Consume - Android app

Consume was part of my University final project, to help users understand their smartphone and tablet app usage. Features of the app:

  • The app is free and has no advertising.
  • Quickly and easily understand what apps you are using the most over the last 7 days.
  • Measure how many times you have opened an app, when it was last opened, and how long you have used the app for.
  • See how long you have used your device over the course of the day/week.
  • Export your usage data to CSV and JSON.
  • Export your application data for installed/system/all apps to JSON.
Consume app
Consume app for Android

About the project

Technology is deeply involved in modern day society to the extent that we are becoming increasingly dependent on it in both our personal and working lives.

We are spending more time using technology, however it is important that to understand why we are using it for longer, its effect on our health (both physically and mentally), and the impact this may have on our lives.

Mobile addiction can be considered a form of psychological dependency to not only smartphones, but other kinds of technologies. Some of the behaviours shown in mobile addicts were similar to those affected by other addictions such as gambling and drug/substance abuse, however due to this addiction being of a non-chemical nature, it is categorised as a behavioural addiction.

In certain countries, mobile addiction has become a growing concern, that governments have started making changes in the efforts to reduce its effects on citizens, with countries like South Korea opening web addiction treatment clinics, France banning mobile phones in classrooms, now that children as young as three are affected.

Objective

The aim is to understand how people use their smartphones and tablets, why are certain apps more addictive then others, and how technology has changed over the years to become what it is today.

The goal is not to solve the root causes of mobile addiction, or to diagnose dependent users to having an issue, but to help them make sense of their usage and to measure time spent on their technology.

After providing the user with their data, it is down to them to act upon the results, should they choose to do so.

Findings from data collection

To measure how people use their device, usage data was collected (in the background) by the app from consenting participants for a period of 29 days. During that time, 75 days’ worth of data was collected from participants (n=3). Data was collected between dates, 19th March – 17th April 2018. There were six active app users, three whom chose to remain participants, and others opting-out. Participants collectively spent 501.24 hours using 117 different apps.

The following outlines some of the data collection findings:

  • Apps were opened a total 22,698 times
  • Data showed that participants used their device the most between 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM, followed by midday, then the early hours of morning ~5:00 AM.
  • Participants used their device the most during weekends, with usage on Monday and Tuesday still high.
  • Participants check their device an average of 156 times per day (6.64 hours usage), and 206 on weekends (7.66 hours).
  • On a given day, participants opened apps on average 308 times, reaching 337 on weekends.
  • Participants averaged 23 opens on Social Media apps.
  • Participants are expected to spend on average 27% of the year on their device, with more dependent spending over 33%.

Project status

I have decided to stop supporting this project for the following reasons:

  1. Lack of users.
  2. A couple of months after publishing this app, Google developed Digital Wellbeing which offers more features and is more accurate than this app. They have also made their app more effective by using API’s that are not available to the public, which feels like an unfair advantage.

App has been unpublished from the Google Play store as it is no longer being supported. I would like to thank the users who consented to data collection, and those who took part during the questionnaire.