Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ACRL 2011: Mobile Websites

Another big topic at the ACRL Conference, and one in which I was particularly interested, was mobile websites. This is something we are working toward at my library.

I attended several presentations on this topic:
  1. Mobilize Your Library: Creating a Mobile Website. Presenter: Micheal DeMars, California State University-Fullerton
  2. The Library's Swiss-Army Knife: Using Smart Phones for Information Discovery, Content Delivery, and Inventory Management. Presenters: Stacy Brinkman, Jason Paul Michel, Jim Clarke, and Bo Brinkman; Miami University
From these presentations, I learned:
  1. There are a few options for making library information available on mobile phones: create a mobile website, build an app, or a combination. Both of these institutions chose to create a mobile website - because it's easier, updating the code is simpler, and it's accessible on most devices.
  2. If you use Google Analytics, it will show you how many mobile visits your website is getting, as well as which platforms (Android/iPhone/etc) people are using. One library focused on making a mobile website that worked well on Android and iPhone because that's how the vast majority of their users were accessing their site. For us, the iPad, iPhone, and Android appear to be the most important.
  3. For a list of libraries with mobile websites, visit the Library Success wiki's M-Libraries list.
  4. For best practices, see W3C: The Web and Mobile Devices, Apple iPhone Standards (presumably that's somewhere on this site, but I'm mostly seeing info specific to creating apps - maybe that's all they have?), Smashing Magazine, and Android Best Practices (see the list on the left for a section containing best practices).
  5. Both libraries only included stuff that had been optimized for mobile devices.
  6. Categories: Research/Search, Events, People, Help, social media icons (Facebook, Twitter, library blog), Hours, Ask Us (Texting), Computer Availability, Video Tutorials, etc. The two libraries varied on what they called things, but both included social media.
  7. One library uses automatic detection to send phone users to the mobile site, the other has a mobile URL that they publicize. The one that uses automatic detection includes a link to the regular full site, but mentioned that it was hard to override the automatic detection mechanism.
  8. Databases with mobile versions: EBSCOhost, JSTOR (beta), ARTSTOR, WorldCat.
Also, while Google-ing around for other stuff, I stumbled across iLibrarian: 7 Tools to Create a Mobile Library Website (without Technical Knowledge!).

Currently, we have enabled EBSCO's mobile site, we're about to start using Innovative Interfaces' AirPAC, and we are starting to plan out what all to include in a mobile site.

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