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Considerations for Your Mobile Library


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The ubiquity of mobile devices has changed how people access information, and users expect libraries to provide mobile interfaces to that information. In this session, learn about the benefits and drawbacks of building a mobile website versus building a mobile application and get ideas for innovative services and tools for your library’s mobile environment

Published in: Education, Technology
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Considerations for Your Mobile Library

  1. 1. Considerations for Your Mobile Library Rachel Vacek, Head of Web Services, University of Houston Libraries TLA Annual Conference Houston, TX April 17, 2012 @ vacekrae #txla12
  2. 2. What kind ofmobile devices doYOU have? What do you doon them? Have you evertried being amobile user inyour own library?
  3. 3. Should the resourcesand services that are in your physicalbuilding and on your website also be offered on your mobile website?
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. With so many options, how do you begin to plan for a mobile website?
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. Ask questions Why does your library want amobile presence? What are your peer librariesdoing? Do you know what yourusers want? What defines success?
  8. 8. Which do you choose? mobile website or native application
  9. 9. Mobile Application Mobile Website •  Runs locally, resulting in quick •  Relies on the Internet, resulting inPerformance loading time slower load and response time •  An app has to be developed for •  Device agnostic, so only one website each platform, pushed to each 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 device Supportability 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
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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 emails Operational •  Must have room on the •  Good cellular or wifi signal is Issues smartphone to download required •  Application development •  Knowledge of HTML and CSS demands more sophisticated skills for basic mobile theming •  Developers with these skills are •  Skills in HTML5 and PHP are Skill Set harder to find useful for creating more engaging websites, but not all smartphone browsers support HTML5 yet
  12. 12. Which is best for your library?
  13. 13. You know what’s on your website You know the needs of your users You know what tech skills you haveavailable to you You know the limitations of yourlibrary’s wifi
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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 - •  Drupal that power your website? Find a mobile Have an open-source cms like Wordpress or friendly theme
  16. 16. 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 -
  17. 17. 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 in content from other systems if you can (RSS feeds, APIs, etc.)
  18. 18. UH Libraries Mobile Web Presence
  19. 19. UH Libraries Mobile Website - Think differently about the RSS feeds are quick and easyhierarchy of your homepage but have limitations
  20. 20. UH Libraries Include catalog and/or LibGuides comes with adiscovery platform, but be mobile interface, too clear on tool’s purpose
  21. 21. UH Libraries Pulling in computer What’s open now? Hours availability also pulled in with API
  22. 22. UH LibrariesYou have videos? Create a Show off your images onchannel and include them your library s Flickr site
  23. 23. Walking Tours – Collaborated with Highlighting images from Admissions to create the Digital Library campus walking tour
  24. 24. Connecting physical to virtual in exhibits Used QRcodes forSpanish toEnglishtranslations,and for videointerviews
  25. 25. Future Services •  Mobile version of the Digital Library •  Mobile-friendly databases •  Learning Commons equipment availability •  Cameras, video cameras, laptops, tablets, etc. •  Room/computer reservation •  More social media integration •  Augmented reality layar
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. Resources •  Choosing Between Native and Mobile Web Applications. Gartner Report by Analyst Nick Jones. February 23, 2011. •  M-Libraries, Library Success Wiki - Libraries •  Chad Haefele s Mobile Site Generator - •  Google Mobile Sites -
  29. 29. Thanks! Rachel Vacek Head of Web Services,University of HoustonLibraries @vacekrae