IL 2011: Mobile Landscape

Mobile Landscape, Cool Tools and the Future
Featuring three groups of presenters
A Survey of (Smart) Mobile User Trends at the Oviatt Library
Elizabeth Altman, Doris Helfer (Mary S. Woodley in absentia)

  • 25% of users normally use smartphones to access internet rather than computer
  • high use rate of non-traditional uses (social networking, etc.) (Pew: How Americans Use Their Cell Phones)

Why do this? Had developed several mobile things already (FB, Twitter, text-a-librarian, text-a-call-number, mobile site). What do we need to do to best serve our users? Optimize & expand access to library resources on mobile devices and wanted to know what they wanted first.

Survey designed to allow users to self-identify as smartphone user or not; kicked out those who said they were not. Demographics came pretty close to campus demographics. Mostly iPhone, Android, BBerry lagging.

What were they doing?

  • Mostly texting. Least = shopping.
  • Favorite apps – free-text field that they categorized. Mostly social media. 2% using for reading.

Which of the library mobile services do they use? Mostly hours (mobile website), 25% hadn’t used any library mobile services.

Most requested? Renew library books. Could already do it but it wasn’t pretty. Second was reading e-text on the phones — books, full text journals.

gone mobile?
Lisa Carlucci Thomas (@lisacarlucci)

People use mobile phones to connect with their lives in all kinds of ways. Checking hours, calendars, all that kind of stuff.

LJ sent an email survey out to public and academic librarians — 15% response rate. 44% academic/34% public offer some kind of mobile service. Leading services — mobile website, catalog, SMS notifications & reference services.

35% academic/44% public have “no plans to offer in the next two years” For those that were, they were looking at mobile site & catalog access.

Why not offering?

  • 50+% of each type of library said budget.
  • Perceptions: “why would we?” They don’t see their community using it so they don’t see the value.
  • Priorities: limited demand, unreliable/insufficient tech available to them
  • Skills: only one person here who does ALL the tech stuff. “there is no time.”

How are those that are doing this facing these challenges?

Budget – mobile doesn’t have to be expensive: WordPress, LibGuides

Perceptions – “new norms exist for the mobile accessible library.” Less is more – doesn’t have to be your ENTIRE website. What are your users already trying to find/what would be most helpful in a mobile format?

Priorities – “just because one implementation isn’t used doesn’t mean it isn’t usable in the library”

Skills – connect & collaborate with others. Identify people with skillsets that complement yours & work together.

mobile tools and trends
Jeff Wisniewski


  • mobile first design: focus on the stuff that’s really essential, as if you’re designing for mobile (not necessarily look & feel, but the “critical attention/distillation of services”). Design for swipe-ability – works well on a tablet and equally well on a desktop. Examples: Amazon designed the Prime homepage to work well on a tablet since they are offering free trial to Kindle Fire people. You get the same thing on the desktop and it works great. BBC has a beta of their new website which was designed to translate well to tablets.
  • location-triggered alterting: not new, but the new iOS has this baked in. “Context-full text alert.” “When I’m near the library remind me I need to return those books in the backseat.” Android app called Tasker does the same thing.

Cool apps

  • wifi joiner for android – creates a QR code that when scanned will join the device to the wireless network.
  • idea flight: share a presentation between up to 15 iPads, controlled by “master” iPad
  • mobjectify: mobile site or app mockups using templates
  • UCLA mobile web framework: standards-based mobile web app builder, uses HTML CSS, JavaScript, PHP