User behavioural changes when using mobile applications

User behavioural changes when using mobile applications

The smartphone market has been increasing in its popularity with worldwide users–and there’s no signs of it stopping any time soon. In fact, eMarketer has published in its report: “Worldwide Mobile Phone Users: H1 2014 Forecast and Comparative Estimates” that  mobile phone penetration will increase from 61 percent to 69 percent between 2013 and 2017, with the main players in Middle East, Asia, and Africa driving these markets forward.

Smartphone applications have also grown alongside these technological developments. Today, mobile apps have made the mobile phone more computationally powerful and effective than ever before. In the past, they were only used as reminders and organisers, but they have evolved into a means to entertainment, productivity and even as a catalyst and motivator for behavioural changes.

According to Flurry’s five-year report on the mobile industry, the time used up by the average user on mobile applications takes around 2 hours and 19 minutes per day, while the time spent on mobile web has gone down to a mere 22 minutes per day.


Interestingly, women’s monthly app usage was 30 hours and 58 minutes, while men took an average of 29 hours and 32 minutes. That’s around 89 percent of their combined time alone. Meanwhile mobile web usage for men and women only took an average of around 4 hours.

The most number of hours spent using mobile phones are game apps, taking in 32 percent. Social and messaging applications like Facebook increased from 24 percent to 28 percent, while entertainment (such as Youtube) maintained its figures to 8 percent. Interestingly, productivity apps have doubled in their number of hours spent, going from to 2 percent to 4 percent in 2014.


Nearly 80 percent of all users are getting more and more attached to their phones: 4 out of 5 smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up.


Mobile applications are becoming more and more adept in understanding and supporting behaviours that allow for a healthier and balanced lifestyle.

Not surprisingly, many adults are interested in downloading user-behaviour applications that can aid and support them in their health-related goals. For example, there are literally thousands upon thousands of apps that help manage stress, follow a diet, uplift moods, and even quit addictions (smoking, overeating). These health-related apps teach, inform, advice, support, and encourage individuals to embrace a healthier and safer lifestyle.

This growing need for user-behaviour apps is not surprising, since mobile phones can be good platforms for behavioural change:

  1. They can easily be carried around, and are easily accessible any time of the day. This allows anyone to use the apps whenever they need it, no matter what time of day.
  2. They are cheaper and more convenient, since applications are inside the smart phone already.
  3. They are highly capable of sharing data with others, allowing health care practitioners and doctors to review patient data while conversing with patients over the phone.
  4. They have internal sensors (like GPS) that can be a valuable tool for patients who suffer from repeated attacks and unconsciousness, such as those who have epilepsies, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or even allergies.
  5. They are easy to use. Just a few clicks on the button, and they can download applications regardless of what brand their smart phones are.



Users can be quite fickle, and unpleasant mobile app experiences can make them change their minds easily and choose another application. The best way to make their experience as pleasant as possible is to consistently focus on providing these features:


Crashes and stability issues can be irritating to users, so apps should be bug / virus free.



Usability / Convenience

The more user-friendly, intuitive, and simple an app is, the better. Remember that people don’t have a lot of time on their hands, so apps that allow them to save time and effort will be well-received.


The more an app fulfils what it sets out to do, the better.


Visual appeal, although not as important as the ones listed above, is also needed to satisfy user expectations. Apps that provide a sense of balance and aesthetics, can be the deciding factor when choosing from amongst the many apps that are available in the market today.

Responsiveness / Speed

Speed matters to users, and this applies to all kinds of interfaces–not just mobile phones.




For User Behaviour Apps, these features are ranked as important in creating a pleasant mobile user experience:

  • Clear at what it does and doesn’t.
  • Using the app will not allow other functions of the smartphone to be affected.
  • Private and discrete.
  • Reliable and accurate, with tracking capabilities.
  • Creates alerts and reminders, with easy setup.
  • Gives direct feedback and practical advice on how to transform their behavior.
  • Allows users to set and monitor goals.
  • Created by highly-credible and legitimate developers.
  • Low cost and less effort when downloading and setting the application up.
  • Stimulating and motivating enough to sustain one’s interest for a long time.
  • Visually appealing to the senses, whenever possible.


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