Why are we so distracted by our devices? What is so important that we can’t wait until we get to the office or home to retrieve our message? I am just as guilty as anyone to the amount of attention I give my iPhone 4. It spends more time in proximity to my body than my wife or children. So what gets me is how distracted we get in our day with our devices. Is it self-importance… a true business need… a social need? Is it for directions, music/entertainment, or finding a restaurant… or does this small electronic device fill a void and give us exactly what we’re missing?

Mobile devices have come along way since their inception. It’s been 8 years since RIM released the first smartphone with wireless email capabilities and since then the world of mobile connectivity has not been the same. There are now seven different types of BlackBerries in production, over three different devices running the Apple iOS and many other devices running the Android operating system in North America.

Being fascinated with people and the way they use their devices, we decided to undertake our own little experiment on Smartphone usage. Over the time span of one working week, we observed 285 pedestrians at the busy Yonge and King intersection during peak hours to find out what they were doing with their devices and what kinds of devices were most popular.

As the observation was being conducted in Toronto’s financial district, we hypothesized that we would see a lot of BlackBerry users. This, of course, turned out to be true, but it was interesting to see that people’s use of their devices changed from the morning to evening hours.

Download the poster to have a look at this visualization comparing devices and device use in the AM versus PM hours.


Stay tuned for more installations in this series as we further observe Torontonians and what they do with their devices in different environments. How is our device usage changing the way we exist within our communities?

At Pivot, we love creating stuff like this for ourselves because it helps us understand people in their environments. We decided that others in the community might also benefit from our findings so we’ve posted our work here for free. Gathering data and compiling it into a visualization takes both time and effort, so we ask that you please give credit where credit is due. If you wish to find out more about this observation or find out how Pivot can use design research methods to do a visual study for you, please drop us a line at hello@pivotdesigngroup.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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