Points to consider when designing your next mobile app

Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Percentage of people who have disagreements with their partner due to their mobile phone usage, by age

According to Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016 report, mobile hasn’t just reached saturating point (over 80% of the UK now owns a smartphone – and still annually growing at 7%), it’s become embedded in our day to day (and night to night) lives. We don’t just own a smartphone, we let it take over our lives – foregoing sleep or partner and friends asking us to put the thing away.

Here are the highlights and takeaways (all are UK statistics, from 3,251 respondents) from the Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report:

    • 10% of smartphone owners check their device immediately on waking up, with over two thirds of us checking our phone within 30 minutes of rising.
    • 43% of us check our phones within 30 minutes of going to bed.
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone from Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
Suggestion: next time you want to spend time with your family or friends, forget your phone
  • Half of smartphone owners aged 18-24 check their phone in the middle of the night (most of whom check the time, instant messages, social media notifications or email). If you’re not in that age bracket, it’s still 48% for 25-34 year olds, 37% of 35-44 year olds and 27% aged 45-54.
  • Next time you’re out with friends in a restaurant checking your email, or supposed to be out with the family, or just crossing the road, remember the two graphs above.

Do you design or build mobile apps?

If you design or develop mobile apps, there’s some interesting findings in the Mobile Consumer report.

27% of smartphones now have a fingerprint reader of which a staggering 76% use it. Behind these figures, that 27%-of-smartphones has taken only 3 years (it first appeared on the Apple 5S in September 2013), so it’s likely to reach over 50% of phones in the next year or so. And that 76%-use-a-fingerprint-reader figure indicates how much users hate username and passwords. So mobile app designers and developers should try using fingerprints for authentication instead.

Another finding in the report is that over half of UK adults already have a 4G connection, with peak speeds of over 300 Mbit/s. (I assume this excludes Wales where any form of mobile coverage is a bonus). To put this in context, 20 Mbit/s is enough for HD video. The answer is that mobile users now expect high quality imagery and video rather than a poorer, mobile-quality version.

This year, globally there will be over two trillion photos taken and shared on smartphones. Users love taking photos with their phones. Over a quarter of people take a photo every day (only half actually share it on social media or instant messaging).

Combining the data speed and the love-of-photography, expect to see more video content. Facebook are already promoting video uploads, and auto-playing videos in news feeds. Consider how your app can use photos and videos from users.

The usage of smartphone voice assistants. (Conclusion: not a lot of people use them except for amusement). From Deloitte Mobile Consumer 2016 report
The usage of smartphone voice assistants. (Conclusion: not a lot of people use them except for amusement).

Across all age groups, users still search in their mobile browser first – before the app store or a social network. Almost half of all UK smartphone owners install less than 20 apps. Users much prefer to use install apps for very common tasks (social networks and instant messaging), but use the mobile web for almost all other tasks. The recommendation is to build a mobile web version before the app, mainly so that you don’t lose Google search opportunities.

Summary

The 2016 Mobile Consumer report is humorously titled “There’s no place like phone”, which conveys the core messages. After I read the report I was reminded of the saying “Nobody on their deathbed has ever said ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office’”. Perhaps this quote can now be modified to “Nobody on their deathbed has ever said ‘I wish I had spent more time on my mobile phone’”. Not that it’s possible to spend much more time on it…

The free, full Mobile Consumer report is available on the Deloitte website and is well worth a read cover to cover.

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