Portrait of mobile user

The Portrait of Modern Users: How Mobile Apps Users Have Changed and What They Need Today

At the dawn of the emergence of apps people treated them as the miracles of technology, and now users take apps for granted and impose higher and new requirements to them. We all involved with our smartphones full of apps so much that there is about to appear a new profession of guiding hands. Indeed, mobile user behaviour has changed. Let's see how.

They expect live interactive elements

Burger Menu

Users don't like to get bored with statical screen. To attract the user attention and interest the element should move. Buttons, fields, icons of modern apps rotate, flash, spring out of nowhere to provide certain information. As a rule this information belongs to one of these types:

  • Explanation of a movement the user made,
  • Tip on the following step,
  • Specifying whether an action is complete or not.

Thus designers lead the user through the app helping to create an interaction according to the needed scenario.

They look forward to personalization


The greatest salespeople know a lot about psychological techniques of effective communication with customers that help to inspire trust and sympathy, notably the power of using the first name of a person. It's scientifically proven fact that the brain has unique functioning activation when hearing one's own name.

Personalization today is normal for users. Moreover, they expect that the apps which they interacted with will use the provided personal information in this or that order to make the life easier. For example, Amazon suggests items on the app's home screen to the user depending on the shopping history.

They are hoping for simplified authentication and registration

Authentication and registration

Many web services and apps require to register for making full use of them. Filling in the long form, waiting for an email letter, typing the code camouflaged in the best tradition - this process severely tries customers' patience, especially considering mobile usability.

And here's the weird part: on the one hand, users want to get access to web services or apps and enter their personal information hopefully that this info won't fall into the wrong hands, on the other hand, registration with all safety precautions is seen as an unfortunate obstacle.

How do developers get out of it? Some apps offer registration via a social media account, some of them use one-time passwords with captcha, some look forward to facial and voice recognition technologies.

They want to protect their data

Data Protection

The world has changed. Most of people have an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Businesses have websites and local networks. Even Granny can google the embroidery scheme she liked. The progress made us dependant on information as well as vulnerable to hack attacks and informational leaks.

The World Wide Web, an integral part of global life, constitutes a threat to personal or business data security and users realize it and want to be protected while using your app.

They want data synchronization

Data synchronization

Users value their time and comfort. Let's say a user has a computer in the office, a computer at home, a laptop and a smartphone. And he wants to continue working wherever he is from the point where he left off without copying. Google and Apple have done much to make customer experience of interacting with their devices as comfortable as possible - one account for access to services or cloud storage which allows a user to get emails, messages, notification immediately on all devices.

However, there is still no list of installed apps, no synchronization of settings to speak of as every device is a thing in itself which may have access to one data cloud. The next year will probably bring new solutions as for data synchronization in web and mobile application development.

They expect from apps to anticipate desires

Anticipate desires

A couple of years ago the mapping app by Google for mobile devices in version 9.19 had learned to figure out the assumed destination using location history and web searches. Today a mobile keypad can analyse typed texts and subsequently offer suggestion on the following word. Apple Watch constantly monitors and analyses your moves and heartbeat in various situations and physical activity and can precisely predict when you wake up in the morning, when to stream your favorite songs or when to remind you about workout. No sorcery, just technological progress.

Thanks to machine learning, mobile apps will continue improving to adapt to a user with each passing year. However, mobile software is not self-learning yet because of insufficient processing power of mobile devices. And still, machine learning in mobile apps is near future and experts believe that this innovative technology will dominate the IT market soon.

They want to tap, swipe, drag and pinch

Pinch to filter

The only way to interact with first mobile phones was pressing buttons. But that was about 10 years ago. Clicks on buttons turned into tapping and then evolved into gesture. Gesture control feels like natural and intuitive as it fits with the way we interact with the real objects. For instance, when we want to get something out of sight we swipe it.

Besides, with gesture control and less number of buttons mobile app developers get more space for displaying valuable content and improving mobile app usability. According to gesture study by Dan Mauney people try to use similar gestures for performing certain actions on their smartphone screens regardless of country they live in, culture they have or mobile device they use.

They like voice control

Voice control

In the first decades of phone service to make a call, it was necessary to tell the telephone operator the number of the desired subscriber and she connected you. Then this process was automated and voice control has returned to us in the form of speech recognition and all sorts of voice assistants like Siri or Cortana.

Starting from 2016 the popularity of voice control is on the rise, which is understandable - the possibility to interact with your mobile device bypassing interface is the highest degree of intuitivity, except for telepathy, of course. Statista shows that millennials (people aged between 18 and 35) are twice as likely to buy goods online using voice control then users aged 36.

Closing remarks

As can be seen, users become more demanding as technology evolves. They expect more adaptive, more personalized, more interactive, in sum, more user centred design. In order to eliminate the risk of being technologically excluded, choose app developers that keep up to date and take into account the changes that have happened to customers.