August 14, 2022

Kindle Fire’s User Experience Disappoints, Notably with Reading


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.


Kathy Ishizuka About Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka (, @kishizuka on Twitter) is Executive Editor of School Library Journal.


  1. I would agree with some of that. No question, the browser is poor and it is prone to smudges. Such is life. However, I don’t see how not having physical buttons interrupts the reading experience. I can read with one hand quite easily and actually find the weight quite comfortable. And I can stream music from Pandora at the same time. A nice way to chill before bed time.

    There are 2 caveats – I just finished reading Keith Richards autobiography in hard cover (that was heavy) and the Fire is my first Kindle. Overall, I like it but I would say there is room especially in the web browsing department

  2. bernadette popp says:

    This is regarding kindle fire receiving a poor response by users especially to readers. I solved both problems experienced by the stated users … 1. User friendly reading can be enhanced with an inexpensive touch screen stylus pen.
    2. Dirty screens can be kept mark free by using the stylus &/or computer Audio Video dust cloths with every use.