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User experience report praises iOS 7, slams Windows Phone 8 on customisation, OS annoyances

With both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C announced already, just how good is Apple's iOS 7? We've been using it for a short while and we'll admit that it doesn't feel half bad, but Pfeiffer Consulting has taken a rather in-depth look at how Apple's new OS ranks against Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry 10 and Google's Android (note the firm used Samsung's implementation of Android over the stock version).

So how does iOS 7 fare against the competition? Quite well, according to the report. It's worth noting that the team looked at software alone, so forget high-end hardware and the best Lumia Windows Phones - we're strictly talking about the software layer. Here's what the firm scored each platform on:

  • Cognitive load - The difficulty users face when familiarising themselves to use the operating system spontaneously and intuitively
  • Efficiency - How efficiently key features and services are integrated for ease of operation
  • Customization - How many options an operating system provides to allow a user to tailor it to their personal tastes
  • User experience friction (UEF) -  Pfeiffer describes this as "the bad stuff, the aspects of a device that can annoy you in a niggling way, or, in extreme cases, drive you crazy"

Some of the results aren't good for Windows Phone 8. For cognitive load, Microsoft came in a joint second with iOS 6, behind iOS 7 but ahead of the rest. It's a simple UI and we'll agree with the scoring provided. Moving onto efficiency, Windows Phone was hit hard due to offering "limited notification management and basic multitasking." We won't disagree there as these are some well documented suggestions from consumers.

Lumia 925

Lack of customisation in Windows Phone?

Customisation is an interesting one. Windows Phone came in last, by a clear mile, but it's strange to have the OS slated for lack of personalisation. Granted, you can't customise the start screen to have a pink background and white tiles, but there's the emphasis on a sleek look, which is achieved by the level of customisation presently available.

To give the platform a 2/10 simply because you can't place an image as the background is ignoring other areas that are easily customisable. Lockscreen, Live Tiles themselves and the system themes available are ample enough to get cracking while developers ensure their app experiences are unique enough to draw attention.

Lastly, for user experience friction, Windows Phone came in the last spot again. iOS 7 scored 14, while Microsoft came away with 51 (lower is better). The "lack of customisation" is once again brought up. There are numerous niggles with the system that we've highlighted in the past, which Microsoft needs to address. The system wide volume control, no way to close apps easily, lack of a unified notification centre, "Other" storage issues, severe battery drain and more all ruin the experience for some.

Wrapping up the report, Pfeiffer Consulting rates iOS 7 as the best operating system available for mobile devices. While Windows Phone fared better than Android and Blackberry 10 in some of the tests, it was shot down for lack of basic functionality and limited features (notification center, multitasking controls and more). Here's the overall picture:

Mobile OS UX Results

Windows Phone 8 sitting in last place. We will agree with some of the niggles pointed out, but look forward to seeing what GDR3 and major Blue updates both address. Head on over to Pfeiffer and read the full document.

