Usability of Tablet Computers to Facilitate Instant Written Feedback

Martyn Prigmore, Duke Gledhill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We undertake a usability evaluation of tablet computers and handwriting capture and recognition software for use in the classroom. The aim is to assess whether the current crop of tablets and available software offer a viable platform for the immediate capture and dissemination of formative or summative written feedback. If so, then these devices could offer an effective and efficient approach to sharing feedback with our students.

We examine a range of tablet devices, covering the major operating systems and touchscreen technologies. For each device, we consider a selection of handwriting capture and recognition apps, in each case choosing the best available for a detailed usability analysis. We develop usability criteria based on Nielsen's heuristics, refining them for the task at hand. The set of usability criteria developed should prove useful as a basis for future usability analyses of mobile technologies.

Our findings indicate that there are combinations of tablet computer and handwriting capture, or recognition, software available now that are suitable for use in the classroom. The better quality combinations can be used for capturing and disseminating both formative and summative feedback. Handwriting recognition does require a tablet with an active digitizer and good quality commercial software. Tablets with a good capacitive screen and high quality handwriting capture apps are an acceptable alternative if recognition is not required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInnovation in Teaching and Learning in Information and Computer Sciences
Issue number0
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015


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