“For the youth of 2010, cellular phones are more a lifestyle symbol for their pockets rather than plainly a communications device.”

According to a survey by iGR in July 2006, amongst 15–17-year-old teens, most are cellular phone users for two years or more. In the 12–14-year-old population, 50–70% of these teenagers are users of mobile phones.

The latest cellular gadgets used by our teen population are vastly loaded with media, ring tones, and photo applications. A majority of youngsters have made it a habit of carrying such phones with them 24/7. Two-thirds of the youngsters keep their phones switched on even while they sleep to make sure they don’t miss out on anything according to a recent research. A latest study conducted by Wired magazine revealed that teens who are deeply involved in the world of cellular phones take communication via a phone as the same to a face-to-face contact.

The young population is using their phones in a totally different manner compared to most adults. According to Mark Donovan, a leading analyst at the Seattle-based research firm M: Metrics, “For just about each category of a cell phone’s media gallery, 13–17-year-old teens are doing more things with their phones compared to an average phone consumer.” Multi tasking is universal for them; with more than 50% of the kids the study emphasized on said they’ve sent text messages from movie theaters, while one third of them have sent messages from the dinner table while eating meals. They are not using the OFF button very often.

Hans Geser published in his research paper namely “Pre-teen Cell Phone Adoption: Consequences for Later Patterns of Phone Usage and Involvement,” three chief styles in the adoption of mobile culture by our youth:

 

  1. Young adopters maintain their high levels of inbound and outbound mobile-device usage into later life, in addition to their bigger inactive accessibility for phone contact during nights.
  2. Young adopters have extended networks of dynamic phone buddies, even a decade after primary usage.
  3. People who had mobile devices in a young age view them as significantly growing their height of social engagement, as a result making them an indispensable part of their standard of living.

Don’t Miss Out on Predicting the Future

In view of the fact that youngsters are forerunner for the upcoming era of mobile gadget usage, they must be included as active contributors during user research or usability studies for mobile devices or applications. Think about conducting relative user research before inflowing into the design phase, then go for mobile usability studies in the relative field once your team members have formulated a working prototype. Screening gadget and application use for doing so will significantly boost your understanding of the efficacy and prospective implementation of the gadget or application you’re assessing. Consider a guerilla cellular phone device usability research as a method of evaluating participants within their public environments, satisfying the usability study principle of “observe, don’t inquire” in the farthest.

What we learned, observing youth during Our Field Studies?

How do teens actually utilize their mobile gadgets?

  1. Many teens who participated in our study possess more than one mobile device. So that if they’re not liking using one device, they might end up using the other. This shows that you need to design your applications for multiple tasks.
  2. Whereas for some teens specific features of an application are more important, this study offers more insights about the uptake from “like” to acceptance.
  3. Kids shape borders between mobile and the Web applications and are put on trial. As a result you might come across them trying to use your application in ways you hadn’t previously thought about.

How much influence do youngsters have in their gadget and application use from their peers?

  1. No doubt youth is greatly influenced by their peers. While they are alone, teens might give one opinion, but when grouped with friends, might express utterly dissimilar opinions based on their associate’s reactions.
  2. When with group friends, teens’ use of their mobile devices in a completely different way than they normally do in isolation.
  3. In some regional set ups, mobile device use is a joint activity— thus coming up with newer knowledgeable opportunities.
  4. Teens in various classes of society sometimes use their cellular devices in a different manner among their peers.

How Field Studies vary from conventional Usability Studies?

Working in a portable setting makes conducting a usability study more testing:

  1. Carrying on a specific task order, or workflow, can be more of a  difficult test—thus making it very difficult to put up quantitative outcome.
  2. Attaining end results of tasks might not be easy, because contributors’ substantial environments or societal circumstances can divert them or obstruct their attention.
  3. It is not easy to manage time properly. As a result it might not be possible to get the entire package of tasks completed in due time.
  4. Regulating the participants’ surroundings and lessen disruptions are more often the issues concerned.
  5. Recording situations and detaining the precise moment is even more difficult.
  6. Asking contributors to assume aloud needs more prompting.

However not being in command of the study set up can also pay for insights:

  1. You discover more about the usability of an application or gadget in its own natural area.
  2. You get facts about clients’ connection to a gadget or application in their every day lives, further than the range of a conventional usability learning.
  3. You achieve insight into how other people’s reactions can manipulate device or application use.
  4. You can do study that expands ahead of the range of a single contributor.

Following are a few things we discovered after doing mobile usability studies with a group of teens:

  1. Ensure that the target you ask partakers to complete seem sensible to them or that you engage them in the task-choosing practice.
  2. If you’re planning to take one-on-one meetings, make them as relaxed as achievable.
  3. Plan group sittings, with 2–3 kids. Their discussions with their peers usually disclose more than what they’ll let you know in isolation.
  4. During debriefing gatherings, don’t forget to ensure your contributors haven’t concealed their correct outlook, because they merely want to satisfy you or don’t want to be wide of the mark.

To summarize things:

“Conducting field researches should be component of your general mobile usability toolkit.”


Teens are in a stage of their lives when they are persistently intermingling publicly—while they are in institutions, at home, or with friends. The approach they put together to include mobile devices into their lives is an imperative element of their social status. Seeing the world outside the lab and stepping into the society might not be your chief target in the process of doing usability studies, but carrying out field studies should be an essential part of your overall mobile usability toolkit. In a nutshell, step out of the box, visit the teens’ world, and you will surely come across heaps of handy information that can help you invent great products young people are more likely to be interested in.