Source: Pfeiffer (PDF), via: Register

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Hopefully 8.1 addresses this.
  • Hopefully... but we've said that about Mango and 8.
  • Yep, I've lost faith in Microsoft. And if they ever do address these issues it will probably be in 2020.
  • Windows Media Center and Zune are both waiting for minor updates to turn them from half-hearted but highly promising products to market juggernauts. Oh wait, Zune was dropped and Xbox One won't have WMC extender support? Yay, Microsoft!
  • Hopefully when when MSFT gets it iOS will be 10steps ahead and Android 8steps ahead
  • Yes, every WP user wants those issues addressed. But then also there would be loads of such "studies" just changing the parameters or raising some different issue, thus making the same rankings. A sheep will always be a sheep.
  • Agreed
  • well said bro, totally agree with you
  • Could someone please tell me why on earth one would want different volume control in apps and for ringer... That's the thing I hated about iOS. Not knowing which volume I changed and the status of the other. A single volume control is one of my favorite features of windows phone. Far less confusion.
  • Because, if you listen to a music, you might put the volume down like 10% to avoid from hearing impaired but this 10% volume also applied to the ringtone which causes you to miss important call when you are sleeping. You need to change the volume up to 100% after listening to a music and change it back to 10% when you want to listen to music.. This is why people want to control the volume separately.
  • Ugh I suppose I will have to accept that people want this feature but I would rather not have it... Or at least have a more obvious solution than iOS. For example if the volume rocker controlled all sound except notifications then have a slider for notifications or something. I hate on iOS that you can only change volume for the app you're in, it's confusing. If you're in a game and you want to know how loud your ringer is, you'd have to leave the app. Overall I like it the way it is, but I hope if MS implements the idea, they do it in a more smart way.
  • For example if the volume rocker controlled all sound except notifications then have a slider for notifications or something.
    this is exactly how ios works already.  in the settings app under sound there is a ringers and alerts slider,  you can turn off change with buttons under the slider and then set your alerts to what volume you want, and then they always stay that way. 
  • Another example: when you are listening to a music with 10% volume on earpieces and at the same time, you have whatsapp message's sound notification from your friends which uses ONLY loud speaker to notify you, and the way to turn it off only by reducing the volume down to 0% and this will also silent your music. Frustrated.
  • While some ratings here seem fair, the thing that perplexes me is how do you reasearch and publish user experience for an OS that is less than a week old. I mean, IOS 7 was released on the 18th. This company needs to have a set of criteria, a user base that does the rating based on a few weeks of usage. Without that, I am not sure how valid the research is!!
  • Pfeiffer is partners with Apple, so it should be no surprise that iOS7 is ranked highest.
  • It feels quiet obvious also.
  • Just anything
  • Do you have a link or something that states that info?
    If true, then the whole survey truely should be trhown out as not being valid.  This would be no different than if Microsoft did something similar and it was said that WP was beter than IOS
    I HATE companies who disquise being neutral when really they doing something to falsly elevate one product over another
  • Just go to their website, its right there on their homepage.
    look at the bottom, "some of our clients"
  • I agree but still apple always have their work done on time with quality and hardly any bugs, so i don't think they had to consider a criteria for iOS7.
  • Except for the glaring security bug that allowed people to makes calls and see and share your photos on your locked device...
  • True very few bugs
  • Not true, I have IOS 7 on ipod Touch, I found bugs and inconsitancies in the UI. The first bug that I have discovered is in the app store. There is no intuitive way to delete all the apps that I have updated since the system update to IOS7 from 6.0.1. They are always there no matter how many times I kill the app and restart. That is a very annoying bug. Worst of all I see that I have updates on the app store ICON but I dont see the "update all" option inside the app
    Slightly digressing but, since we are discussing UI experience here, there is another UI issue with the apps thingy, the motto is "there is an App for that" and not all apps are designed the same. the facebook app and the design principle of IOS. I have to move my finger and tap all over the place to get a job done. There is no consistant experience. In WP my finger always is near the 3 soft keys and there is vertical or horizontal swipe. It is the same with every app.
    what about this, some apps don't follow the IOS 7 guidelines, some apps do follow. how come Apple with all thier control have no control on the developers. The philosopy "There is an app for that" is itself becoming questionable?
