In my tutorial in early November at Better Software East on Mobile App Usability and UX for Developers anXBOSoft Knowledge Center - Blogd Testers, one of the key learning points was that Mobile Smartphone Usability is different for everyone! I know it sounds like a cliche, but the point is that everyone has a different point of view and uses their smartphone for purposes depending on who they are. Back in 2012, we did a survey on how people use their mobile phones and got these results:

Rank Task

  1. Phone calls (Making, receiving)
  2. SMS (Sending, receiving)
  3. Email and Mobile Utilities: Alarm, Calendar management, Adjusting phone brightness, Changing phone profiles (Such as silent, meeting, flight mode, etc.)
  4. Social Communication via social accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. (Social Communication status updates, check-ins, sharing multimedia, etc.)
  5. Taking photos, Making videos, Browsing multimedia gallery
  6. Search, General browsing
  7. Music, movies
  8. Entertainment: Playing games, e-books, using local appstore
  9. Instant Messaging (such as Skype, Whatsapp, MSN, gTalk or similar apps)
  10. Others (Online shopping, Weather updates, Sports scores updates, Online betting, Health related, Financial apps, Similar apps)

Understanding Mobile Tasks is the Key to Creating UX

According to results from the same live survey used in my tutorial at Better Software East, things have changed in the last three years! Today, our top tasks are:

  1. Texting – read, write and respond
  2. Email – reading, responding and writing
  3. Phone call – calling, receiving, calling back, voicemail
  4. Social media – consuming and creating content (doing an update, and/or sharing photos)
  5. Surfing and searching for information, either via mobile app or via browser
  6. Using voice activation assistance
  7. Finding directions via maps
  8. Photos – taking, viewing and sharing

What was interesting about the live survey is that no one mentioned music. I find that fascinating since the iPhone is so integrated with iTunes and the music functionality was one of its first differentiators. This also shows how dependent the usability is based on the user profile. No one in my tutorials is younger than 25.

I’ve recently purchased an Android phone. Most of you who know me have seen me with my iPhone 6plus. I tried Android with the Samsung Galaxy S4 a while back and despised it. The increase in work I had to do for my most common tasks (mostly listed above) was about 20-40%.  For example, calling someone back took one extra click. One extra click doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you go from two clicks to three clicks, that’s a significant increase. In a future blog, I’ll look at each of my primary tasks and compare Android 5.1 on my One Plus Two phone versus my iPhone 6 plus. I’m excited about this usability test!