Why Do People Take Screenshots on Their Smartphones?

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Screenshots are ubiquitous in mobile computing, yet poorly understood. This paper advances our understanding of reasons for capturing, storing, and sharing screenshots. A crowdsourced user study was conducted where 52 participants shared personal screenshots from their phones, alongside textual reasons for why they were captured. Using mixed methods analyses we uncover common and uncommon screenshot practices that have not previously been documented. By analyzing the language used to describe reasons for taking screenshots, we document a variety of motivations for screenshot captures that provide opportunities for design. We furthermore report nine overarching themes in contemporary mobile screenshot use, considerably extending the currently held view of screenshots as a type of social computing. To inform design, we propose novel screenshot-centered interaction concepts that bridge the empirical findings. Last, we position screenshotting as a style of mobile interaction, which we argue is an undeveloped opportunity for advancing interactivity for mobile computing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2023 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)9781450398930
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventDesigning Interactive Systems Conference - Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, United States
Duration: 10 Jul 202314 Jul 2023
Conference number: 2023


ConferenceDesigning Interactive Systems Conference
LocationCarnegie Mellon University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesDIS '23


  • human computer interaction
  • mobile computing
  • user behavior
  • user studies
  • quantitative data
  • qualitative data


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