A (Mobile) Day in the Life: Chronicles of an App-aholic

Ciara Catherine Williams
6 min readSep 21, 2021

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It’s 8:30am and I just woke up, thanks to my trusty alarm clock app. And if I continue to hit snooze and not actually get out of bed until 9am, that’s my business.

Now that I’m awake, it’s time to check my schedule for the day, all laid out in my calendar. Not the calendar on my wall, but the one on my phone.

Just by saying that, I can hear my grandmother in the back of my mind, “kids these days and their gadgets, back in my day [redundant lecture we’ve all heard a million times].”

But the thing is, my phone is not just my phone, it’s my virtual assistant.

Source: CNET

It tells me my appointments, the weather, the news, and sleep quality; all within the first 10 minutes of the day. So yeah, I’m a little attached, but a LOT productive.

I know you’re so curious, “Ciara, what else can you do with your phone?”

(What can’t I do with my phone? That’s a much easier and quicker answer: not a lot.)

Well, to name a few as I go through my day:

1. When I want to eat: I can order coffee, french fries, sushi — you name it — without putting real clothes on. Comfort food has been my lifeline during this awful pandemic and when I found out that my favourite restaurant was off limits during the lockdown, I shed some serious metaphorical tears. However, thanks to apps like Uber Eats, I can have a cortado and a chocolate babka delivered to my door in no time, as many days a week as I so choose.

Source: @meghanmalone87 on Instagram

2. When I want to snoop: social media is amazing. I have friends all over the place, including some that (pandemic or not) I never get to see because they live in completely different countries. This is why apps like Instagram are so great, because I can see what they’re up to, without having to wait for our time zones to magically align and hope we don’t miss that special window for a call. For example, my best friend got engaged while living in England, and thankfully I didn’t have to wait forever to see her (gorgeous!) ring, because she posted photos for everyone back home to see.

3. When I want a change: I can daydream about the day my hairdresser isn’t insanely backlogged and find inspo for my first post-lockdown haircut on Pinterest. I’m a serious Pinner. I pin between classes, while relaxing in the bathtub, while I wait for commercial breaks to end. I’m addicted. I’m a student, so I’m not paying for a $10,000 bathroom reno anytime soon, but Pinterest has some great low-budget DIY ideas that help make my shoebox of a rental a little more organized and a lot less ugly.

4. When I want to dance: I make tons of playlists. I spend hours a week on Apple Music curating lists of songs for anything and everything. Every mood, every task, every silly little theme my mind can think up. From “Dad Approved,” to “Shower Time,” to “Throwback to 10th Grade”, my Apple Music app is where I get weirdly specific but also find tons of catharsis.

Sample of my playlists from Apple Music

5. When I want to improve: I find like-minded people. As a grad student, I am always looking for new opportunities and connections to further my skills and gain experience. Whenever I meet someone new, or hear about a really cool company that is doing great things, I love to pull up the LinkedIn app and connect with them while the excitement is fresh, and see if there’s anything interesting for me to jump into. This is how I found my current program at George Brown, how I scope out potential future employers, and get introduced to new projects and ideas happening through peers in my industry.

Of course, not every app is always perfect, all the time. For example, just now when I went to check the mail, I didn’t remember to manually download a song in Apple Music, and I couldn’t listen to it when I lost Wi-Fi and LTE in the elevator. In my opinion, if I search for a song, add it to my library, and then a playlist, it should be assumed that I also want it to download, for moments like this.

So why am I telling you all of this? Well, unfortunately to my grandmother’s disapproval, we live in an increasingly digital world. And while this makes everything so much more convenient, it also fosters a sense of immediacy that isn’t quite as life or death as we feel. Sure, I can wait a few extra minutes until I have Wi-Fi again to listen to a song. And I can listen to one of thousands of other songs that I do have downloaded in the meantime. But it won’t be the song that I want, which, if you’ve ever been to a concert and the band doesn’t play your favourite off their new album, it feels about the same.

Source: Flickr

But what if it was a different situation? What if instead of a song, it was shoes. What if a retailer’s app says that they sell the shoes I want in my size, and it’s not until I go to check out that I suddenly get a message saying they were sold out? I went through all that time scrolling to find them and add them to my shopping cart and fill in my payment information only to find out I can’t actually have them at the last minute. Now I’ve wasted my time when they could have told me right on the item page that they didn’t have size 5 ½ in stock.

It’s important for brands to think about moments like this happening, before they happen. Every step in the customer journey matters. Every step has just as much power to “make or break” a customer’s experience as the one that came before it, no matter how big or small. And the further into their journey the customer is, it just becomes that much more painful when that “break it” moment happens.

It’s easy for brands to focus on the big picture items: target audience, marketing objectives, brand voice, SEO, etc., but it’s always good to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. The user experience is the only thing that matters to them. They don’t see all the behind the scenes effort and care that goes into your brand, they just see the product and anything that might prevent them from having it.

Luckily for Apple Music, my desire for the end-product outweighs my annoyance at their lack of forethought, but for a lot of other customers, and a lot of other brands, this is not always the case.

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Ciara Catherine Williams

I am an aspiring digital and content marketer based in Toronto, ON, currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Digital Media Marketing at George Brown College.