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How technology firms make us feel we own their apps – and how it can benefit them.

The mall is going out of fashion. A never-ending series of media reports claiming for thousands of years – that the unscrupulous people born in the 1980s and 1990s who grew up with the Internet and digital technology – are in favor of access rather than possessions.

And yet my research shows that owning wealth is still something that has been hungry for thousands of years. It’s just that these properties are now digital rather than physical.

People who become heavy users of their downloaded apps can have a deep relationship with these services, so deep that they accept what we call their “psychological property”. This means that they perceive each app as something that only belongs to them and has effectively become their own extension. After using it and adjusting settings to their liking, it becomes “my app”.

Psychological ownership can benefit companies as it leads consumers to play a valuable additional role. In the real world, companies have long focused on customer feedback, recommending their products and helping other buyers. The “owners” of the app are doing all this voluntarily in the digital realm, often with more skill and commitment than traditional users.

My colleagues and I studied the trend for users of music streaming apps such as Spotify and QQ Music and found that they set up extra mail-in four ways. They provide services such as answering other users’ questions on Internet forums or offering other information that will further enhance the user experience. They improved the app by giving the company feedback or participating in the app’s governance. They advocated for the app by publicly supporting it or defending it against critics. And they funded the service by paying a premium fee or donating money.

Analyzing more than 200 users of these music streaming services, we also note that companies use three key experiences to persuade consumers to “own”.

Mobile Features:

We all have a strong desire to control and influence our environment. Research has shown that people increase their satisfaction and self-confidence by changing their environment, and this is exactly the desire we have for controlling our digital space among app users.

 Users want the application of their own interest so they can use it according to their choice. They do this by changing the settings according to their interests and tastes. They can choose which notifications they receive or from which channel. They can leave or hide content. They can decide with whom they want to share their activity.

Through this process, they learn how to use the app and see its effect on it, gradually realizing that they can control it and therefore consider it “their” Spotify or Apple Music.

Mobile applications can also be used to perform writing tasks. The famous mobile app is google translate which helps you to write precisely. there are other websites which provide writing services and they have also mobile apps. you can use the writing planet for such services.

Self identification

Past generations of young people have put up posters on their bedroom walls, wearing T-shirts with slogans and rows of vinyl or CDs to show who they are and who they believe in. Now the demonstration is also online. Self-identification is created in the digital realm.

Music apps allow users to express themselves by creating a library of favorites and sharing the music of their choice. They can create their own playlist for any mood or occasion: homework playlist, party-list or music at bath time.

The more you discover and listen to music, the more the app’s algorithms will understand your likes and dislikes. And so the service is tailored to your personality. You can also upload your profile pictures and decorate your homepage in your own style.

Apps that allow users to sync their accounts across different devices further enhance this sense of personal identity.

Feeling at home

The French philosopher Simon Weil, in his 1952 book The Need for Roots, stated that “connection is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.”

Application designers perform their tasks very well when they understand the user’s needs. In addition to searching for a digital space to store their creations and memories, users want to create a sense of home, their place, a familiar and comfortable place within the app.

Some mobile apps have fulfilled this desire, allowing users to save their memories and history in the app. For example, a timeline or statistics feature allows users to see what they’ve done on the app and what music they’ve listened to.

This sense of history can be further clarified by making a playlist of the user’s top songs of the year, or by reminding them of past events on the app, or by reviewing the person’s usage on the app.

Profitable relationship

All three of these experiences mean that users are able to interact with face-to-face technology, such as mobile apps, through psychological ownership.

Once they are deeply involved in this type of relationship with their app, users are more likely to volunteer for technology improvements. This may be helpful to the other consumer community but ultimately a big benefit to the company that benefits from all this hard work.


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