Technology | June 13, 2017
In order to remain relevant in the community, a mobile-friendly library website may no longer be a nice-to-have, but a necessity. Consider these concepts.
Recently EBSCO and our partner, Stacks, held a webinar focusing on the key elements that create a mobile-friendly library website, ultimately satisfying the expectation of your patrons. From the mobile-first strategy, to the value of mobile apps, there are a lot of great concepts to consider when it comes to creating a mobile-friendly library website.
Mobile and tablet usage reports indicate that internet usage by these devices has finally exceeded that of desktops. Pew Research Center highlighted in its Libraries 2016 report, which focused on American libraries, that half of those who visited a public library website did so using a hand-held device. These kind of statistics are shouting loud and clear that mobile access is not just a trend, but here to stay. In addition, mobile compatibility is a top library website challenge for administrators. Building a mobile-friendly library website means that you are remaining relevant in the community and also responding to your patrons needs.
A mobile-first strategy means a few things. First, your library website is designed first for a smaller screen, then features and content are added for larger screens. Second, displayed elements respond to the user’s behavior based on their screen size, as well as the platform they are using (think Android vs. iOS). A mobile-first strategy also takes into consideration how a user is accessing a website — for example, “heavy” design elements like sliders and videos will slow down the load time of your library website and become more bothersome if your patron does not have strong internet access. Even Google has begun to penalize non-responsive websites, ultimately affecting page ranking in Google search results. All of these concepts, plus other website secrets, should be considered when creating a mobile-friendly library website.
A native mobile app for your library may seem like a need further down the road. But consider this―millennials, ages 18-24, are now the top smartphone users according to Nielsen. Millennials are app-loving, tech trending individuals and will eventually grow into your main patron demographic (if they haven’t already). Providing a native mobile app not only keeps you relevant with this growing demographic, it also can provide an easy user experience for all of your patrons. Native library mobile apps allow patrons to scan a barcode of a book to see if is available in your library. An app can also digitize the library membership card and account management, and more. Most importantly, a native mobile app for your library can pull through library branding to create a cohesive and mobile-friendly library experience — whenever, wherever.
The trick to creating a mobile-friendly library website is knowing where to start. Watch the webinar recording “Understanding the Mobile Patron” presented by Stacks Chief Design Officer, Kevin Horek. Kevin shares his industry knowledge on these two topics and a fool-proof solution for creating a mobile-friendly library website.
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