Smartphones, Libraries, and your website

I was just looking at March 2012 statistics on my library’s website. Here’s what I saw:

  • 39,161 visits to our website in March
  • 3486 visits via a mobile device.
  • that means slightly more than 11% visited via a mobile device
  • Those devices? Mainly iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches – 57.89%
  • That fits with the web browsers that visited our site – 14.11% were Safari (think ithingies here)

Now look at Pew’s newest Smartphone Update, released on March 1: 46% of American adults are smartphone owners as of Feb 2012. There was an increase of 11% in just 9 months.

And check this out – it’s not just wealthy people getting smartphones:

“Nearly every major demographic group—men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well-off—experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration over the last year. Overall adoption levels are at 60% or more within several cohorts, such as college graduates, 18-35 year olds and those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more.”

So my question to you: are you designing for mobile? A mobile app, or a mobile website?

If you haven’t yet started building with mobile in mind, now is definitely the time to start – you are very close to alienating almost half your customers. They are interacting with their favorite sites online using their smartphone (think Facebook, Amazon, Youtube, etc.).

Wanna be one of those favorite sites too? Then you had better get that mobile site up and running FAST.

smartphone photo by Bigstock

My Computers in Libraries 2012 Presentations

As usual, I had a great time at Computers in Libraries 2012 (#CILDC). I learned some interesting things, and met some really cool people too.

I also gave a few presentations (ok – five presentations). Here are a couple of my slidedecks and some notes people took during the presentations, so you can get a feel for my sessions. Enjoy!

1. Seven Essential Elements to an Awesome Library Website

Nicole Engard took some pretty thorough notes! This slidedeck made the main page of Slideshare, in the Featured and the Top Pro Content sections!).

2. Digital Hangouts: Reaching Outside the Building

Digital Hangouts: Reaching Outside the Building

View more presentations from David King
This slidedeck also made the main page of Slideshare, in the Top Pro Content section. Sweet!
3. The Next Big Thing – an interactive panel (Jill Hurst-Wahl’s notes).

4. Benchmark Study – Library Spending and Priorities 2012 (another panel – notes from Joanna’s Conference Reports blog).

5. Let’s Make Video! (a preconference workshop with Michael Porter. Notes from the Montana BTOP Technology Training blog).

CILDC Day One: Mobile and Augmented Reality

So I’m at Computers in Libraries 2012 in Washington DC – always a great conference! Make sure to check out presentations online, and follow the #cildc hashtag on twitter… Here’s a couple of notes from a session … more to come later!

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I walked in late to this session, but what I heard was great.

Jeff Wisniewski was talking about mobile stuff, and said this:

mobile first is different than mobile-friendly! Then gave examples of how some people are redesigning websites with tablets and smartphone functionality in mind.

Good stuff…

Next up – Cindy Hart, talking about augmented reality and library resources for enhanced digital storytelling…

they used http://tagwhat.com/ to help them create stories. Looks like a cool tool to check out!

Internet Librarian 2011: 20 steps to better web services

Sarah Houghton – librarianinblack.net

#1 – where to put your websites.

WordPress. Blogger. Drupal – not really where your website goes… Squarespace – not free, but cheap.

#2 – images.

Gimp. Image editing program.
picasa – edit and host images.
Picnik – simple editing that most people need. Connected to Flickr
Flickr – great place to host, find cc-licensed photos
Pictobrowser – great slideshow for images
Openphoto – free images – high quality

#3 – hot topics

Addictomatic – info gathering place Sarah’s library used this for a local city emergency

#4 – make ur codez priteez

Beautify JavaScript – helps make code pretty – also CSS beautify

#5 – surveys and polls

Google forms – simple and easy
Polldaddy – easy polling

#6 – slider

Wow slider – web based image rotator/slider

#7 – translate

Google translate – easy, adequate.

#8 – remote assistance

Log me in (logmein) – remote access to your pc or Mac – there’s a free version. This is a very quick tool. I sends an email asking for permission to access the other persons computer

#9 – wireframing

Balsamiq – gives pre-made parts and pieces

Wow – 40% of Sarah’s library web traffic is mobile

#10 – testing your mobile stuff

W3c mobileOK Checker

#11 – stats

Google analytics

#12 – Skype

Great place to talk to users, to staff, etc

#13 – social management

Tweetdeck
Namechk – searches dozens of sites to find names that you can use

#14 – webcasts
Slideshares zipcast – works great.

#15 – video

Jaycut – browser based editing tool
YouTube – they have online editing too
Animato
Xtranormal

#16 – audio

Audacity
Podbean – great place to host audio

#17 – learning environments

Moodle

#18 – infographics

Visual.ly

#19 – librarything

#20 – the google

Google plus has some potentially cool stuff…

Helios – from the audience
Cheap calendar … ?

Copying Other Websites During a Redesign

During my library’s last website redesign, we went through quite a few design iterations, and we still weren’t happy. Two people in our Creative Group team (more on that in the next post) … ok, our head of marketing and the deputy director … kept sending us website examples they liked. Sites like shoe stores or clothing shops. Yes, they were beautiful websites, and nicely designed. But they weren’t really all that similar to a library website.

One big difference – these attractive websites did one thing well – they sold shoes or clothes. They didn’t have any catalog to speak of. The websites were full of single pages that pointed to single items.

But a library website has at least two basic needs – a site that talks about the library, and shares useful stuff. And we have a library catalog. So it didn’t really make much sense to me to base our library website design around a site that only does half of what we do.

So I started poking around, looking for websites that focus on two things:

  1. stuff, like a storefront.
  2. a “catalog” of some sort.

Amazon and Zappos? Pretty much all catalog. News sites? Pretty much large multi-blog sites – focusing on stuff. Then it dawned on me – library websites are like Apple. Apple essentially has two separate websites – the main site that focuses on their stuff, and their “catalog” – their online store.

We based our redesign around Apple, in these ways:

  • Top horizontal navigation with drop down menus. We also found some “nav bar inspiration” at NPR’s website.
  • Focusing on a single large ad, then a couple of smaller ones, then more detailed content below that – based on many of Apple’s pages. This directs customers to a few things that you REALLY WANT THEM TO DO, while still having easy access to everything else.
  • A prominent link to the store. That’s where you’d click “Find Stuff” to get to our three catalogs (catalog, digital downloads catalog, and DVD dispenser catalog).

So far, it’s working out great – few complaints, lots of compliments. Our public trainers have told us they cut down training on how to use our website from an hour to 10-15 minutes. Fingers crossed that it stays that way for a while!