The Lake Constance
Media Usage Study 2014

The Lake Constance
Media Usage Study 2014

The Lake Constance
Media Usage Study 2014

The Media Usage Study 2014 was a 6-month research project. in cooperation between the University of Applied Sciences in Konstanz (HWTG) and the “Lago” shopping center in Konstanz, Germany. Supervisor of the project was the Dean of Studies Communication Design, Prof. Brian Switzer. Our main research question was: How do people in the area of Lake Constance use their media? The main outcome of the research project were six different media user personas.

JAN.—JUN. 2014 | 10 MIN. READ

AUTHOR: Robin Auer, M,A, Communication Design

The entire planning, design, organization, implementation, and analysis of the study was done by the student. Our Design Research Professor Brian Switzer supported us in formulating the research objectives and selecting the right methods. After the project, I took on the additional responsibility to write a hundred and fifty-page report (textual and visual elaboration as well as print production). The research work was presented at the 2015 Annual Conference of the German Society for Design Theory and Research (DGTF).


Prof. Brian Switzer – Dean of Studies Communication Design, HTWG
Peter Herrmann – Center Manager Lake Constance

Team members

Shayenna Misko – M.A. Communication Design
Yannic Seitz – M.A. Communication Design
Romina Maidel – M.A. Communication Design
Robin Auer – M.A. Communication Design


The Lake Constance Media Usage Study 2014 was carried out together with the cooperation partner LAGO Shopping-Center in Constance. We investigated the question of how people in the Lake Constance region use different media and what they consume about it. At the beginning of the research work, we reviewed different surveys of previous studies which gave us insights into advertising measures and marketing activities of the shopping center.

Personas/Target Groups

The customers of the shopping center can be divided into three target groups. The target group N1 included young women aged 15 to 28 years who regularly come into contact with digital media. The second group differed only in gender. N2 were young men between the ages of 15 to 28. In the third target group N3 the usage behavior of elderly people (male and female) was specifically examined. The subsequent selection of the subjects for this study was derived from this. 

Regional anchoring
We analyzed the regional and supraregional integration of Constance and the entire region. Constance is within easy reach of four German regions (Hochrhein-Bodensee, Bodensee-Oberschwaben, Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg, and the Allgäu), a federal state in Austria (Vorarlberg), at least seven Swiss cantons (Schaffhausen, Thurgau, Zurich, Aargau, St. Gallen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden), and the Principality of Liechtenstein. A customer survey in 2011 showed that 40% of customers who come to Constance are from Switzerland. So we had to distinguish between the media usage of German and Swiss participants.

For our study, we divided the cities in the Lake Constance area into so-called centers (model Marcel Herzberg, Roland Scherer, and Klaus-Dieter Schnell in Überregionale Partnerschaften of the BMVBS/BBR). “The European intertwined Lake Constance area is characterized by a polycentric settlement structure with small and medium-sized regional centers”. The villages and cities were divided into four different centers: Medium and lower centers can be found all over the entire Lake Constance region. The Lake Constance region is at the intersection with the large cities of Zurich, Munich, and Stuttgart. The small and medium-sized centers (upper centers) were defined with cities between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. This includes Winterthur, the largest city in the region with approx. 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Constance with approx. 81,500 and St. Gallen with 71,000 inhabitants. 74% of the towns and municipalities in the region have less than 5,000 inhabitants. We adopted this classification for our study and tried to approach test persons from each target group across cities and communities of different sizes in Switzerland and Germany. [↥ Herzberg, Marcel; Scherer, Roland; Schnell, Klaus-Dieter, 2010]


This study had a qualitative focus, which is also reflected in the choice of methods. The Cultural Probes method was used to gain insights into the media behavior of people, especially in private spaces. Cultural Probes are an unusual and rather playful form for data collection. This often leads to participants revealing more. In addition to the Cultural Probes, Passive Observations were made in public space. The Passive Observations provided information on human behavior without being influenced by the presence of the researcher. The combination of these methods provided comprehensive information on media behavior.  [↥ See Prof. Dr. Albert, Mathias; Prof. Dr. Hurrelmann, Klaus; Dr. Quenzel, Gudrun; 2010]; [↥ See Feierabend, Sabine; Karg, Ulrike; Rathgeb, Thomas; 2013]; [↥ See Willemse, Isabel; Waller, Gregor; Süss, Daniel; Genner, Sarah; Huber, Anna-Lena; 2012]

Outcome and Impact

The findings from the studies (JAMES, JIM, Shell), the observations and the Cultural Probes have been incorporated into the development of media usage types. These usage types differed from the originally defined user groups N1, N2, and N3, as these were not adequate anymore according to our insights. We identified two user types in the age groups 21 to 28 and 45 to 60. The 15 to 20 year-olds formed the type of use of the Digital Natives. In this group we saw discernible gender-specific differences. The resulting five user groups are: the Digital Natives, the Heavy Users, the Media Hybrid, the Holdout and the Digital Immigrants.

