Will the "long-fingernail effect" hinder iPhone texters?

Will the "long-fingernail effect" hinder iPhone texters?

Summary: Over on another blog I do (I get around) I have been parsing the results of a survey of 20 iPhone testers conducted by user experience consulting firm User Centric.Testers were asked to execute multiple text messages, both on their personal cell phones as well as on the iPhone.

SHARE:
TOPICS: iPhone, Mobility
5

longnails.jpg

Over on another blog I do (I get around) I have been parsing the results of a survey of 20 iPhone testers conducted by user experience consulting firm User Centric.

Testers were asked to execute multiple text messages, both on their personal cell phones as well as on the iPhone.

One factoid in the survey results might be cause for a bit of a discussion here:

One female participant tried to interact with the iPhone keypad using her fingernail and was unsuccessful.

At first read this sounds kind of silly. But when you think about it, perhaps not.

News Flash #1: Teenage girls text somethin' fierce. Walk through any mall or down any street with shops and you see them tapping away ( when they aren't yakkin' away).

News Flash #2: Teenage girls often wear long fingernails. I don't have any numbers to document this, but I would guess a relatively healthy percentage of teenage girls - and not just a few older females as well- do have fingernail extensions. Or whatever it is that they are called.

OK, let's put all this together. When long-fingernailed girls text on standard cell phones with on-device keypads, I'd think their fingernails could actually be helpful. The narrow endings could almost function as stylus-like devices that could easily navigate through the keypad and type out those mission-critical tomes.

But as you know, iPhone's keypad is a virtual one, on the device itself. Since the fingernailed tester had trouble using iPhone's virtual keypad to text, is this a harbinger of trouble for millions of teen (and older) texters who may wind up with an iPhone soon?

Topics: iPhone, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

5 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Experience here! (With fingernails at least)

    I am here to tell you, as a female who has sculptured nails (nail extensions is a very old-fashioned term lol), and has had them consistently since I was 15. They are tools, and when it comes to pushing those tiny buttons on a number or keypad, I (and many that I know) use the tips because it's easier to hit the correct button (no fat-fingering if you don't actually use your finger). In addition, during the short periods when I haven't had my nails, um, enhanced, I continued to use my natural nails to this effect, for the same reasons.

    I touch keypad that doesn't respond to fingernails (real or fake) would definately get in my way at first, and I'd say I'm not alone on that.
    laura.b
    • PS

      Although the long-fingernail point is a very good one, the actual study that this blog discusses isn't particularly valid from a scientific standpoint. 20 is not a large enough sample, and only allowing participants one minute to input info into the iPhone, when none of them had ever used on before, is kind of intentionally fixing the results.

      It seems unethical to report the results as fact because the whole thing smells a little funny to me. But maybe I'm wrong.
      laura.b
      • Re: PS

        If you reread the information on the actual study, it is a valid study and the findings were statistically significant despite a sample of 20. Also, I do believe it also said that they improved in using the iPhone after using it for a half an hour (not 1 minute), although it was still slower.

        The only real criticism of the research is that, well, "duh" people can't learn how to type on something they can't feel as fast as a real keyboard.

        Here's where I got the info: http://www.usercentric.com/news.asp?ID=387
        goodbadskinnee
  • Proof: iPhone is for MEN

    LOL
    mlindl
  • REJOICE :All with long beautiful nails or fat fingers

    after reading your recent article about how the Apple
    Iphone discriminates against women with long fingernails,
    any person with chubby fingers , or any individual without
    knowledge of the layout of the qwerty keyboard I must
    submit this article from Alphatouch,llc . This brand new
    software only requires knowledge of the alphabet to use.
    The ability to type,text, or dial numbers rapidly with
    almost 100% accuracy out of the gait is amazing. You
    simply touch and flick and the words appear and
    sentences form with no mistakes. The Apple IPhone is a
    work of technology art but,alas it has no real keyboard and
    typing is a real drag especially for those individuals
    mentioned above. Many return the IPhone for those same
    reasons you stated in your article. Trying to text message
    becomes a chore. Not any longer thanks to this innovative
    ,simple to use application. I have entered the link with the
    demo video for your readers. Thanks ,Bob
    :http://www.alphatouchllc.com/alphatouchllc.html
    alphatouch,llc