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Considerations for Your Mobile Library


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We all know by now that the ubiquity of mobile devices, from smart phones to e-book readers to tablets, is changing when, where, and how people are accessing information for personal and professional use. What does this mean for libraries? It means our libraries not only need to have a mobile presence but that
they also need innovative and desired services which utilize the native features of today’s mobile devices. This presentation will walk you through some things to consider when thinking about the needs for your library’s mobile environment, and it will point to useful tools for designing, implementing and managing the content on a mobile website. You’ll hear about the benefits and drawbacks of building a mobile
website versus building a mobile application. You’ll also learn about ways many libraries are integrating library resources and services into their mobile environment. Objectives: Clarify distinctions between mobile app and mobile webpage; Consider concepts beyond just replicating content on your library's mobile site but taking advantage of other features; Generate ideas about your own mobile library environment by seeing examples of what other libraries are doing.

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Considerations for Your Mobile Library

  1. 1. Considerationsfor YourMobile LibraryRachel VacekHead of Web ServicesUniversity of Houston LibrariesTechNet - The North TexasConference on Library TechnologyAugust 3, 2011
  2. 2. The cell phone is history’s fastest growingcommunication device
  3. 3. In 2009, 530 million peopleused a cell phone or smartphone to access the mobile web Strategy Analytics, March 2010
  4. 4. By 2015,that number is expected to rise to overONE BILLION people Strategy Analytics, March 2010
  5. 5. Soon, Mobilewill overtakethe PC as themost popularway to get onto the Internet
  6. 6. Who here has a cell phone?
  7. 7. Who here has a cell phone?Who here doesn’t have a cellphone?
  8. 8. Who here has a cell phone?Who here doesn’t have a cellphone?Who has a smartphone?
  9. 9. Who here has a cell phone?Who here doesn’t have a cellphone?Who has a smartphone?Who accesses the Web every dayusing that smartphone?
  10. 10. Who here has a cell phone?Who here doesn’t have a cellphone?Who has a smartphone?Who accesses the Web every dayusing that smartphone?What do you do on yoursmartphone?
  11. 11. How smartphone owners describe their phones Browse the web, July 11, 2011
  12. 12. It’s not justabout thephones.It’s about theexperiencesthey have withtheir phones.
  13. 13. Name 5 things yourusers do when theyvisit your physical library.
  14. 14. Name 5 things yourusers do when theyvisit your library’s website.
  15. 15. Should theresources andservices that are inyour physicalbuilding and onyour websitealso be offered onyour mobilewebsite?
  16. 16. Yes
  17. 17. YesNo
  18. 18. YesNo
  19. 19. Yes NoIt depends
  20. 20. Reference RSS feeds Mobile services from blogs friendly databases LibraryOpen access instructionresources Your SMS QR codes services library website Event calendarLocation guidesor floor maps here Research or Catalog homework guides Social media Augmented Videos reality Image Audio collections tours
  21. 21. With so many options, how do you beginto plan for a mobile website?
  22. 22. Get to know your users• Conduct surveys or interviews of library users who use mobile devices• Ask in different geographic regions and cover all your demographics• Understand their mobile habits• Learn their device ownership trends
  23. 23. Ask questions• Why does your library want a mobile presence?• What are your peer libraries doing?• Do you know what your users want?• What defines success?
  24. 24. You want yourusers to feel goodusing the servicesand resources youprovide on yourmobile library
  25. 25. Which do you choose? mobile website ornative application
  26. 26. Mobile Application Mobile WebsitePerformance • Runs locally, resulting in quick • Relies on the Internet, resulting in loading time slower load and response time • An app has to be developed for • Device agnostic, so only one each platform, pushed to each website needs to be built Access platform’s app store, and then • Access is through a web browser downloaded to a smartphone for • Can be viewed on many devices, users to access including feature phones • Updates are deployed through • Relatively simple to support as an app store that has a multi- there are less things to go wrong week submission and approval on the user’s deviceSupportability process • Potential to become more • Updates require users to complex download new versions • No interaction with an app store • Updates to server are instant for users • Mobile platforms such as • HTML standards evolve more Application Android, Apple iOS, Symbian, slowly Evolvement RIM and Windows Mobile are evolving rapidly
  27. 27. Mobile Application Mobile Website • Runs locally, resulting in quick • Potentially less satisfying loading time depending on Internet • Made for mobile so it has fluid connection and speed interaction and intuitive interface • If a mobile stylesheet is applied,Quality of User • Can access sensors such as GPS users might have usability issues Experience and accelerometers with access to webpages that are • Can take advantage of touch not mobile-friendly screens and gestures • With the exception of social • Can take advantage of augmented media and games, users still reality prefer mobile sites over apps • More risky because they can be • Less risky because site exists Technical more complex, riskier to develop • A mobile version can be created Risk and harder to test by applying a mobile stylesheet or by building a simplified site • Testing for native apps is slower • Only one site has to be tested and more complex if multiple • Quality assurance and usability Testing platforms are supported testing is simpler because there • Testing might involve UX such as is less involved touchscreens or GPS
