Tag Archives: mobile

Going mobile: lessons learned #ndf2012

Going mobile: lessons learned
Francesca Ford and Brooke Carson-Ewart, Art Gallery of NSW
Over the past year the Art Gallery of NSW have designed and built new apps to deliver rich content via mobile phone and tablet devices. We now have a mobile website and visitor iOS app; we have also produced the first two in a planned series of iPad apps focussing on different parts of the collection. Responding quickly to internal and external demands to deliver content via new devices and in new ways has been an incredible challenge. Along the way we’ve made plenty of mistakes and continuously revise our way forward, we’d like to demonstrate what we’ve built so far and tell the story of how we got there.

Built new CMS in 2010 and wanted new web presence. Built with only desktop users in mind and only later started thinking about mobile devices. At first hard for staff to imagine that they didn’t represent the wider world.

2010 “The First Emperor” was their first mobile exhibition app – downloaded 13,000 times. Positioned mobile apps as a marketing tool but wanted to created something longer lasting.

“The MOMA Effect” = keeping up with the Joneses. Helps show value of these apps to people unfamiliar with tech. Created a benchmarking document which was powerful in convincing executive and trust to put money into these projects.

“Contemporary” was first iPad app. New gallery construction allowed them to add wifi capability so people could use mobile apps in the gallery. Had iPads with headphones available for users. Decided not to lock them down – “knew we were asking for trouble” but wanted to see what happened. Older users avoided touching iPads or engaged only with default view. Younger users would close down exhibit app and use others eg photo app. Played with settings to change background image, language, generally personalise it. Others tried to download games, apps, music from the iTunes store. Eye-opening and sometimes inspiring – but in the end couldn’t leave them unlocked.

Didn’t want to make iPads into touchscreen kiosks either so worked with people to enable people to pick them up and use them as iPads. Setup isn’t foolproof and apps did crash. Have learned to live with fact that things don’t always work. Gallery service officers have learned to stand back and let people experiment.

The “Mona (sp? Moaner?) Effect” – “I love this but I don’t know why. I want to create something the same but completely different”.

In the space of one month went from having to campaign hard to do anything to having everyone wanting them to do things, so had to come up with a way to manage it sustainably.

“First Emperor” app was expensive and though it’s still on the app store it didn’t really have a lifespan beyond the exhibition. And on the other hand, apps also require ongoing maintenance, they don’t just end when the exhibition does.

Created mobile site – so many opinions that it could have ended up as a replication of the main site, but wanted to break away from this. Had to build fast so no time for community signoff on every decision (“which is a good thing…”)

Thought Android users would be glad for a mobile site but found out they didn’t think this substituted for an app. Initial design was also rejected and had to go back to drawing board rapidly.

Had to get wifi working across whole gallery, not just one space. Challenging but the hardest part was convincing IT it could and should be done and wouldn’t result in users coming in to download Twilight. Currently 80% wifi coverage, aiming at 100%.

Effective usertesting with no resources? Don’t underestimate informal and impromptu testing – got a lot out of watching users use tools. IPads got dirty at end of day. (Note: white backgrounds show fewer fingerprints than black ones.) Users happy to give opinions especially if they don’t like it!

Marketing another challenge especially with budgets shrinking. Often marketing department is genuinely shocked and surprised that media is interested in this news!

Want to do more – geolocation, mobile tours, digitising print catalogues.

Mobile vs Smartphones & other links of interest 14/4/10

Mobile vs Smartphones
Roy Tennant suggests not making any more mobile websites as research suggests more people (in the US) are getting smartphones that can support anything a normal web-browser can support. (Though I don’t know of any smartphone that supports a 1024×768 screensize…) Smartphone applications seem to be trending instead. The iLibrarian rounds up her Top 30 Library iPhone Apps (part 2 and part 3). Why an application when you’ve already got a website? Phil Windley points out that “If my bank can get me to download an app, then they have a permanent space on my app list.” The trade-off is that whereas a website should work on any browser, smartphone apps often need to be in proprietary formats (the Librarian in Black particularly complains about Apple’s iPhone in this respect).