    What stupid colours IOS 7 has, it hurts the eyes, its is too bright, when you exit an app the screen suddenly gets flashier it is not at all pleasing I am getting pissed as to why I updated to IOS7
    I think this review is totally biased and I think the credibility of the reviewers is questionable?
  • that's not a bug. that's so you can see what autoupdate has done. and you can go see what has updated.
  • Why, I think it is a bug, why would I want to see all the apps that have been updated when I expect to see of list of apps that need updating. This list belongs in history and anyways, I would like the ability to purge it. The other thing is, what happens if there are 50 apps that need updating, do I want to scroll down and see all of this. I think this is a half baked feature. They did not have place for a history icon/option below that is why they may have just left it in update list. The other thing is this page does not refresh itself, if I have scrolled 50 apps below and the app store icon show 1 update when I launch appstore again, the update page remains in the same position and I have to scroll back all the way to check which app is getting updated.
  • I think you're right & you should switch to Zune bro. Oops! that Zune thing failed & died the death of FLOP FAILURE Product in competition to iPods :P Just tell me why would you even want to waste your time watching which app got an update, at the end you just update it.. Since they had it earlier and made it more practical and time saving by doing auto update possible, so bro you cant call it a bug.
  • I never mentioned Zune, this is a discussion about IOS 7 and WP user experience. Apple screwed us by giving a half baked update which performs inferior to the previous update, after charging a shit load of money, I am not happy, they should give us an option to go back or fix the issues. M$ also has these issues, but they don't charge us a shit load of money, I don't have to dark goggles to use the device. but wait why am I wasting time arguing with isheep. Apple is god to all you guys
  • Seems like he is technically challenged :D
    He calls a feature of auto updating the apps in app store as a bug :D
    Be thankful that you've so many features in you iPod that your WP8 doesnt have I use Nokia Lumia 820 + iPad Mini and I can see there are very few bugs(4-5) but those bugs have nothing to do with this test..
  • "Just tell me why would you even want to waste your time watching which app got an update, at the end you just update it.. Since they had it earlier and made it more practical and time saving by doing auto update possible, so bro you cant call it a bug."
    That is exactly what I am saying, if I don't need to watch which app is being updated or has already been updated, why have a list of apps that have been updated, keep it blank or don't have that option in App-store, The behaviour in IOS 6 is correct, the behaviour in IOS 7 is broken. Looks like they wanted to have 5 options at the bottom and they have it that is all.
    This may not be a big bug, it is annoying, but it shows that IOS 7 UI still needs work and is not complete. User experience is last on thier minds. they are playing catch up game with WP and android.
  • I think you may be blinded by your fanboyism if you think iOS always get done on time without bugs.
  • Say Anything to prove your point but iOS is the most practicle OS with least bugs, which is too common with ANDROID & WP.
  • I personally don't understand why people want to put a picture on the start screen. The tiles cover the entire screen, so a picture would be useless, you couldn't see anything. Idk, even if you said "its a personal preference" I would still point this fact out. I of course have a custom background on everything I own, and even I see zero point in a start screen wallpaper
  • It's called OS/App envy. People see something another OS has, and immediately want it no matter what. Despite the fact that it simply won't work with whatever OS they are using. Give people what they cry about wanting and soon enough WP will completely morph into ios or android.
  • If you go the store there is a background picture there. Why does Microsoft allow a background there and not on the start screen? It's there because it makes it more attactive so they should allow users to put a picture on the start screen.
  • Go to your photos hub. Viola background picture with your apps on top. Perfect. They even allow you to choose your favorite pictures. I wish that was my start screen.
  • There's empty space where you can actually see the background, not so much on the Start Screen. I suppose you can make an argument for the app list though.
  • Actually if you allow for transperency then it looks pretty nice. Had that option in an android launcher I had (launcher 7) Also had to option to change tiles and text I could have yellow tiles with black texts (looked SUPER nice) Just wish wp8.1 gives more customization options..
  • Well, you can also swipe to the right for apps list, that's like 90% of the screen just white/black, could use an image at the background ;)
  • because PARALLAX! 
  • The betas have been available for months.
    And as Josh points out Apple is Pfeiffer's client, so really this report is rather biased.
    There's some fair points about the report, but it's one sided approach slants things towards Apple in most cases and against Android and Windows Phone.
