on the seven-inch tablet resulted in “fat-finger” errors. The interactive elements on full websites, it seems, are simply too small for the smaller screen. Meanwhile, mobile sites on the Kindle Fire were more navigable. The study also found Amazon’s Silk browser problematic for users.
Nielsen also offered observations related to the reading experience on the Kindle Fire, noting the device’s weight, deemed too heavy to hold for a long stretch engaging a novel. Nielsen also misses the physical buttons of the older Kindle models, adding that on the Fire, “tapping an area of the screen disrupts reading enjoyment” and leaves smudges.
While the Fire received higher marks for magazine reading, the study underscores shortcomings in this area of digital content, which lacks a design scheme particular to the device much less a truly interactive reading experience.