Recently, we published our third edition of our report, “Teenagers on the Web”, where we conducted research with users aged 13 to 17. I would like to share three myths that we debunked during our research.
Myth number one, teenagers’ mobile proficiency transfer across all devices. In general, teenagers seem quite effective on their mobile devices, though they still make some mistakes. However, on desktop efficiency seems to decrease. Several of our study participants noted that they only use desktop computers at school. Therefore, much of their exposure to technology is via their mobile device. Their efficiency on devices with touch screens was not transferred to desktop. It’s almost a paradox. Teenagers typing skills on mobile were often much better than on desktop. This behavior can also be seen on scrolling with mobile versus on desktop.
Myth number two, teenagers only post on social media and play games. It’s no surprise that teenagers use phones for entertainment purposes. Even us old folks do that. However, it is an overstatement to say that entertainment is the only use case for teenagers in their mobile devices. When reviewing apps on several teenagers’ phones, they had multiple apps related to school work and e-commerce. In fact, one participant from our study shared that she often writes entire essays for school and the Google Docs app on her iPhone.
Myth number three, teenagers stay up to date with new devices and technology. Several teenagers from our study had devices than the old generations.
Many users had defective devices, such as a broken screen or a broken home button. A few participants also said that they have limited data and rely on Wi-Fi quite often. In fact, when we tested augmented reality games with participants, some of them had never even heard of nor interacted with it. Now that we’ve busted some myths, I’d like to leave you with three pieces of web design advice directly from the teens themselves.
First, make instructions clear and the idea behind it is simple. Second, show everything that needs to be shown and keep it concise. Third, and my favorite, don’t make it too complicated.