Many of the tools, techniques, and methodologies used for digital design are based on the explosive growth of the web on desktop and laptop computers. But mobile is different—not only because it is usually small, but because it travels with the user. Constant connectivity, sensors, and input methods like touch and gesture allow mobile devices to act very differently from the computers we have traditionally designed for. One key difference between mobile devices and many computers is touch, but our understanding of how people use touchscreen phones and tablets has been sadly lacking.

In Making mLearning Usable: How We Use Mobile Devices, Steven Hoober, with Patti Shank, analyzes the results of his own phone study and a crowdsourced Guild tablet study. The report examines how people hold, touch, and use the various tablet sizes, and explores the implications for the design of mobile interfaces for learning. This information is critical to anyone who wants to make effective use of mobile devices for information or instruction.