Future User Behavior Prediction in the Case of Network Crash under Mobile Internet Environment



Yunran Ju


Purdue University

552 W Wood St

West Lafayette, IN, The United States







  With the development of science and technology, human beings have entered a whole new era. The lifestyle of modern people has undergone qualitative changes, and mobile web has become an inseparable part of daily life. Communication between people, the interaction between people and objects, information transfer between objects, all these may rely on the internet. However please make the following assumption, one day in the future, the mobile web collapses unexpectedly. The way humans depend on it will be completely disintegrated, and what actions users will take and what design can we make to reduce the influence of mobile internet crush. This paper discusses this possible situation, through case study and data analysis, find evidence of different panic behaviors based on what happened in the past and at present, explore what types of user behavior we might see and how to minimize the impact.


Keywords- Mobile internet; panic; user behavior; prediction


1. Introduction


As human society enters the information era, human dependence on the internet has gradually increased, and networks have become an indispensable part of life. Every day we use the internet to connect with our surroundings, for example, based on smartphones people easily achieve communication from a very long distance; browsing news and checking emails during a trip; shopping online or playing games no matter when and where; mobile navigation avoids the embarrassment of getting lost, users can go to any place they want to go. Mobile web has had a specific impact on the behavioral habits and life of a new generation of users. With all these benefits, mobile web offers a great opportunity, it improves the efficiency and convenience of many processes in our life.

  However, obstructions are coming along. The convenience of the network has led to human dependence on the Internet. For one thing, over-reliance on the Internet makes young people’s attention challenging to concentrate, which would cause the reduction of efficiency in studying and working process. For another thing, indulging on the internet causes the reduction in communication between people, which is likely to lead to an emotional loss.

  In this paper, first I give a brief overview of the definition, characteristics and development of mobile Internet, and then analyze the problems brought by the development of mobile networks, and how it affects user behavior and life. Based on the above analysis, through the establishment of the user models of different age groups, given the specific prediction analyzes different effects that to users of different age groups when the network crashes, find relationship between the impact of mobile network crash on users and the level of using mobile networks. At last, draw a conclusion of what kind of design would be better used in the future.



2. Review of mobile Internet


The mobile Internet does not currently have a clear and uniform definition. One of the views is that WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) is the mobile web; another view is that mobile data is used on mobile terminals; the other view is that "mobile" is just an access method, mobile Internet. It is the Internet.

Mobile web is a new technology in recent years. Compared with the original Internet technology, mobile web has made further breakthroughs regarding time, space and other factors based on the original technology. At the same time, mobile Internet technology integrates the sharing and openness of the original Internet technology.


2.1. Characteristics of mobile Web


  One of the most prominent features of the mobile Internet is that users are no longer limited by time and place. They only need to have a mobile device to connect to the network for operation. Compared to the traditional desktop Internet, the mobile Internet breaks the existing space-time boundary. It has the following characteristics.


1. Portability

  Mobile Internet terminals are daily items including smartphones, tablets, smart watches and even smart glasses, and mobile terminals have the characteristics of small, lightweight, and easy to carry around. It is very popular and users can use the Internet anytime, anywhere.


2. Convenience

  The mobile web has changed the connection mode of the traditional Internet. As long as it is connected to the Internet through a mobile terminal in an area with network coverage, the mobile web is more convenient than the traditional Internet connection through a fixed port.


             3. Dependence

  In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it pointed out that after people meet the needs of survival and security, the next need is social communication, which means the communication between people. Mobile Internet just caters to this demand. Smart mobile devices are easy to use, fast to get started, and the price is not untouchable. For these reasons, the mobile internet has become the primary means of communication between people. The appearance of “Phubbing” is the best embodiment of mobile Internet dependence.


4. Time-efficiency

  In this era of information explosion, how to receive information for the first time becomes one of the primary needs of users. The mobile Internet allows users to "online" 24 hours a day, and can view and process network messages at any time, breaking the time and space restrictions received by the traditional Internet, filling up all the leisure and trivial time of users.