    Saying something like "notification centre" is missing is unfair because if you were a new smartphone user you would have no concept of such a thing. There's a lot of similar bias in the report and while I agree WP could be better in some areas few of the benefits are mentioned and too many false negatives are there.
  • I agree.
  • The other thing to take into account is other OSes have been out quite a bit longer. At this point everyone knows how to use icon\row-based layout. WP is far departure from that so yeah, different. It isn't that iOS7 is so much better its that everyone knows how to use it already. IOS 7 just provided animations and flatter icons. ZOMG so much easier!!! Android is same kind of deal but I personally feel its disjointed and have been frustrated with it everytime I've used it. WP isn't perfect but personally don't think its anywhere near as bad as this report makes it out to be be
  • Agreed. The problem with studies is that the conclusions they draw can be skewed/biased based on sample groups they target, or that there may be alternate explanations for the results. To the point that iOS7 is only 1 week old, you might be looking at a biased sample group(those that upgraded that quickly - clearly fans/passionate and aware of the new product likely to give more favorable ratings). There's also happiness/favorability with something that is new.. W8P almost a year old now.. will iOS have the same satisfaction ratings in a year with a larger (more general) sample/install base, and when its no longer so fresh? These are only a few questions that the bring into question the assumptions made in the study, and the validity of its results.
  • Review is clearly biased but some of the issues with WP are totally valid.
  • Well the issues are valid but they point out stuff that ios can do for once that others cant do and forget about all the other stuff other systems can do and not even mention that.. but well we know never to trust a statistic you didnt create yourself
  • Technically on what they hit on, its somewhat accurate, it's not a full view of using WP by far, but can't say its far off. Of course, its all YMMV since there are a lot of things with the OS that i'd like, but wouldn't rate high enough to note it as friction. 
  • I really looked at what they rate against the OS and most of those things I don't find massively important. I would love more apps but It doesn't really detract much and the customization of the OS was one of the things that ran me off from android. Constantly messing with the OS and never really getting it just right. Don't have to worry about that with WP it just functions right.
    Really if WP is the least usable OS then we really are in a new golden age of tech.
  • 8.1 Is coming let them retest at that time
  • I agree. I hope 8.1 is sooner than later. I'm on Verizon and I'm upset for att 920 owners. Even if Microsoft gets it out on time att could hold it up for some time.
  • Seconded!
  • Many of these issues should of been fixed a long time ago honestly.  MS has been VERY VERY reluctant to make a notification center, saying "Live times works" but only if you have that tile pinned.  Notification center will save a lot of scrolling and guessing.  Also universal search would GREATLY help my experience, and the ability to close spacific apps.  These are coming in later patches, but really should of been there from launch without having to wait a year for common and needed features other OS's have had for years already.
  • Yeah, I've never got the "You don't need a notification centre, you've got live tiles" argument.
    Live tiles show the state of App. A Notification Centre shows the change in state.
  • Sigh....
  • So who's the one that picked up the WP for 5 mins to do this study? I've heard nothing but jealousy from others about how much customization my WP8 does. Is it perfect? No, far from it, but it's not last.
  • Wow ok, I just read through the full report and this is just ridiculous. Blatant ignorance of the OS like this is the reason why people think that the WP isn't good enough.
  • Go to, Apple logo right on the front. Apple paid to have this report done.
  • Actually its just half baked os with loads of bugs and unseen important functions urgently needed
  • Windows Phone is not half baked. Different, yes. Buggy? Every OS has bugs. Remember iOS6 mossing a "sense of direction" with Apple Maps? "Unseen Important functions"? This is two sided. One sode of it is microsoft jad to rebuild Windows Phone a second time, for Windows NT, which means that they lost a number of features. In the long run, this move was necessary, but this meant Microsoft would be devoting more time to restoring lost features than adding features. One the other side, some features are not even necessary. Notification Center (the kind used in android and iOS, that is) is pointless, simce most developers utilize tiles instead of notifications within their apps on Windows Phone, for instance (some "Notification" center that pooled notifications and numeric tile updates for apps that are not pinned or are disabled could be potentially more useful. Theres other ways to do a NC besides Apple's and Google's way).
    Windows Phone is no worse than the rest of them, and better than some of them (id say its a step up in most departments from everything but iOS7, and only a step down in a few departments). Yes its missing some valid things, which hinder the OS, and are fairly basic. But its not missing any "urgently" needed functions to my knowledge, and its anything from half baked.