Web 2.0
Common Craft has a 3-minute video explaining “Cloud Computing in Plain English“.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries and Brown University Library provide a “dashboard” of widgets on their websites displaying current statistics about library usage.

View from the top 🙂
The University Librarian at McMaster University Library blogs results from their laptop survey. Apparently laptop circulation now accounts for about a third of their total circulation stats; their survey looks into how students are using the laptops.

The Director of Librarys at the State University of New York at Potsdam blogs about “What I’ve Learned” in the first 10 months of her job there.

Scandal of the week…
Barbara Fister summarises recent discussion about EBSCO as the “New Evil Empire” in her Library Journal article “Big vendor frustrations, disempowered librarians, and the ends of empire“.

Alice for the iPad – one of the ways technology can enhance the book.

Links of interest 2/2/10

Not a chain of convenience stores – this Foursquare is a website/application that lets you use your cellphone etc to “check in” when you reach locations like cafes, movie theatres, libraries, etc. At its worst this floods your friends with endless notifications: “Now I’m at the dairy! Now I’m at home! Now I’m at the busstop! Now I’m at work! Now…!” But at best you walk into your favourite cafe and:

  • read tips from other customers about what to order or avoid;
  • win a prize from the cafe itself;
  • discover that your friend is in the area and arrange for them to meet you for a quick cuppa.

Some recent blogposts discussing the value of Foursquare for libraries (read the comments as well!) include:

Publishing scandals du jour
EBSCO buys up exclusive electronic access to a number of popular periodicals which will be removed from other databases that used to provide them. Reactions:

During negotiations between Amazon and “big 6” publisher Macmillan over pricing of ebooks, Amazon removed all Macmillan titles (electronic and print) from its database. Reactions:

In case you’re curious about non-Amazon options, there’s a number of online bookstores in New Zealand and I’ve recently discovered The Book Depository in the UK with free international shipping.

Bookcovers in LibGuides
Springshare have announced a partnership with Syndetics so we can now use Syndetics bookcover images in our LibGuides. This is just like using the images from Amazon before – when adding a featured book just insert ISBN, click icon, and voila a cover image – but click the “S” (Syndetics) icon instead of the Amazon icon. An added advantage is that Syndetics works with ISBN-13 as well as ISBN-10 (Amazon is limited to ISBN-10).

European theses
The DART-Europe E-theses Portal gathers and provides “access to 123327 full-text research theses from 210 universities sourced from 16 European countries”.

Links of interest 23/12/09

Christmas tree made from books
“star topper” by LMU Library
used on a Creative Commons
BY-NC-SA license
(Photos of tree construction.)

M-libraries (libraries on mobile devices
Library on the Go (pdf) “explores student use of the mobile Web in general and expectations for an academic library’s mobile Web site in particular through focus groups with students at Kent State University. Participants expressed more interest in using their mobile Web device to interact with library resources and services than anticipated. Results showed an interest in using research databases, the library catalog, and reference services on the mobile Web as well as contacting and being contacted by the library using text messaging.”

library/mobile: Tips on Designing and Developing Mobile Web Sites shares “Oregon State University (OSU) Libraries’ experience creating a mobile Web presence and will provide key design and development strategies for building mobile Web sites”.

Infomaki: An Open Source, Lightweight Usability Testing Tool describes a tool developed by New York Public Library to spread the usability testing load among visitors to their website – visitors are asked if they want to answer a single question; if not, they’re not bothered again; if they do answer it they’re given the option to answer another one. Because it’s not asking much of an investment in time a lot of people will do it, and then because it’s so easy a lot will answer more than one: “In just over seven months of use, it has fielded over 100,000 responses from over 10,000 respondents.”

University of Michigan has made available two reports about the usability of their LibGuides.

Search interfaces
Google Labs is trialling Image Swirl which adds an “images related to this one” functionality to their image search in a lovely visual way.

