Whom are we designing tablet apps for?

The tablets buyers of today are still early adopters, I’m sure we all agree on that. And at least in the US they are more often than not young affluent men. But appart from that, what do we know about the users? What do we know about our media consumers in general?

It’s easy to treat all users as one entity, as one homogeneous group of people who all use their tablets in the same way. The recent Mintel study on tablets and eReaders, tells us what tablet and eReader users do with their devices:

This is interesting reading as such but how about different user profiles? Means and averages aren’t a very good basis for development actions. We need to know more about the tablet user behaviour before starting our design process.Not all users use their tablet in the same way. This can be seen in the above diagrams. But the diagrams don’t tell us whether those who read RSS feeds also read blogs or whether those who watch movies also read news. And so on.

We need to identify the different user groups and design for each group separately, or at least keep them all in mind when designing.

Just like we know from the print media business that some read their papers from cover to cover and others only skim through the newspapers reading what they find interesting, we need to be aware that not all tablet users behave in the same way. Even though the market is still young I’m sure that there are different behavioural groups emerging. Some persons want breaking news fast whereas others like to read thoroughly about the subject at hand. Some want news about politics others about celebrities.

The technology now provides us with the tools to customise the experience. Using the same backend platform we can produce multiple experiences which can cater to the needs of different user groups. Why not do it?