In addition to media usage types, personas have been developed. Personas represent customers and serve as a tool for the development and evaluation of concrete marketing concepts. In the following the six personas are described strongly shortened:




Franziska is 16 years old, lives in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, and she is still in education. Franziska owns a smartphone, a laptop computer, a digital camera, and an mp3 music player.

Favorite apps
WhatsApp, Instagram, We heart it (CH), Facebook

Newspaper subscription of her parents but only reads the Südkurier sporadically. She reads the InTouch and the Shape.




Niklas is 18 years old, lives with his parents in Konstanz, and is still in education. He owns a smartphone, a laptop computer, an mp3 music player, a games console, and a hi-fi system with expensive speakers.

Newspaper subscription of his parents and he actually reads the Südkurier very often. He also likes the Spiegel magazine and music magazine (e.g. about guitars or so).

Persona Maxmimilian



Maximilian is 26 years old and lives in his first own apartment in Konstanz, Germany. He works as an insurance salesman (skilled occupation). He owns a smartphone, a laptop computer, a games console with a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, a stereo system and a tablet-pc. 

Sporadically Spiegel or FAZ, informs himself rather online.

Persona Lena



Lena is part of the so-called transitional generation Media Hybrid. She is 24 years old and lives in Konstanz, Germany. She is a student at the University in Konstanz and owns a smartphone, laptop computer, digital camera, mp3 player, radio;

Favorite Apps
WhatsApp, Facebook, Apple Photos, Apple Notes, Apple Calendar;

Süddeutsche, le Monde, Cicero.




Jurgen is 52 years old and a self-employed craftsman. He lives in Konstanz, Germany and is the typical Refuser of digital devices. He owns a simple mobile phone, a desktop PC, television, radio, and a record player for VHS tapes.

Südkurier, Zeit, Infopost and free newspapers.




Doris is 49 years old and lives outside of Kreuzlingen in Switzerland. She is a paralegal (skilled occupation) and a so-called Digital Immigrant. She owns a smartphone, laptop computer, television, radio, stereo audio system, ebook reader, and a digital camera.

20 Minuten (CH), Tagesanzeiger (CH), Brigitte Woman, Essen und Trinken.

Prof. Dr. Albert, Mathias; Prof. Dr. Hurrelmann, Klaus; Dr. Quenzel, Gudrun
16. Shell Jugendstudie – Jugend 2010. Deutsche Shell Holding GmbH (Hrsg.). Hamburg, 2010.

Feierabend, Sabine; Karg, Ulrike; Rathgeb, Thomas
JIM 2013 – Jugend, Information, (Multi-) Media. Basisstudie zum Medienumgang 12- bis 19-Jähriger in Deutschland. Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest. Stuttgart, November 2013.

Herzberg, Marcel; Scherer, Roland; Schnell, Klaus-Dieter
»Der Europäische Verflechtungsraum Bodensee. Ein MORO-Projekt«. Regionalverband Bodensee-Oberschwaben und Regionalverband Hochrhein Bodensee, Ravensburg und Waldshut-Tiengen, 2010.

Willemse, Isabel; Waller, Gregor; Süss, Daniel; Genner, Sarah; Huber, Anna-Lena
JAMES – Jugend, Aktivitäten, Medien – Erhebung Schweiz. ZHAW Züricher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften. Zürich, 2012.

Pictures of the personas from freepik via katemangostartirachard 


Konstanz University of Applied Sciences
Technology, Economics and Design (HWTG) 
Department of Communication Design

Brauneggerstrasse 55,
D-78462 Constance
Phone +49 7531 206 0
Fax +49 7531 206 400

Cooperation partner
Advertising Association LAGO Konstanz GbR
Peter Herrmann

Citation note
Auer, Robin; Maidel, Romina; Misko, Shayenna; Seitz, Yannic (2014). Lake Constance Media Usage Study 2014.
Konstanz University of Applied Sciences, Konstanz, 2014.
Hochschule für Technik Wirtschaft und Gestaltung (HWTG) Konstanz - Department of Communication Design