Internet Librarian, Monday, Oct. 25, Day 1
:On this first day of IL2010, I bounced around from track to track, sampling great sessions on topics ranging from Information Architecture to Mobile Web Usability with a bit of QR codes in between. It was challenging and informative and by 5:00 pm I felt like I was on the verge of information overload. Here are some of today’s highlights:
Information Architecture with Jenny Emanuel – Top Tips To Improve Your Web Site
Why is it important that we use information architecture on our Library web sites?
1. Can’t have a site that meets the needs of all our users without some structure.
2. Using Information Architecture on our site keeps stuff organized, usable and findable.
3. IA keeps our sites flexible and scalable
4. IA provides room for growth of the site as well as content on the site.
Since the home page is the one that greets all visitors, Jenny spoke about this one first.
Home Pages should:
1. Identify site and establish the brand.
2. Home pages set the tone and personality of the site
3. Home pages should allow people to do something right away (find books, search databases etc.)
4. Home pages should reflect the personality of the library.
One of the most interesting points made by the presenter is that there should be five ways of finding anything in your site:These five ways may include a search box, a Site Map or index, pathways and browsing – BUT – ease of finding the needed information is better than multiple ways of finding.
Ms. Emanuel summed up her talk by reminding us that IA is both an art and a science. There are no right answers and that we need to trust our instincts. When it comes right down to it, “it’s just a web site – no one is going to die.”
From Information Architecture, I moved over to spend the rest of the day at Mobile Monday: Trends and Practices.
Mobile that Works for your Library with Jeff Wisniewski kicked off this track. He started his session by giving the audience a few statistics – Within next 5 years, mobile usage will overtake desktop usage. Smartphone sales will beat PC sales this year.
Currently, there are two major players in web accessible market in mobile – iPhone and Android. Lesser players include RIM (Blackberry.)
Mobile Browsers – vast majority of these browsers are based on webkit – this makes it easier in many ways since mobile pages may work better across a variety of platforms.
For libraries that are considering a mobile presence, Jeff said there are three different options from which to choose.
- Native app – lives on the individual device
Downloaded to the device itself from another site (iTunes)
Companies must have an iphone app or they “don’t exist” in today’s mobile world.
Use either Java or Objective C for the app programming.
- Mobile web – lives on a web server
Accessed by a device
Browser as software interface
- Hybrids – generally use languages familiar to web developers (CSS, HTML) and then put in application wrapper and put on user desktop.
Phonegap, MotherApp, boopsie, rhomobile, netbiscuits, appcelerator titanium are companies that make these.
These will support Android & iPhone, but not necessarily others.
Libraries must consider many factors in deciding which one of these to use. Native apps require coding in non-web languages but are generally rated more favorably than mobile web sites. An app will be faster and might have not as many usability problems as mobile web. The mobile web page is easier to deploy since it is simply uploaded to a server. A native app must be submitted and then approved before it may be deployed.
In choosing any of these options, libraries need to remember that everything is changing constantly. While we may be targeting iPhones or Androids today, an entire new world of tablet devices will be on the market soon. What we do right now may not necessarily work for the next new mobile device.
More from Day One to follow !!