If you lead or manage a product team the question to ask is not only, "Which online applications are people using on their phones/laptops during the lockdown?" but also "How are people changing how they use apps on their phones/laptops during the lockdown?" At Poocho, this is exactly what we set out to discover!
We selected 14 people from a pool of 83 survey respondents to participate in an in-depth month-long study on daily tech habits, preferences, and challenges during the lockdown in India. 194 hours of research, 163 photographs and 147 audio testimonials later we can confidently say that we have a pretty good handle on how applications are being used, repurposed and incorporated into the new "normal" that has come to define the last year and a half. For example, this is what Shefali*, a 24-year-old participant, had to say about WFH and WhatsApp:
"I mostly use Gmail and WhatsApp… Gmail is generally for work purpose... WhatsApp is also for work purpose... It is easy for transactions to be tracked... official communication is convenient on WhatsApp."
Here are our top 5 learnings around desired product experiences:
Apps are being used by people of different age groups - our youngest participant was 19 years old while the oldest was 59. Create an app experience that is "ageless."
Conversational design is the way to go. Be friendly. People are mentally exhausted as is, lockdown and all!
Go with where your usage data takes you. We found students repurposing YouTube for educational knowledge when once it reigned supreme for entertainment only.
Incorporate chatting, groups or communities to encourage more free-flowing dialogue. The more distanced people are, the more they yearn connection!
Apps dealing with sensitive subjects like finances should have intuitive web interfaces as well. We found participants actively choosing mobile versus laptop interactions depending on the job-to-be-done.