  28. 28. Mobile Application Mobile Website • More investment because it • Less investment because it’s requires more resources, time quicker and easier to build Cost and skills • Can support any device that has • Have to develop for multiple a web browser platforms • Thousands of mobile apps • Users can find your mobile available on each platforms’s website via search engines, linksMarketing store, making the audience from other websites, and links smaller and more focused embedded in emailsOperational • Must have room on the • Good cellular or wifi signal is smartphone to download required Issues • Application development • Knowledge of HTML and CSS demands more sophisticated for basic mobile theming skills • Skills in HTML5 and PHP are Skill Set • Developers with these skills are useful for creating more engaging harder to find websites, but not all smartphone browsers support HTML5 yet
  29. 29. Which is best for your library?
  30. 30. Mobile Website
  31. 31. Mobile WebsiteMobile Application
  32. 32. Mobile WebsiteMobile Application Both
  33. 33. Mobile WebsiteMobile Application Both Neither
  34. 34. Mobile WebsiteMobile Application Both Neither Hybrid
  35. 35. You know what’s on your websiteYou know the needs of your usersYou know what tech skills you haveavailable to you You know the limitations of yourlibrary’s wifi
  36. 36. Let’s dig in!
  37. 37. Options for building mobile native apps• Native platform SDK (software development kit)• General purpose multi-platform tools - attempts to “write once, run anywhere”• Outsource the development, or hire a developer with mobile app development experience on each platform you want to create
  38. 38. Options for building mobile websites• Develop a mobile CSS• Do nothing - users will still see your site, but it won’t be optimized for the best mobile user experience• Google sites - mobile templates -• Have an open-source cms like Wordpress or Drupal that power your website? Find a mobile friendly theme
  39. 39. Options for building mobile websites• Mobile application tool with web capability - Completely home-grown approach• JavaScript framework and code libraries - jQuery Mobile, iUI, jQtouch, iWebKit• Use Chad Haefele’s Mobile Site Generator -
  40. 40. Hybrid ApproachYou can do more than one of the methods for creating your library’s mobile presence
  41. 41. Managing your mobile site• Design & Functionality - Can be determined by the stylesheet or the framework chosen - Keep your branding consistent• Content - Have a strategy for maintaining the content - Pull (RSS feeds, from other systems if you can in content APIs, etc.)
  42. 42. Examples of mobilelibrary websites and applications
  43. 43. New York Public Library
  44. 44. NCSU Libraries Computer Availability Find your study group
  45. 45. NCSU Libraries Reserve a room Historic image collections
  46. 46. Seattle Public Library
  47. 47. Nashville Public Library They have a mobile website, but it includes links to device specific apps
  48. 48. UH LibrariesMobile Web Presence
  49. 49. An iPhone app for searching the UH Libraries’ Catalog was developed by graduate students in the the “Ubiquitous Computing” course in theUniversity of Houston Computational Physiology Lab
  50. 50. UH Libraries - Mobile Website - Think differently about the RSS feeds are quick andhierarchy of your homepage easy but have limitations
  51. 51. UH Libraries Include catalog and/or LibGuides comes with a discovery platform, but be mobile interface, too clear on tool’s purpose
  52. 52. UH Libraries You have videos? Create a Show off your images on channel and include them your library’s Flickr site
  53. 53. Features we’re considering• Mobile campus walking tour with historic images pulled from our Digital Library collection• Mobile version of the Digital Library• Expanded computer availability to other labs in the library, possibly branches• Laptops available for checkout• Room/computer reservation• More social media integration• QR code with physical exhibits that take users to audio, video, or a webpage• Augmented reality layar
  54. 54. Reference RSS feeds Mobile services from blogs friendly databases LibraryOpen access instructionresources Your SMS QR codes services library website Event calendarLocation guidesor floor maps here Research or Catalog homework guides Social media Augmented Videos reality Image Audio collections tours
  55. 55. Final thoughts• Understand your users mobile behaviors and needs before you decide between a mobile app or website• Sometimes a simple mobile stylesheet is a good enough place to start• Don’t just recreate your entire website in a whole new mobile website• Start small, add more complex features over time• Walk a day in your users’ shoes to get a feel for what services might be helpful on a mobile device
  56. 56. Resources “Choosing Between Native and Mobile Web Applications.” Gartner Report by Analyst Nick Jones. February 23, 2011.M-Libraries, Library Success Wiki - Haefele’s Mobile Site Generator - Mobile Sites -
  57. 57. Thanks!Rachel VacekHead of Web ServicesUniversity of Houston Librariesvacekrae@gmail.com available