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How Do We Use Our Mobile Devices?

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What do you typically do when you pull out a smart gadget?  Do you play games, or do you go on Facebook? According to a 2013 study by Flurry Analytics, Americans spend on average 2 hours and 38 minutes glued to their smartphones and tablets. Only 31 minutes are used to browse the web. The rest of the time are spent on apps; thus, 80 percent of a mobile user’s time is spent on apps.  If we travelled back in time, an older generation would probably have guessed that people typically used their mobile phones for making telephone calls.

Actionable Interface

The word “smartphone” should really be an acronym: SSC.  That stands for small, smart computer.  That’s what we really carry in our pockets, and studies show we spend more time on apps than making calls.

Mobile audiences prefer to do things on their devices, and not simply browse the Web. Marketers are investing in apps that their audience would find useful. When it comes to mobile content, companies try to get users to “do things.”

When it comes to mobile devices, companies try to get visitors to convert by having them download an app, follow them on social media, or sign up for an email subscription. Great mobile sites get recurring interactions when visitors become regular consumers of the content.

Credit: Commons/Flickr

Credit: Commons/Flickr

Technological Shift

Before World War II, it was all about the radio.  Then television became the media staple for the baby boom generation.  Now, Americans are spending more time on digital media per day than they do with television, according to eMarketer. That’s a huge shift in platform.  Television is a one-way medium, while people can interact with smart devices.

Mobile isn’t the place for publishing a thesis paper, and it’s causing the decline of the long-form text.  And shorter attention spans are reflecting people’s preferences for instant gratification.

Mobile devices, such as smartphones, are interesting.  We need to stop referring to these gadgets as phones.  They are, but they’re not.

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About Marvin Dumont

Marvin Dumont covers news and trends for The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com and other outlets. He earned BA, BBA and MPA degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Inquiries: marvin.dumont@utexas.edu