Teens and Tech – The Three Myths

Teens and Tech – The Three Myths

Recently we published our third edition of our report Teenagers on the Web where we conducted research with users age 13 to 17. I’d like to share three myths that we debunked during our research.

Myth #1:

Teenagers’ mobile proficiency transfers 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 at devices with touchscreens was not transferred to the 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 #2:

Teenagers only post on social media and play games. It’s no surprise that teenagers use mobile 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 and their mobile devices. When reviewing apps on several different teenagers’ phones, they had multiple apps related to school, work, and e-commerce. In fact, one participant from our studies shared that she often writes entire essays for school in the Google Docs app on her iPhone.

Myth #3:

Teenagers stay up-to-date with new devices and technology. Several teenagers from our study had devices that were multiple generations old. Additionally, 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 WiFi quite often. Additionally, when we tested augmented reality games with participants some of them had never even heard of AR let alone 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 simple. Second, show everything that needs to be shown, and keeps it concise. Third, and my favorite, don’t make it too complicated. So these are the myths about teens and tech – what do you think?

How are you going with your teens and tech?

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