Geoff Kendall, CTO at interface firm Next Device, pointed me to an interesting paper on small-screen usability by a team of university researchers at the National University of Ireland in Galway and Claremont Graduate University in Californina.
The paper is entitled: “Usability and Acceptance in Small-Screen Information Systems.” It explores the effect of transluency on perceived usability and records objective and subjective results from a group of users presented with a fully-functioning demonstration on a 3G handset.
The authors Thomas Acton, Willie Golden, Sorin Gudea and Murray Scott find there is actually a positive link between perceived usability and something as simple as using translucent menus.
Maybe beautiful interfaces really do work better!
You can download the PDF of the paper here.