5. Localizability

  One of the advantages of the mobile Internet is localizability. No matter where the user is, just use the mobile terminal to connect to the Internet to enjoy the location service, which is not possible with the traditional Internet. This feature also enables the mobile Internet to be applied to service areas such as route navigation and location sharing.


2.2. Development of mobile web


  With the popularity of mobile devices and the development of information technology, the mobile Internet has been fully integrated into people's daily lives. We cannot leave the smartphone one day, which means we cannot have one day to leave the mobile internet. Communication, video calls, entertainment videos, finding information, watching news, online shopping, mobile Internet has affected all aspects of our lives.


1. Network business is gradually moving towards mobilization

  In the past, services on the PC port began to provide its use on the mobile side, such as chat communication, mail, video playback, network payment, etc., to ensure the continuity of its services.


2. Entertainment applications become a mainstream business

  The most used mobile Internet terminals are smart phones, while the users are mostly concentrated in the youth group. The users have a significant dependence on the mobile network, and most of them use smartphones to kill the time and have specific requirements for the entertainment of the application. The demand of the market and the entertainment industry have outstanding technical support, and there are more entertainment apps in the app store.


3. Business transaction applications are growing rapidly

  The development of electronic payment and mobile Internet has made mobile payment come into being. The generation of mobile payment has enabled significant e-commerce companies to develop their applications on the smartphone vigorously. Business transaction applications such as shopping, taxiing, takeaway service and travel booking have been rapidly developed. Online travel bookings include train tickets, airfare, hotels, and vacation products. Global leading information and measurement company Nielsen has released a white paper, which reveals how connected devices and digital platforms have led to a consumption boom in China. It shows that 84% of consumers used their mobile phone to shop in 2017 – up from 71% in 2015[1].


4. Mobile Internet has serious regional development problems

  There are many types of mobile Internet services, and most of them are mainly distributed in economically developed cities. Relatively speaking, the business in remote areas appears to be less. Due to the economic development level, people's living conditions, knowledge development, technological advancement and other factors of different regions, the distribution of mobile Internet has become severely regionalized. The regionalization of mobile Internet distribution directly leads to the difference in inter-regional communication levels, which may further lead to the gap in economic development level, and at the same time affect the regional distribution of mobile Internet.


3. Problems analyzing and user behavior research


  This section depicts two parts. 1) The user’s reliance on mobile networks has gradually increased and caused some bad influences; 2) An analysis of real cases shows that users' dependence on the network increases rapidly when an emergency occurs, and discusses how current designs respond to that situation.


3.1. Problems analyzing


  Usually when humans start to adopt or rely on something, once they are lost, they will be extremely insecure and uncertain. When a baby is out of the mother's arms, the baby will be crying because of panic. When a child grows up, there is often a specific item that a child depends on it. It may cause the child to be unable to fall asleep when the item is not around. While adults suddenly lose something relying on, it may cause anxiety mood like OCD. In this era, almost everyone has a technology fever, technology is undoubtedly a beautiful and tempting one, because it makes up for the fragile part of human nature. We have an unimaginable dependence on it and it is difficult to get rid of.

Taking the life of modern people as an example, it seems that suddenly our life is inseparable from electronic devices. In addition to the necessary work and study time in a day, everyday life revolves around various electronic devices, open the phone to see social networks, watch the news, check emails, and listen to music. On the subway, on the bus, you can see that almost everyone is playing with their mobile phones. According to the survey, we will check the mobile phone one or two times a day; the last thing that some young people have before going to bed, the first thing to get up is to open the phone, even if it is not set and turn off the alarm.

Most people spend too much time on electronic devices, unable to concentrate, even affecting sleep, affecting regular communication with family and friends, and losing the ability to thinking alone. For most people in this modern society, once they lose their mobile phone, it is more like they lose the way to communicate with the outside world. They would always worry about they might missed the boss’s phone call, missed friends’ information, and missed world news happened today. At this time, most people will start to panic.

