Academic journal article Journal of International Technology and Information Management

Comparing Mobile APPs Usability Characteristics for Designers and Users

Academic journal article Journal of International Technology and Information Management

Comparing Mobile APPs Usability Characteristics for Designers and Users

Article excerpt


As the mobile device market grows, so grows the commercial market and therefore the subsequent development of applications for this medium. As this rush to develop apps continues to grow, the search continues for what characteristics will help mobile apps be adopted and continued to be used. This exploratory study looks to see if there are differences between how users of mobile applications and developers of mobile applications perceive these characteristics. The results of our study identified areas of statistically significant differences on key design characteristics between mobile application designers with mobile applications users. More interestingly, a detailed analysis found that there is likely disagreement in the consensus by the two groups concerning the characteristics' priority. The implications of this disagreement are an important factor for the development of new mobile applications.

Keywords: Mobile, APP, commercial markets, usability


The mobile device market has become a significant consumer market targeted by major corporations and entrepreneurs. Market research by IDC predicts a worldwide market of 79.6 billion downloads of apps for 2015 (Khalaf, 2014). A recent survey on mobile devices shows that 90% of American adults have a cell phone, while 58% of them own a smartphone and 42 % own a tablet computer (Pew Research Center, 2014). In 2013, there were over 800,000 mobile apps in the Apple Store [R], but only 80 of them produced more than one million in a year. App development companies are dominating the development of mobile apps as they command about 98% of the new applications marketed (Rubin, 2013). This availability and commercial desire to reach users through smartphones is directly associated with the higher number of mobile application developed by companies.

This line of thinking produces the following questions: Is there a difference between how users and designers perceive a mobile app? Is there a difference between what causes you to acquire, to use, and to continue to use an application? One would suspect that users are more focused on the utility and productivity side while designers may focus on the technical side of the applications creation. Also, one could envision differences in what would cause a designer and what would cause a user to change or discontinue usage of an app. We see from the growth numbers, that the higher potential for growth resides with the user perspective. Therefore the focus of this study is to investigate differences between users and designers that may occur as mobile applications in are envisioned, designed, and coded.

The research paper provides a short literature review discussing the generic differences found between users and designers. An exploratory survey is designed and implemented across two subject groups; one from a representative user environment and the second from a representative designer environment. The methodology used to collect data and organize the findings is discussed. Finally, conclusions drawn from the data are used to provide insight to the questions raised originally.

Designers versus users' perceptions on products

One of the biggest questions in designing a successful business product of any sort is to find and encode value into it. Drucker (1985) offers a classic discussion of quality [value] as perceived by suppliers and by customers. His base position is that customers pay for what gives them value and company's search to understand value with respect to the targeted users, not just the designers. The determination of a product's value comes from the user.

A similar example can be found in communication theory, where the sender-receiver model sets up the discussion around the meaning of a message. The meaning, in this case the value, would only exist if the message engages the receiver and is found to be effective by the receiver (Mosaic, 2014). …

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