Tuesday, July 8, 2014

23 Mobile Things # 11: Library & Reference

Our institution does not have a library app -- at various times creating an app had been discussed, but instead it was decided that it was better to render the library websites themselves into responsive design, so that they could be used on any device -- making them device neutral.

I live in Wisconsin and commute into Minnesota for work.  So, I decided to see if the Wisconsin complement to ELM -- BadgerLink -- had either apps or was done in responsive design.  I found that BadgerLink (http://www.badgerlink.net) to be very similar to ELM.  While the layouts may not be exactly the same, both of them are done in responsive design.  On my iPad BadgerLink looked very similar to what it looks like on my desktop -- the webpage was simple in its organization and structure and easy to use.  On my smartphone, the page looks very similar to that of ELM, where the tabs for dominate, but again, very easy to navigate to where I would want to go.  It was also easy to bookmark as well.

It was also interesting to compare the two in what either of the two websites feature -- BadgerLink has links to a "songbook database" and a whole page for genealogists, while ELM has the Research Project Calculator and a page for Minnesota History.

One of the things that I have noticed over the years, as the use of mobile devices become more common, is how webpage design thinking has changed.  It use to be that everything had to be "above the fold" and scrolling was to be avoided.  With designing for mobile devices, the scrolling is what keeps the displays from becoming too crowded or hard to navigate.

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