Thus, many modern problems have born. For instance, Mobile phone overuse (smartphone addiction), is a dependence syndrome seen among mobile phone users. Some mobile phone users exhibit problematic behaviors related to substance use disorders. These behaviors can include preoccupation with mobile communication, excessive money or time spent on mobile phones, use of mobile phones in socially or physically inappropriate situations such as driving an automobile [2].

Technology and media are not only taking up our time, but also changing our behavioral habits, affecting some of our abilities, and even changing our brains from a physiological level, making it harder and harder to focus and unable to think deeply. It is precise because our brains are more attuned to and conditioned to the state of security that comes with relying on electronic devices, once we lose it, we are more likely to experience psychological panic and anxiety, and even physical insecurities.


3.2. User behavior research


  When an emergency occurs, the individual's psychological behavioral response will have a process of change. It is a reaction that occurs when the external stimulus is caused by the environmental change and users’ coping ability. It is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment.


Fig. 1 Relationship between environment and individual


Studies have shown that after an accident, if the network system is still available, the number of online users will increase significantly. The US Geological Survey (USGS) has found that when an earthquake is felt by a population that uses Twitter, tweets reporting the incidence of an earthquake are published online sooner than the 2 to 20 minutes, it takes the USGS to publicly distribute instrumentally derived estimates of location and magnitude [3]. In an evaluation implemented by Paul et al, the authors found that tweets referencing earthquakes may be useful information for detecting earthquakes in poorly instrumented regions [4]. Instant change of user activities and appearance of event-related keywords have been seen in a variety of adverse events such as earthquakes, cross-border attacks, and wildfires [5]. For example, in the MW 4.3 earthquake in Morgan Hill, CA, 2009, the tweet frequency in the epicenter region quickly rose to about 150 per minute, in comparison to the background level of less than one per hour before the earthquake. Information regarding the location and specific details of events was reported on Twitter within seconds following the first explosion of the April 15th, 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon [6].

  Modern environmental science points out that people's response and judgment to the environment is based on the what they are acquiring from it. The above data analysis shows that people no longer regard the mobile Internet as a simple way of communication, but a necessity for survival. With the development of technology, users' dependence on the mobile Internet will only increase. So, in the future, when the mobile Internet crashes, even a brief crash or a network failure will have a massive impact on users.


4. Predictions based on user behavior researches


In 2017, China's largest communication app (active users 963 million) WeChat briefly crushed for an hour, promptly heated up in China and jumped to the top of the popular search. To avoid or minimize the impact of the mobile Internet crash on user psychology and life, the user model should be analyzed and then thinking about what design should make in the future.


4.1. User behavior prediction


  In predicting the behavior of future mobile Internet users, we should establish a user model to outline the persona first. It is based on user-centered design ideas, including the user's necessary information, living environment description, usage scenarios, and product usage behavior. In personas created by Microsoft designers Pruitt and Grudin, a template for the persona of the mobile Internet application for smartphones were designed [7]. In this template, the designer can select the elements according to the specific design project to combine and piece together.

  Among all users of the mobile internet, a different generation has a different dependence of the internet. The new generation born in an era of remarkably developed networks, so they are more dependence on the network. However, the old generation experienced the process of the network emerging to well-developed, and the dependence was relatively reduced. The oldest generation has gone through the entire development process of the network, and the familiarity and dependence on the mobile network are relatively low. Therefore, based on the template, user classification is performed according to different age groups, and a user model is established.



Table 1. User Model 1


User overview

16-25 years old

Product related



Proficient in smartphones and mobile internet

The extremely high frequency of using mobile internet

Check mobile phones more than 50 times a day

Habitual behavior

Almost all problems can be solved with mobile internet

Scene script

Mobile internet crash


Seriously affect normal life


Reduce the dependence of young people on mobile phones



Table 1. User Model 2


User overview

26-40 years old

Product related



Familiar with smartphones and mobile internet

Use mobile internet frequency

Have certain dependence

Can solve some problems with mobile internet

Scene script

Mobile internet crash


May have some impacts but can adapt


Reduce the dependence of mobile phones



Table 1. User Model 3


User overview

41-55 years old

Product related



Can use smartphones and mobile internet

Using mobile internet but not in high frequency

Have no dependence

Using functions is mainly limited to chatting, browsing news, etc.