Happy Holidays!

Links of interest 12/8/09

Louisville Free Public Library, Kentucky, suffered a flash flood; a librarian there has been posting updates and photos via Twitter. There’s an interview with the library director plus photos and the Library Society of the World (a grassroots organisation based on social networking, the absence of policies, and a stringent Cod of Ethics) is fundraising US$5000 to help out – latest I heard today they’d reached $2700.

Web and search
Curtin Library have created an optimised website for mobile phones.

You can now search for Creative Commons material across various sites in a single place, to find free photos, music, and videos.

If you’ve got an image on your computer and you’re not sure where it’s from (or if you’ve uploaded an image and want to see if anyone else has stolen it), Tineye may be able to find it. Like any search engine it only indexes a portion of the web but it’s indexing more all the time.

Subject guides
Some libraries are discussing ways to use LibGuides material in other parts of their library websites.

A new edition of the Internet Resources Newsletter is out, as usual listing a whole lot of new websites in a broad variety of subject areas – many could be useful for subject guides.

Food for thought
A bunch of librarians have been writing A Day in the Life of a Librarian blog posts – interesting to see what goes on in different libraries and different positions.

Seth Godin charts media according to bandwidth/value of information vs synchronicity/speed of communication – an interesting way of thinking about the way we communicate with our users.

Links of interest 12/5/09

Lav Notes: help for the stalled (pdf) is a one-side library newsletter posted in library bathroom stalls. A colleague of its author mentions a library which posted butcher paper in the bathroom stalls and invited temporary grafitti. Cheaper than repainting!

Finding Physical Properties of Chemicals: A Practical Guide for Scientists, Engineers, and Librarians (pdf)

From Twitter, “New Zealand music month + free performances = [Dunedin Public Library’s] YouTube channel enjoy!”

University of Oregon Library[‘s] faculty unanimously passed a resolution requiring all library faculty-authored scholarly articles to be licensed CC BY-NC-ND.” That is, they retain copyright but authorise anyone to copy, share and use it so long as they attribute its source (BY), use it for non-commercial purposes only (NC), and don’t change it (non-derivative=ND).

Notes from a presentation “on the potential use of mobile devices and cell phones for providing library services and resources“.

More and more people have web-enabled cellphones. Examples of libraries who’ve done this include:

Non-English blog roundup #10

Bibliobsession has posted a set of slides on Towards Library Ecosystems (French). It begins with an introduction to web 2.0 then points out, “A collection doesn’t exist without its users and its uses.” (slide 61) It goes on to discuss the library as an ecosystem: “creating links with other ecosystems in order to benefit from network effects which guarantee it a social utility”.

Bobobiblioblog (French)

  • asks medical students if they’ve used Wikipedia – pretty much all have. Have they edited it? None – “Ah, no, once, a timid young woman whispered that she’d corrected a spelling mistake in one article.”) Bobobiblioblog wonders whether “the general rule is perhaps to have a consumerist attitude towards Wikipedia – using it without participating in it”. [I don’t think it’s necessarily as bad as that – remember the general 90-9-1 theory: 90% use it, 9% contribute occasionally, 1% contribute regularly.]
  • writes about adding an institutional filter to PubMed so that users of MyNCBI can filter their results to those that their institution holds. [Alas, when I try to register for MyNCBI I get 404 file not found, so I can’t play with this myself.]

Vagabondages (French) points to “liquid bookmarks” (Japanese).

Kotkot writes about sustainable libraries (French), asking what sustainable development might mean in a library. The post includes a list of ideas like turning off screens overnight, using rechargeable batteries, reduce tape consumption on books, double-sided printing, create a comfortable bike shelter, etc.

Bib-log (Danish) announces the Roskilde public library mobile site.

Benobis lists French genealogy resources (French).

Via Klog come the steps of digital preservation in 1 slide (French).

De tout sur rien (French) suggests getting our users to scan book covers to go into a cross-library pool particularly if vendors put restrictions on us using theirs.