    And remember, part of baking is ingredients. You wont see the egg in the cookie, but a better egg makes a difference. The same is true for Windows Phone. you may not "see" nt and every little background enhancement Microsoft makes, but it could make all the difference in the end.
    (please pardon any spelling errors)
  • Lady I respect that you wrote too much but you should be precise and make one liner sentences/Points, as I wont read that big of a comment that weight 25% of the article.
  • im sorry, but some things cannot be expressed with "one-liner" sentences.
  • I love my Lumia, but I too feel like the customization is lacking. No custom email or text sounds, and honestly the color choices for backgrounds and tiles are pretty limited.
  • Same thought. Agreed cant always keep background as white as its too bright for dark & night and black feels dull and boring after 6-8months of use. :/
  • Agreed. And I would like to be able to use the LED as a notification item.
  • GDR3 is coming soon I hope to delete and remove all the annoying matters that caused them to give the OS such a bad review.
  • GDR3 is almost entirely a hardware support fix to allow for next gen phones before Christmas, it will have next to 0 improvements for the UI and UX. Nokia may include some UI and UX improvements, but that is for Lumia phones, not for WP8 in general. The soonest we are going to see any any real OS level improments is going to be WP8.1 which will not be out until Q1 2014 at the earliest. However, between GDR3 and WP8.1 MS should be done playing catchup on hardware support for a little while. This means that after WP8.1 is released they will have the time to focus on features and usability improvements.
    2012 was the year of resetting the core OS (again). 2013 has been the year of hardware support. 2014 will be the year of added features. 2015 will be the year of finally unifying app development and seeing mainstream acceptance. 2016 we may finally see WP eat enough Android business to potentially take the 2nd place spot from Apple.
  • Are you joking? You're way off and your head is in the clouds.
  • You are too slow really and no user has patience to live with such excuses about what Microsoft is thinking or executing. The disappointment right now wil lead to slow and no adoption or abandon the platform all together. What are they trying to catch up when most basic features are missing which users are using since ages in other platforms.
  • Like what happened to Microsoft Phone Kin and Windows Mobile. They are all dead.
  • GDR3?  AT&T users still haven't gotten GDR2.
  • LOL that's kind of sad
  • say what????? ehhh i dont understand how its less customizable than the iphone o.o either im living in a world where static icons are more customizable than live tiles or i am missing something
  • Because you can have your own picture in the background covered by static icons so you can't see it :P
  • well doesnt that make it super innovative and customizable ! but in all seroiusness i rather have my start screen stuff that is relevent to you and not just have some company that locks the home screen to have it look like the other iphone users ....thats just me :)!
  • Exactly. Static icons that you cannot arrange to show a blank space for your picture. I had to jailbreak my 4S, install an app market for "other" apps, follow a tutorial to create "invisible icons for fake apps" just to see my daughters face on the wallpaper behind some invisible app icons.
    Atleast on Android and Symbian I could just create a blank page and look at them. I am content with assigning a picture to the lockscreen on my 1020 and just seeing my daughters everytime I pick up my phone if I would want to do so.
    To each his/her own thoiugh...
    For the record, I own an iPad 4 with iOS7, iPhone 4 with iOS7, Lumia 1020, Lumia 920, Nokia 808 PureView, Nokia N8, Motorola Droid Pro with Android, and other random phones around the house like a Nokia C7, 5300, a none touch Blackberry and I have own several Android flaghips of their time, Galaxy SII, HTC One S, G2 (not the new G2) and more. I am not speaking from  just a Windows Phone perspective.
  • ^this i never did understand static icons with little numbers but hey its more customizable than windows phone
  • You can have custom notification sounds on iOS also.
  • Wake-up call. MS, back to you.
  • Lack of customization my A$$. iOS had much less to offer than WP
  • Hell, the rating would have been worse if they had used an AT&T 920 for the review model. Btw, AT&T blows!
  • There seems to be a pretty obvious bias steamroller at work here-- the vast majority of regular jackoffs with iPhones that I've talked to have said they hated iOS7, some to the point of deliberately not updating. Something about it being buggy and poorly organized.
  • Don't forget the fact that you can't use custom tones for text or email messages, which I've been able to do since the days of my old Blackberry Pearl...
  • What? I can on my 928.
  • How do you customize tones for text or e-mail on the 928?
  • I think he is talking about one for email one for text. I believe you are talking about setting one for wife kids or boss so you know if you want to look at the phone. That is GDR3 or 8.1 don't recall off the top of my head
  • I think he means for a specific recipient for example.
