Taking time to know your audience

Rob Borley
by
on 13 December 2011

A recent post that arose from of some work that we have been doing with a local college proved to cause quite a bit of interest. Having had some time to digest the raw stats, as well as seeing some of the feedback in the comments, I thought that I would take the opportunity to try and offer some explanation for the stats that we observed. This needs to come with a warning. It is, of course, very difficult to draw definitive conclusions from such a small data set. However, I feel like this is a strong enough example of behavior by demographic that it’s worth taken that risk.

The colleges student population is made up of individuals of all ages. However, they are predominantly 16-18 years of age. This is important for two reasons:

  1. Under 18’s cannot take out a mobile phone contract without the aid of a guarantor.
  2. Students will only have, at most, a part time job.

Together, this means that top of the range devices are out of their reach. As they can’t take out a contract, the latest iPhone, for example,  would cost in the region of £700.00 Therefore, this group of users is restricted to the less expensive devices on PAYG deals.
This information explains the high proportion of Blackberry and Android devices that show up on the stats as well as iPhone being top of the aspirational list. This may change in the coming months with the apparent decline of RIM, the predicted rise of Windows Phone, and the decision by Apple to release older versions of the iPhone to the budget market. This is an ever changing landscape.

Now let us look at the apparently conflicting stats that come from those accessing the website and the devices owned by students.  Around 70% of all hits to the college website, via mobile devices, come from iOS devices. However, only 11.5% of the student population own such devices. This clearly points to the suggestion that it is not the students who are access the college site.

This is important information when developing a mobile strategy. It seems that the website, in the main, is being accessed, not by current students, but by prospective students. Or more specifically; their parents. Remember, under 18’s are unlikely to own iPhones but their parents, on higher incomes and able to take our contracts, are more likely to be iPhone users.

This distinction in user base is helpful. It is obvious that currant students and prospective students not only have different needs but are operating within different contexts. We can now develop a two string mobile strategy.

  1. Web based presence for prospective students  and their parents.
  2. Web or App based approach for current student engagement.

These stats alone do not offer enough information to decide if a Native app, web app, or mobile site is the correct approach for current students. There are a number of factors to consider including a full understanding of the problems to be solved and the available budget. However, this brief insight does highlight that there is more to a mobile strategy that developing an iPhone app. In this case an iPhone app would be a waste of time and money. When considering the development of your mobile strategy ensure that you have set aside sufficient resources to undertake the necessary research and planning phase and not simple dive straight into the development of that shiny new app.

Subscribe

Subscribe to our newsletter for free advice delivered to your inbox on a fortnightly basis.

Related articles

dootrix code review

Behaviour Driven Development. A better Agile?

Or just a natural next step in the right direction? [NB: this article by our Technical Director Kevin Smith, assumes that you are familiar with Agile software development methodologies] Over […]

DeathStar

Boiling Frogs can’t build Death Stars.

The technological environment is now moving too quickly for us to take years building big solutions. If we try we’ll get blown up. Recently we came across an excellent think-piece […]

Evan Doll. pic by Nick Hand / Do Lectures

The rising importance of great curators.

Why they matter and my personal pick of the best. In his Do Lectures’ talk — How to conquer information overload — Evan Doll, the founder of Flipboard, names his favourite curator as his late […]

ferrari 250 GTO

It’s not good enough to make something work well, it has to work beautifully.

Left brain, right brain and purpose. When brain sides collide. We deliberately talk about using both sides of the brain because, although the jury is out on the neurology behind the […]

DSC_4702

Engineering great engineers – how to grow young talent through apprenticeships

I once read somewhere that people often miss great opportunities because they’re disguised in blue overalls and look like work. I have found this to be true time and time […]

project tango

Google Project Tango Workshop

One of the benefits of being a developer is that you encounter emerging technologies. A recent example is Google’s Project Tango, which I had the opportunity to play with at […]

SkyNetCore

Graph Theory CodinGame puzzle walkthrough – SkyNet: The Virus

This teaser will demonstrate the nature of tackling one of the Medium and Hard puzzles at CodinGame, and in particular the thought process used to come up with a solution. […]

CodinGame

Coding for fun with CodinGame

CodinGame is a site that gamifies programming in a very literal way. Writing code is the game. Users try solo programming puzzles, writing A.I. robots to compete against others, or […]

Networking

How to build a genuine network

Over the past 5 years a number of key relationships have helped Dootrix along the way. It’s clear that what you know is very important. However, who you know and […]