Home How We Use the Tools We Choose: A Week of Worldwide Usage Data

How We Use the Tools We Choose: A Week of Worldwide Usage Data

Does the type of device that you use change the way that you consume and create information? Does it alter the types of content that you look at? We were curious, so we took a look at a week of Bitly click data (June 6th – 12th) to find out!

For the most part, the use of traditional computing platforms such as Windows, Linux and Macintosh follow a similar pattern, demonstrating that your habits don’t really change regardless of which you choose.

Hourly device usage across the day, shown as the proportion of the total number of clicks on each device.

Brian David Eoff is a Ph.D student at Texas A&M University, under the advisement of James Caverlee. He has fled the staggering heat of Texas in the summer to work as a member of the Bitly science group under the leadership of Hilary Mason.

Device usage is at its lowest during the early hours of the morning and rises as the world
wakes. After 10 a.m. there is a slow increase during the workday. As we might expect, usage drops in the evening. Android devices follow a similar pattern. BlackBerry and iPhone only slightly rise after 9 a.m. and drop off in the late evening. Surprisingly, smartphone usage and browser usage are not that dissimilar.

The iPad’s usage pattern is drastically different. Usage dips after breakfast, remains low during traditional working hours and does not peak until much later in the evening. During the weekends iPad usage between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. is higher than it is during the week at those same hours. No other device sees a heavy increase of use during the weekends, showing that the iPad is used as an entertainment device and differs from both smartphones and browsers.

We next investigated where in the world these devices were being used and whether these patterns were consistent. We looked at 222 distinct countries, with Windows devices used in all of them and Macintosh computers in 215. According to Apple, the iPad is available in 39 countries worldwide. However, we observed iPad usage in 203 countries during the course of the week. Android, BlackBerry and Linux were used in 202, 181 and 201 countries respectively during the same time.

According to Apple, the iPad is available in 39 countries worldwide. However, we observed iPad usage in 203 countries during the course of the week.

We were also curious if the type of content that people viewed was different on different devices. As expected, popular websites are consistently popular regardless of device choice. Google, Facebook and YouTube rank in the top ten domains for all devices. Apple.com was particularly popular on the iPad and the iPhone, which could be explained by the WWDC conference that took place during the week we analyzed the data.

The iPad is different from the other devices, not so much in the content being consumed, but in the hour of the day and the day of the week in which consumption is occurring. As more tablets become available on the market we will be able to determine if that is indicative of the tablet form factor or just the iPad.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.