  • I mean if I have a sound clip from Metal Gear Solid on my computer I can't load it onto my phone and use that for my text tone. Even iOS has had this since 5 I believe.
  • you can actually...
  • You can put custom tones for call ringers, but not texting and email. That's a legitimate ding on WP. Oh, and no GDR2/Amber for my 920 yet. That's another ding. Users are complaining about iOS 7, about the motion it causes and overly bright design hurting eyes; amazing that fanboy reviewers don't acknowledge that.
  • No. No you can't. You're mistaken, because that's not possible on windows phone.
  • Isn't that one of the things they're putting into GDR3, though?
  • I can do this on my 8X.
  • Too bad ios7 looks like some 5 year old puked his crayon lunch all over it
  • Lol, sounds like a worried ios user that's concerned about how quickly were catching them up. WP may have its problems still, but it gets so much better every update.
  • No it absolutely doesn't. Its been almost the same since WP8 launched. Next to zero new features and nothing that's been noteworthy. Its still worse functionally than 7 was.
  • BS
  • You failed to mention in the article that Pfieffer is a partner of Apple.
    This "study" has been widely reported and no one has pointed that out, this is rubbish.
  • Since Windows or Microsoft doesn't have any such partner to do such studies / surveys Microsoft suffers & apple wins... Tell your fanatic MSFT to get a survey company partnered and do an analysis show Apple down.. Till sushh..!! Fact is any damn day Apple or Android is way better than WP8
  • GTFO
  • you know he wont... he is a stupid troll with no Windows Phone, but still comes and trolls every thread. he is not even a smart troll but he still loves to talk crap. dont waste your time, but its annoying when he responds to other people comments like if people wanted to hear his stupidity.
  • Hey buddy you telling me GTFO or you getting angry doesnt change the fact that Apple will do another survey & will again dominate MSFT and you'll nag and Apple would still win over MSFT. Reelaaaxxx :P :D 
  • You're missing the point, sites are reporting this without disclosing Apple's relationship with the surveying company, a very essential, basic rule of journalism.
    Then you have psycho fan boys who roam the internet trolling comments, ignoring facts and reason... like you.
  • Hey Bro Missed ya a lot..
    You're right Apple had se* with that Survey company & produced a baby result which did pee on MSFT's face.
    But the fact here is despite the survey:
    1. iOS is better than WP8 OS. 
    2. They'll do a same kinda survey again to showdown MSFT.
    3. MSFT will again do an adv saying SCROOGLED.
    4. MSFT will again do an adv mimicing Siri say "Oops! I dont have that feat." but fact is MSFT RT tabs or phones have a Voice Assistant that is much worse compared to Symbian's.
    5. We both can nag but fact is Apple won this Survey & MSFT sold many RT tablets via that adv against Siri or Scroogled.
    6. Nobody is clean Apple, Google, MSFT.
  • It's hard not to agree.  Had this been conducted 8 months ago it would be reletively understandable.  However, it's hard even for the most loyal of WP users, such as I, to overlook some of the features missing in WP8.
  • Can someone inform me what customisation ios7 offers? So you can change the wallpaper...big deal!
  • Its cooler than that. Your wallpaper is covered by app icons so you can't see it :P
  • But WP8 doesnt even offer that :'(
  • iOS7 more customisable than WP? 
    Oh ok.....LMAO
  • Its because of the background. I agree this option should be added regardless of the fact it will make the OS look ugly and with the tiles in the way you question the point. MS should offer options to change the colour from black or white to multiple colours like we have with tiles
  • But they don't take into account the lock screen or the tile sizes. They're more worried about folders(which I wouldn't really put into the customization section).
  • Same here bored of this dullness with black or white color.. It was all good untill iOS lockscreen wallpaper or Android's live wallpapers... :/
    Feels like I'm using MS DOS in the days of Augmented Reality..
  • To be honest, I have never once even considered that there would be a need to set the background color.
  • Yeah in the beginning I too felt so but I feel a bit jealous in heart when I see that iPhone lockscreen or Android Live wallpaper. But WP8 wallpaper needs to be a bit more interactive like going to Viber/Phone/Skype/Facebook or a chosen app from the bottom when dragged upwards. Just writing text on a pic and making it a weather wallpaper is like a lot less funtional then that of its counterparts like Android or iOS or Jolla, etc.
  • They rated iOS7 just as customizable as Android. That is what truly blew my mind.
  • I agree to that Apple iOS is so rigid to customizations but then always or daily customizing Android is also being very choosy and time waste. I dont know its more of a personal choice.
  • I'm glad they have done this. When I read the title I though "here we go again, another article swayed by hype and marketing" As I read on I agree, poor notifications, other storage issue etc. Microsoft are taking too long to develop Window Phone. I also feel that if the notification centre is actually just an app and a live tile, this again will show MS not working hard enough in the right areas to develop the OS