Understanding and Supporting Mobile Application Usage

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Abstract (Dissertation defense talk) In recent years mobile phones have evolved significantly. While the very first cellular phones only provided functionality for conducting phone calls, smartphones nowadays provide a rich variety of functionalities. Additional hardware capabilities like new sensors (e.g. for location) and touch screens as new input devices gave rise to new use cases for mobile phones, such as navigation support, taking pictures or making payments. Mobile phones not only evolved with regard to technology, they also became ubiquitous and pervasive in people’s daily lives by becoming capable of supporting them in various tasks. Eventually, the advent of mobile application stores for the distribution of mobile software enabled the end-users themselves to functionally customize their mobile phones for their personal purposes and needs. So far, little is known about how people make use of the large variety of applications that are available. Thus, little support exists for end-users to make effective and efficient use of their smartphones given the huge numbers of applications that are available. This dissertation is motivated by the evolution of mobile phones from mere communication devices to multi-functional tool sets, and the challenges that have arisen as a result. The goal of this thesis is to contribute systems that support the use of mobile applications and to ground these systems’ designs in an understanding of user behavior gained through empirical observations. The contribution of this dissertation is twofold: First, this work aims to understand how people make use of, organize, discover and multitask between the various functionalities that are available for their smartphones. Findings are based on observations of user behavior by conducting studies in the wild. Second, this work aims to assist people in leveraging their smartphones and the functionality that is available in a more effective and efficient way. This results in tools and improved user interfaces for end-users. Given that the number of available applications for smartphones is rapidly increasing, it is crucial to understand how people make use of such applications to support smartphone use in everyday life with better designs for smartphone user interfaces.

Text of Understanding and Supporting Mobile Application Usage

  • Understanding and Supporting Mobile Application Usage Matthias Bhmer Dissertation Defense Talk September 6, 2013 Saarland University Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology I Saarbrcken Graduate School of Computer Science
  • Housekeeping Apps Launching Apps Introduction Multitasking between Apps Discovery of Apps Conclusion
  • Housekeeping Apps Launching Apps Introduction Multitasking between Apps Discovery of Apps Conclusion
  • 1983
  • Evolution
  • Today - Hardware changed - Connectivity improved - Apps arose
  • Growth of Mobile Ecosystem 1.1.3 The Age of Application Stores 7 0 100,000 200,000 300,000 400,000 500,000 600,000 700,000 800,000 900,000 1,000,000 Jun-08 Nov-08 Apr-09 Sep-09 Feb-10 Jul-10 Dec-10 May-11 Oct-11 Mar-12 Aug-12 Jan-13 Apple AppStore Google Play Market Figure 1.3: Number of applications available per application stores between June 2008 to June 2013.14 providers to develop, market and distribute their applications [7], and for end-users such platforms provide a convenient way to access applications since the end-users do not have to handle any technical details [124]. While the customization of a phones look and feel and audio proles was a very important feature of rst mo- bile phones [109], being able to also customize phones functionality in terms of applications also became increasingly important [17]. As such, the most important Available Applications - Number of available mobile apps is increasing - Number of app downloads is growing rapidly - Daily time spent with apps also increases 7
  • Research Question How do people use apps on their smartphones, and how can we design systems to support people in making eective and ecient use of apps? 8 EngineeringTheory Methods Launching Housekeeping Discovering Multitasking
  • Housekeeping Apps Launching Apps Introduction Multitasking between Apps Discovery of Apps Conclusion
  • Launching Housekeeping Discovering Multitasking How do people utilize the apps they have installed?
  • Related Work Numberofusers Number of apps Verkasalo, 2009 Froehlich et al., 2007 Demumieux and Losquin, 2005 this work StudyDuration 11 Do et al., 2011 Falaki et al., 2010 0 0 research in the large 4,000 22,000
  • App Lifecycle being used not being used closeopen install uninstall update 12
  • AppSensor: Tracing App Usage who wherewhen how longwhich app A
  • Data from Deployment - 4,125 users from various countries - 22,626 apps from 20 categories - 4.92 million data points - 127 days 14
  • During Course of a Day - App usage correlates with circadian circle - Type of apps used changes during the day 25,000 50,000 75,000 100,000 125,000 150,000 175,000 200,000 12am 2am 4am 6am 8am 10am 12pm 2pm 4pm 6pm 8pm 10pm Applicationlaunches 15
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  • Support for App Launching 17 - Adaptive launcher menu - Support visual search for apps - Presenting 5 icons for next app - Implements dierent models - Sequentially used apps - Prediction model - Locally most used apps - Most recently used apps - Most frequently used apps - Application AppKicker - Extension as a widget - Deployed on app store - 53,000 installations
  • Housekeeping Apps Launching Apps Introduction Multitasking between Apps Discovery of Apps Conclusion
  • g Housekeeping Discovering Multitasking How do people organize applications on their phones?
  • - Barreau and Nardi, 1995; Ravasio et al., 2004 - Studies on le organization on stationary computers - People dedicate screen areas to dierent purposes - People cluster documents by their types - Shipman et al., 1995 - People create implicit structures when manipulating layouts - Ziee and Bay, 2004 - People built mental models of their phone menus - Hkkil and Chateld, 2006 - Customization is a way of personalizing devices - Stages: (1st) alter look-and-feel, (2nd) customize functionality, (3rd) change complicated settings Related Work Ravasio et al. 2004 20 2.3.1 General Mobile Phone Use participants were active users of mobile phones, and over 90% had had two or more phones in active use during the last year. The respondents consisted of 42 males (70%) and 18 females (30%), and were predominately in their 20s (30%) and 30s (55%). The time participants had used their current (new) mobile phone was mostly between two weeks and a month (43%), or from one to two months (45%). The participants were predominately Finnish. The study consisted of an online survey, which the participants filled out anonymously. The survey consisted both multiple-choice and free text questions. The following mobile phone customisation items were investigated: - Background image (wall paper) - Ringing tone - Message alert tone - Screen saver - UI Theme (UI skin) - Audio profiles - Specified a ringing tone for certain contacts - Alarm clock tone - Speech commands - Adding photo to a phonebook contact - Defining fast dial numbers - Reorganising menu items - Soft key shortcuts - Active idle shortcuts - Screen brightness - Screen backlight off timer - Automatic keylock In addition, we also investigated the editing of access point and email settings, although these are typically not considered as personalisation items. Figure 1 illustrates some of these personalisable elements of the Nokia Series 60 mobile phone. Figure 1. Personalisation elements on the idle mode screen. RESULTS Intensity of Customisation A primary motivation of this survey was to examine how and when users personalise their mobile phones. We asked (a) By Hkkil and Chateld [109] 3.1.1. Content Users can pers applications fro users add capa Some applicati the user, but m to personalise t Table 1. Items Personalisation it Content Installed apps Interface Moved apps o Moved apps o 1st & subseque Ringtones Physical/appeara iPhone case Lockscreen im Figure 1. iPhon 4 Figure 2.1: Personalization elements o lated work. Hkkil & Chateld, 2006
  • Quantitative data, e.g. - number of app