Whenever I see good or bad news about a specific app, I’m always curious to see how things will shake out in the long run. I immediately want to dive into the app usage data from Moment the next day, but it’s always better if I let it simmer for a month.
Here’s the latest question I’m tackling: Did Uber’s recent showings in the news (sexual harassment, ties to Trump administration, stealing secrets, CEO yelling at a driver, etc) hurt its business?
To answer this, I’m going to compare Uber’s app usage to its closest competitor, Lyft. I’m drawing a line in the sand when #BoycottUber started trending. I want to compare the time period before that (9/14/16 to 1/25/17), during (1/26/17 to 2/2/17), and after (2/3/17 to today).
Let’s start by taking a look at the apps’ daily usage numbers:
From that graph, I’m not seeing a big difference before, during, and after #BoycottUber. However, this graph doesn’t take into account how many people are using each app.
This one does:
Uber still has more users than Lyft, but Uber’s market share is shrinking and Lyft’s is increasing.
Here’s the specific data:
Over the course of the last 6 months, Uber’s active users have decreased 9.43%, taking a big 20.51% hit when #BoycottUber was trending. All of Uber’s negative press is completely stopping its growth and causing it to lose active users.
In the meantime, Lyft’s active users have increased 40.29%. Lyft is benefitting tremendously from Uber’s missteps.
My advice to Uber: stay out of the press for a while. Turns out not all press is good press.
Instagram introduced Stories on August 2nd, 2016. Basically, it’s a Snapchat clone with Instagram’s network behind it.
Because of the way I use Snapchat and Instagram, I thought this would mark the end of Snapchat. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Nothing has changed. Instagram Stories hasn’t affected Snapchat’s daily usage at all. The new feature hasn’t even affected how much Instagram gets used every day.
Snapchat is fine.
I noticed something interesting that confirms that social networks are a zero-sum game. Take a look at the past week: Every day Snapchat get used more, Instagram takes a dip. Every day Instagram is used more, Snapchat takes a dip. The swing is never more than 5 minutes either way, but it’s a big difference when you’re talking about thousands of data points from Moment’s app tracking.
Huge Overlap Between Snapchat and Instagram
Snapchat has a huge overlap with Instagram users. 80.4% of Snapchat users also use Instagram. No wonder they affect each other so much.
Inspired by Apple’s own “your phone is ruining your life” motivation behind creating the Apple Watch, I dove into the phone use data collected anonymously in Moment to see if the Apple Watch affected how often people are picking up their iPhones. I knew Moment was in the unique position to actually prove if the Apple Watch helped people use their phones less and see if Apple accomplished their goal.
Before the Apple Watch came out, my gut instinct was telling me that the Apple Watch would make the problem worse. How could strapping a screen to your wrist — where a text or SnapChat could literally shake you awake — help someone’s constant craving to be connected? I thought if you got a buzz on your wrist, you’d see the notification and immediately dive into the digital glow of your iPhone screen.
At least pulling your phone out of your pocket to check a notification offered some friction. The Apple Watch is frictionless.
Everyone vs. Watchers
To establish a baseline, here are the averages across every person using Moment. Before the Apple Watch shipped April 24th, that average was 132 minutes with 48 pickups. After the 24th, the average is 137 minutes with 49 pickups, so it’s gone up a little in the past month.
To compare, I separated the people that used Moment’s Apple Watch app that was installed when you first set up your Apple Watch. I only included a person if they used Moment for a couple weeks before they got the Watch and for a couple weeks after they got the Watch. I call this group the watchers.
Pre-Watch, the average watcher used their phone for 145 minutes a day with 54 pickups. Post-Watch, the average dropped slightly to 141 minutes a day with 51 pickups.
Despite the upward trend for the baseline group, the average dropped for the watchers after getting the Apple Watch, but not by much.
That’s not the interesting part though.
The slight majority of the Watchers, about 60%, actually saw a huge decline in their phone use after the Watch. Those checkers saw their iPhone use go down an average of 20 minutes a day after they got their Apple Watch. They also picked up their iPhone 9 fewer times each day.
Checkers and Perusers
I have a theory that there are two types of iPhone users: the checkers and the perusers. The checkers are the people who are constantly picking up their phone to quickly check something, mostly their notifications. Checkers are the ones who leave their phone out at the dinner table, face up, to instantly see if their phone lights up.
Perusers are the one’s who use their iPhone for longer periods of time to occupy their mind and to fend off boredom. Five minutes in line at the grocery store, fifteen minutes checking Twitter at lunch. Perusers pick up their phone less often, but use it for a longer period each time they unlock their iPhone.