Scene script

Mobile internet crash


No impact


Remain unchanged

  According to the user models of different age groups, the following conclusions can be drawn: the impact of mobile network crash on users is related to the level of using mobile networks. The horizontal axis of the Fig. 2 below represents the level of user independence when network breaks down, and the vertical axis represents the extent to which users use the mobile network. The three colors of ABC represent different age groups, and the degree of tilt of the diagonal line represents the panic behavior of users. The more frequently users use mobile networks, the less independent they are in network crush down, and shows higher level of panic.




Fig. 2 Impact of mobile network crush on different users


4.2. Innovation design


  One day in the future, when an emergency or network failure causes the mobile world to linger, the world may fall into a silence, so at this moment, it is particularly important to plan. The CNN web design undoubtedly provides us with some inspiration (http://lite.cnn.com/en). This is a special version of the news page. When the mobile network connection is not smooth, the user can choose to enter this version of the webpage directly. It will only display the text version of the website homepage, but will not load any images, videos and animations. However, users can still browse real-time news. Moreover, after clicking on the news link to enter the secondary page, it is still presented in plain text. Imagine that when an emergency occurs, countless people are using the mobile network to try to contact the outside world. The congestion of the network can be imagined. The design of CNN ensures that users can still receive messages when the mobile network signal is inferior, which can bring great psychological comfort to users.

  The development of responsive web design also provides another solution, which is an important technology developed to cope with the growing demand for mobile devices. The responsive web allows web pages to automatically adjust to the screen size of smartphones, tablets, etc., ensuring the smoothness of the website display. In some areas where 3G or 4G mobile networks are not widely available, people still rely on slow Edge for network systems. Therefore, the design of the responsive web design can shorten the loading time of the website, and the users would not be limited to the mobile network with poor connection when browsing the webpage.

  How to design to reduce the user's panic when the network crashes? As shown in the Fig.3, the horizontal axis represents the different stages of design from tradition to innovation. When the mobile network collapses, the traditional design will reduce the user's panic. Conversely, the technological design will increase the user's panic. Therefore, finding the balance between traditional design and innovative design is the key. Among the four types of ABCD design, B and C are within the scope of good design. They consider both tradition and innovation, which is also a possible development stage in future design.




Fig. 3


5. Conclusion


  We live in the age of intelligence, smart phones, smart homes, artificial intelligence, etc. The convenience that these products bring us is unimaginable more than a decade ago, but does intelligence mean everything It is undeniable that intelligence is indeed an inevitable trend of development of time, but progress also means that it is almost impossible for human beings to re-adapt to lives without mobile networks. For instance, a building using an elevator must have a staircase as a fire exit to ensure safety when accident happens. From a design perspective, always consider the backup plan is the ley to deal with possible mobile internet crashes in advance, and to minimize the impact on people’s life.





[1]    Nielsen: What’s Next For China’s Connected Consumers – A Roadmap for Driving Digital Demand, https://www.nielsen.com/cn/en/insights/reports/2018/Nielsen-What-s-Next-for-Chin (accessed September 24, 2018).

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[5]    Bahir, E. & Peled, A. Identifying and tracking major events using geo-social networks. Soc Sci Comput Rev 31, 458–470 (2013).

[6]  Cassa, C. A., Chunara, R., Mandl, K. & Brownstein, J. S. Twitter as a sentinel in emergency situations: lessons from the boston marathon explosions. PLOS Curr 5, 10.1371/currents.dis.ad70cd1c8bc585e9470046cde334ee4b. (2013).

[7]  John Pruitt, Jonathan Grudin. Personas: Practice and Theory. Designing for user experiences, 2003, pp. 1-15.