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David Lee King



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!):

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

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So, I have to go spend a week in Las Vegas starting tomorrow… for the American Library Association’s annual conference!

My time there will be filled with committee work for LITA, A couple of sessions here and there, and much time in the exhibit hall, hunting down vendors new and old. OK, and “networking” too. Gotta have that!

On Sunday, I’ll be one of the panelists in the popular Top Tech Trends session – 1-2:30pm in the convention center. Come participate and say hi!

If you can’t make it, you can definitely follow along on Twitter – watch the #alattt hashtag. Or just follow the whole huge conference with the #alaac14 hashtag.

Hope to see you there!

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Makerbot Replicator 5th GenerationA little over a month or so ago, my library bought our first 3D printer, a Makerbot – the newest, 5th Generation Makerbot.

Our goal is to put it out for public use this fall (one of the options in our planned makerspace/digital media lab).

But guess what? We can’t get the thing to work consistently. It’s easy to use, the controls are great, the filament is easy to load, and their new Smart Extruder print head is easy to work with.

Well – it’s easy to work with until there’s a jam or clog. Guess what? The Smart Extruder isn’t so smart when it comes to clogs, because you can’t really take the thing apart to unclog it.

We’ve had to send the extruder back to Makerbot and get a replacement … about 4-5 times now. In a month and a half.

Not good, Makerbot! I’m guessing you guys can do better than that!

Fingers crossed this gets figured out, or we’ll have to send the whole thing back and find another option.

So – who has 3D printers out for public use? Which ones? I’d love to know – especially if I have to find another one!

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Usability is Still a Thing



AirTran Check-In

Usability. It’s something ALL websites should work on … all the time.

For example, check out this AirTran page. I was checking in and printing boarding passes for my daughter, and this page appeared. Directly underneath the “print now” label, there’s a button that says “continue.” The button is big, obvious, the text is bolded, and it’s right underneath the “print now” label.

Guess what I did? I clicked “continue.” Which was the wrong thing to do. There’s actually a “print” button there too, to the right of everything. Pushed off to the side, no bolded text, smaller, etc.

Do you think AirTran could improve this? Yep. Pretty easily.

Now – think about your websites. Is there anything … anything at all … that you could improve pretty simply?

Probably so. Go do it.

 

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I’ve come to the end of my thoughts (for now) on developing an online first mentality for your library. Here’s a handy list of the whole series of articles:

Developing an Online First Mentality:

To finish up, here’s some further reading on the idea of creating an online first mentality. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

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