I was recently on the Top Tech Trends panel at the American Library Association’s annual conference (and have finally recuperated – whew!).
Someone asked me for references to the stats I quoted. Here they are, with a version of what I said (quasi-outline form).
My trend was Mobile First technology:
Some stats (with links!):
- Globally, 1 in 5 people own a smartphone
- Globally, 1 in 17 people own a tablet
- 91% of people sleep within arm’s reach of their mobile device
- Mobile devices have surpassed newspapers and magazines as a favorite consumption platform
- 99% use their device every day
- 78% of teens have a cell phone
- 32% of visits to my library’s website using mobile devices (this stat came from Google Analytics for my library’s website)
What’s going on here?
- Mobile revolution. Smartphones and tablets.
- wifi & cell connectivity pretty much anywhere. Except in my hotel.
- This allows people to connect whenever.
And this is HUGE.
My trend is Mobile First technology. This is the idea that websites should be designed for mobile devices first, and then expand out. Desktops get an enhanced site experience (bigger buttons, full logo) rather than mobiles getting a pared down one.
You can also apply this philosophy to a larger library setting, there are some pretty big ramifications for how we work:
- mobile on website – Build for mobile first. Write for mobile (there’s a way to do it to make it look “right” on mobile devices). If it doesn’t work on a mobile device … maybe you don’t need it anywhere.
- mobile in building – Huge untapped user base here. wifi, power. Power cables and charging stations to check out. Comfy chairs. Text messaging in catalog. Simple things like signage – “we have wifi” or “we have ebooks.”
- mobile in community – Wifi in 9 blocks. Jason’s LibraryBoxes in the park or at the farmer’s market. Mifi hotspot at the farmer’s market. Ebooks in the mall. Etc.
- mobile for staff – who uses a smartphone for work-related activities? And does your library pay for it, or subsidize it? Maybe they should. Wifi for staff. Tablets for reference staff.
Final thought – Mobile has been a trend for awhile now. But I don’t think libraries have a mobile first philosophy yet. We don’t have some simple “mobile first” things yet, like a truly responsive mobile-friendly website, let alone great mobile access and services in the building or our community.
So let’s start working on mobile first NOW.
Pic by Karlis Dambrans