Uncovering Smartphone User Behaviours and Routines

Project Brief

What do users do - or try to do - with their phones? This was the overarching question of the study, which aims to explore the everyday lives of users, specifically with their smartphones. This was the first of Quicksand's projects with the REACH Network where we worked with STBY & Apogee, to explore how people use their smart phones in an emerging market like India. The insights collated from this research provided strategic inputs for concept development for a global communications company.


We used video to capture users of smart phones in context of their home, office, play or transit, while they reflected on their experiences, preferences, frustrations and motivations. This generated a series of insights on how these phones are used, and what are the motivations and hacks around certain tasks that users perform.

These insights were presented in the form of 'design documentary' videos, to key stakeholders in the organization, which includes the UX design teams, through a facilitated workshop. These were used to elaborate on strategic opportunities and to co-create initial ideas for innovation.

This project was hosted in India, China and the UK by Quicksand, Apogee and STBY respectively. Together with the REACH Network, we have also worked on three other research studies around low-cost phone usage, transliteration practices on mobile devices and an India-specific low-cost smart phone.


Ekta Tandon • 30, Research Analyst

Ankit Trivedi • 22, Mobile App Developer

Vivek Phillip • 40, Steel Factory Owner


This project was testament to the benefits of both agile working, and long-term collaborations. The agile approach of the REACH Network allowed for the design of a project that could deliver a consistently high-level of insights with partners working across geographies, whilst our long-term partnership with the client company meant we could work directly with key stakeholders to ensure the project was intimately (and efficiently) tailored around the needs of their design teams.

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