Trends in Mobile Apps

Another trends program! Megan Fox from Simmons College is a mobile apps guru and talked at some length about the consumer trends that are driving how content is delivered on an as-needed basis.

Fox cited the statistics: 75% adults have cell phones, meaning that cell phone ownership surpasses landlines ownership; 90% of college students have cell phones; 350 billion text messages are exchanged worldwide each month! Wow! I'll spare the readers of this summary the rundown of the status of the current market and move right along into the ways in which the Mobile Web is changing web design.

  • .mobi domain for websites that are compatible w/ mobile devices (see cnn.mobi)
  • Libraries developing mobile page. Fox mentioned Fremont PL in Mundelein, but I couldn't find any evidence of its mobile page on the website.
  • Innovative Interfaces has AirPac, currently in use by 88 libraries including KCLS and Minneapolis PL
  • READY REF ON THE GO! Through sites like Answers.com's MobileAnswers
  • Simplified mobile layouts are being rolled out in databases like Westlaw, Factiva, and LexisNexis
SMS/Text Messaging services are also being used for ready ref-type questions. Current examples are Google (text 45546 -- it really works! I use it quite a bit), Yellow Pages (text YP411), Merriam-Webster (27563), and even Rome's Biblioteche di Roma.

Texting/SMS is the preferred communication style of the youngsters, but its use is growing among older Americans. How can we adapt in the library? Several email to text services exist, allowing the "old folks" who still email to send an email that will be sent as a text message to a cell phone.

Mobile audio and multimedia is making appearances in libraries in the form of iPod shuffles for checkout and LibriVox, the audio version of Project Gutenberg. Fox failed to mention the already-existing downloadable audiobook services to which libraries are increasingly subscribing, though.

Presentation slides and links available here.

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