In my case, I’m a peruser. I check Twitter and my RSS reader when I need a break from work or after 5 PM when I’m relaxing on the couch. I have all of my notifications turned off, except for texts and phone calls, so I’m rarely prompted by a notification to pick up my iPhone.
My wife is a checker. She has all of her notifications turned on, so she’s instantly notified when she gets an email or when someone comments on her Facebook photo. She’s always flipping her iPhone face down at dinner so she’s not tempted to look at the screen that just started glowing.
My wife and I use our phone for about the same amount of time each day (90 minutes), but she’ll pick it up 70 times and I’ll only pick it up 25.
The data from Moment seems to support this too, although not perfectly. The # of minutes is normally distributed, but the # of pickups isn’t. There’s a little peak at the start and a little peak at the end, with a dip in the middle.
Applying this thinking to the Apple Watch, it makes sense that the checkers would benefit most from the Watch. They can quickly see their notifications and move on without touching their iPhone.
It’s only been a little over a month since the Apple Watch came out and it’s already changing people’s relationship with their iPhone. I call that is a huge success for the Apple Watch. I did not expect it to make such a difference, but maybe that’s the peruser in me talking.
Notes about the Data
The baseline averages were calculated from 1.8 billion minutes of phone use and 500 million pickups. There were 206 people who were included in the watchers group, with 6.8 million minutes and 1.9 million pickups.
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. I’m doing something little to support their cause in a way only an Apple nerd could:
The big minute count has been a part of Moment since day one. I want the focus to be on how much you’ve used your phone today. Staying conscious of one simple statistic about your phone use.
How do I improve my One Big Number today?
I made it One Big Number because it looks sexy on a screen. I was inspired by Nicholas Felton and (embarassingly) all of the dashboard mockups on Dribbble. It is the prettiest way to design that stat, but it certainly isn’t the most useful.
I used to have a number of people write in each day asking for a breakdown into hours and minutes. My arrogant response was “If the number is too big to do the math in your head, you’re probably on your phone way too much.”
Then I did some calculating and it turns on the average time people spend on their phone each day is 101 minutes. I thought to myself, “Hm. What is 101 minutes in hours? Subtract 60 and… Oh. I should be doing this math for people in the app. I can’t even do it in my head for the average!”
Seeing “1 hour and 41 minutes” has a much bigger impact than “101 minutes.” It helps you realize what else you could have done with hours of your time. It puts things in perspective, especially as that number goes up. “300 minutes” doesn’t seem that bad, but “5 hours”… Woah!
On a half-baked whim, I changed the label underneath the big number to break down the hours/minutes when you were over 90 minutes.
I knew I needed something better.
My first obvious step was to break down the big number into the hour and minutes part, and label them appropriately. This didn’t quite fit into my One Big Number idea and there was too much focus on the “hour” and “min.”
I tried making the units smaller, so the focus was on the numbers. This was close to making the final cut, but it is too wordy. It made my precious One Big Number too small.
How about I make it look like a clock? A digital clock, like the one your your iPhone’s lock screen, shows hours and minutes perfectly.
This looked great, but what led me to try this was ultimately its own downfall: This just looks too much like a clock.
Plus is the “1” and hour, or a minute. Is it 1 minute and 41 seconds?
I tried to make it clear that the “1” was the hour slot, followed by minutes and seconds. For the most part, Moment is accurate to the second, but I’ve chosen not to show that data. The exact # of seconds you use your phone isn’t important.
And this one looked too much like a stopwatch.
I went back to my first try and abbreviated the hour/minute unit labels to “h” and “m.” This saved me 7 characters (including the spaces between “1” and “hour.”)
But again, there wasn’t enough focus on your actual numbers.
So I made the unit labels smaller. This is actually the solution I went with for a while, but something about the lowercase letters bugged me.
I bumped up the case for the “H” and “M” and it’s perfect. You can easily glance and see the 1 and 41 sticking out. It also works in the list of your past days.
1 hour and 41 minutes. Whew, that’s a lot of time spent with this glowing rectangle.
Overall, it took me a few revisions and a couple hours, but I’m happy with the outcome. I’m using this time breakdown everywhere in the app: the main screen, the timeline, the Today widget, and the Apple Watch app.
Edge Case Note: I keep the minutes place there, even if you have an even amount of hours, like 60 minutes or “1H.” If I don’t display that as “1H 0M,” your muscle memory and experience might see a short “1H” and just “1M.” The hours are always the leftmost number, and minutes are to the right of that.
I didn’t do the same if you’re under an hour, say “35M.” I want that number to appear smaller, and shaving the hours off the front makes that to happen.