Mobile Voice Search: the survey revealed

Spoken | August 9, 2016

What do users really want in mobile voice search?

That’s the sticky question we’ve been seeking to answer as Spoken develops an innovative new voice search service. How is it that cell phone users, smartphone and feature phone alike, search for information when they are on the road?

The survey on voice search habits (it’s still open, so please do take
and give us more feedback) provides a wealth of information on how
mobile phone users use their phones on the road when they need
information. A big THANK YOU to everyone who took time out of their
days to take the survey.

The survey revealed the following tidbits:

  • Contrary to mobile handset sales statistics, the large majority of users in this survey have smartphones
  • About half of mobile users report using an application
    for search on the road, all of which require screen attention, which
    would result in distracted driving
  • 411 is dead; only 19% even know how much they are being charged for a 411
  • Travel time is a popular time for making phone calls, often because the time is seen as more productive when the phone is in use

Voice search habits survey

The survey was simple, with just six questions:

  1. What kind of mobile phone do you have?
  2. When you are driving, how do you search for information?
  3. How many times have you called 411 in the last month?
  4. How much are you charged for a 411 call?
  5. Of the mobile calls you’ve made in the last month, what percentage were from the car?
  6. If you make calls from the car, please tell us why.

The results

Of roughly 100 survey participants, 79.6% had smartphones, versus 20.4% with feature phones. Responses to the next question showed that a large percentage of users–about 52%–use smartphone apps to search for information on the road, while only a relatively small percentage–about 13%–use the traditional phone voice search service, 411, to get information.

When you are driving, how do you search for information?

Picture 3
In the Other option for this question, 14 respondents wrote in that they used in-car navigation or GPS, while other write-ins included printing out directions before leaving, pulling over to use a map website from a smartphone (8),  using a map website on their smartphones while driving or handing the phone to a passenger.

The next two questions were designed to determine if 411 still has popularity as a mobile voice search service. Over 78% of respondents replied that they have not used 411 at all in the last month; additionally, over 81% did not even know how much they would be charged for a 411 call.

The final two questions were geared at discovering when and why users make calls on the road.

Of the mobile calls you’ve made in the last month, what percentage were from the car?

Picture 4

Interestingly, the primary reason cited for making calls from the car was productivity: “saves time,” “multitasking,” “making use of commute time.” Not having office distractions/having focus, communicating tardiness or en route and connecting with business and social contacts were mentioned as well. A few answered “its the only time I really have to talk to people” and “because I am lonely”, while about 10% of respondents reported not making any phone calls from the car, citing safety concerns.

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