Two Branches at the Same TIme

Ever thought about this? With two physical, brick-and-mortar library branches, you have to use them one at a time. Can’t use both at once!

But with a digital branch, you can. You can be in the physical library building, and can use the digital branch at the same time. You might be reading an article, checking out an ebook on your mobile device, asking a question via live chat, or wandering the stacks with smartphone in hand, looking for a book.

But you can use both. At the same time. And people do.

So make sure to design your physical branches – the building, and especially the signage – with your digital branch customers in mind. What are some things you can do to help digital branch customers while they’re in your physical building?

  • Lots of “we have free wifi” signs
  • Signs by the physical books, talking about your new ebooks or databases
  • Smartphone recharging stations
  • Comfortable seating, with power nearby
  • Mentions of social media (signs on the doors, etc)

Hmm … good signage, comfortable seating, and power. What else? What am I missing?

Image by TheeErin

My Smartphone has Replaced these Things

I’ve noticed that I use my iPhone for a bunch of stuff that I used to have another device or system for. Here’s what I mean:

  • Paper plane tickets: I recently started using e-tickets with the iPhone’s Passbook. Works great, and I don’t have to carry rumpled-up paper tickets anymore.
  • Guitar tuner: I use Guitar Toolkit for that. It’s actually the most accurate tuner I’ve ever owned!
  • Metronome: I now have lots of app-based metronomes, so there’s no need for a hardware-based metronome anymore.
  • Drum machine: I tend to use drum machines for metronomes. On my iPhone, I use DrumTrack8, and on my iPad, I use DM1. Both are fabulous.
  • Alarm clock: I use the built-in Clock app, and it works great. No need for a travel alarm clock, or a hotel wake-up call anymore!
  • Bible: YouVersion from Lifechurch.tv. Coolest Bible app ever.
  • Camera: I still use fancier cameras, but for a simple point-and-shoot? My iPhone is great at that – as long as I don’t need to zoom.
  • Encyclopedia: What’s that? I have Google/Wikipedia/etc. In my pocket.
  • Newspaper: There are a TON of news apps. I do most of my iOS news reading via the Flipboard app.
  • Weather radio: I live in Kansas. I need to know when those tornado warnings go off. My TWC Max app from The Weather Channel goes off when the weather does.
  • Notebook: See my last post on iA Writer and Byword. But I still like a good Moleskine notebook and a pencil, too.
  • Calculator: the default iOS calculator app is always with me…
  • Calendar/Daytimer: Currently using Tempo and Any.DO for these.
  • Exercise book or video: Currently using the brutal YAYOG (You Are Your Own Gym) app. Pretty handy!
  • Voice recorder for reminders: There are a ton of apps for this, too. I frequently use Evernote for this.

Do you use your smartphone or tablet for things you used to carry around? Extra gadgets that did unique things for you? Share in the comments!

How People Use Smartphones

My library’s Web Developer, Nathan Pauley, emailed this infographic to me, and it’s really cool! They studied smartphone use (or more accurately, it looks like they studied web and app use on smartphones, since they excluded email, sms messages, and voice calls from their infographic).

I’ve not clicked through to pay for the whole study, but this single page provides plenty of food for fodder:

  • 68% of smartphone use happens at home.
  • Love the different labels for stuff people do on their smartphones, like self-expression.

Two weird things:

  1. Self-expression – I guess this is where you’d put content creation? Posting to Tumblr or Instagram, for example? How do they tell the difference between a Facebook post that’s self-expression (writing a haiku, for example) vs a Facebook post that’s socializing?
  2. Socializing – why didn’t they just include email, sms messages, and normal voice phone stuff here?

Either way, take a peek, access the study (if it’s not too much – I haven’t clicked through), and give it some thought.

Four Mobile Options for Libraries

I just read Your 4 Mobile Options by Paul Boag. Good stuff! In the article, Paul suggests that there are basically four options when it comes to having a mobile presence (taken from Paul’s article – you should go read the whole thing!):

  1. Responsive website: A responsive website is one that adapts to whatever device it is being viewed on. Whether that is a desktop computer, tablet or mobile device, the same website will display the same content using a visual design most suited to that device.
  2. Native application: Native apps are applications that run physically on the mobile device and are coded specifically for the operating system of that device. These are the applications you typically find in either the Google Play or iOS App Store.
  3. Web application: A web application shares characteristics with both a native application and a responsive website. As with a responsive website a web application is built using HTML, CSS and Javascript and lives entirely online.
  4. Hybrid application: A hybrid application is essentially a native application built with HTML, CSS and Javascript. By building it with web technology it is quicker to develop and easier to publish to multiple platforms (e.g. iOS or Android). The downsides are that performance tends not to be as good and they lack the design style of each platform.

Which one of these options should libraries use? Paul says this as a general rule of thumb: “A good starting point is to ask whether users are primarily completing a task or accessing information.”

I’d agree – that’s a good starting point. I’d go a bit farther, and say this – figure out what your mobile users are doing, and how they do it, and more importantly – WHAT they want to do. Then figure out the right flavor of mobile accessibility that best meets those needs. Also, figure out what you can do. For example, when my library was still on Horizon for our library catalog, we chose Boopsie because they could create a mobile version of our catalog (something our vendor hadn’t yet figured out). So we went with an app-driven mobile catalog.

We’re on Polaris now, and it comes with a web-based catalog that works great. Will we stay with our Boopsie app? Not necessarily, since the mobile version of Polaris works well. More on that later this year!

One other thing – if you haven’t yet started to think about the mobile web … why not? Pick something – anything – and start. Your smartphone-loving public is waiting!

Pic of Paul Boag from boagworld.com

I Was Hacked!

On Wednesday night, I was hacked.

OK, more appropriately, I received a weird text message with a web link, and I apparently clicked that link, not really thinking about it.

And that somehow opened the door to my gmail account, which then started sending out hundreds of emails to all my contacts.

Well that’s embarrassing.

What did I do? Well, first, I received a few quick tweets and texts, saying “oh oh, I think you’ve been hacked!” (thanks guys for being so fast!). Then I wasted no time in accessing my email account and changing my password. Then deleting all those emails, answering a bunch of emails (i.e., “yes, I was hacked. Don’t click that link. Sorry!”), etc.

Blake over at LISHost (my web hosted) even shut down my website for a few minutes once he saw that I had been hacked – Blake and LISHost is awesome, as always!

Moral of the story?

  • Don’t click weird text message links :-)
  • Or – pay attention. I wasn’t.
  • Don’t click those “what were you doing in this video” messages that you probably get in Twitter.
  • If you get a wierd email from me or from someone else with a web link in it, don’t click it!

On my phone, I also set up Google Authenticator. It’s an app from Google that works with Google’s 2-step verification, and provides an additional layer of security when signing in. And prevents stuff like what I did last night.

Because, well, you know … it happened to me, it can happen to you, too.