You are what you download
Hugh Bishop, Chairman
Few things are more pervasive and personal than our mobile phones: they go with us everywhere, enabling, enhancing and recording human transactions of every kind. Yet, despite the fact that there are billions of smartphone users around the world, no two home screens are the same.
In fact, we can learn a lot about people – behaviour, lifestyle, interests, character – simply by looking at the apps on their home screens and how these are organised.
That’s because every user can craft his or her own unique mobile experience. Services are handpicked, folders curated, apps filed carefully (or at random), notifications selected, and screens artfully set out like canvases, all tailored for individual needs. So each user creates a mobile signature or archetype – you might call it a ‘Mobitype’.
Using #Homescreen, we can compare and analyse real mobile screens as submitted by site users. Like a mirror to the soul, these colourful, patterned arrays reflect who their users are.
Home is where the heart is
We recently carried out an informal visual ethnography experiment in which we cross-matched thousands of home screens to reveal key personality traits.
From this, we were able to develop specific Mobitypes: Matt the Doer, efficient and functional, with his task lists, settings and reminders; Quinn the Dreamer, his screen cluttered and unstructured, full of unanswered messages, with swirling wallpaper for inspiration; Maria the Publisher, who follows the news and is constantly discovering new things, expressing herself via heavy use of Twitter, Vine and other social apps.
Our research also revealed user intentions or purpose, when the most-used apps in a particular category aligned with key moments along the customer journey.
There were, for example, moments of awareness – the learning and discovery phase; moments of consideration, in search and research; moments of conversion and action, reflected in making payments; moments of engagement, when the phone was used to enhance experiences; and, of course, moments of advocacy, when users shared and endorsed.
How Mobitypes help build brands
To our customer moments and intentions, we also added Mobitypes based on life milestones. People moving home will download and over-use StreetEasy and Zoopla, pregnant mums have weight calculators, people getting married have gift-registry apps, and so on.
So now we can build even richer Mobitype profiles: the Researcher, the Go-Getter, the Networker, the Optimiser.
All these new Mobitypes have helped us conceive, design and build more effective digital services for brands like Michelin, Commerzbank AG, IHOP, Vauxhall and more.
Understanding customers’ home screens offers a powerful way to determine when they’re open to engage with – and mobilising the Mobitypes can help brands create content for the parts of the journey customers like the most.
So, a parting thought: get to know your Mobitypes and you can exceed customer expectations on mobile and other channels too.