Category Archives: mobile

The Big C

Useful and usable web content is a big challenge for everyone, everywhere but it’s especially challenging in the Libraries because of our distributed authorship model with no central editing body.

This leads to:

  • Inconsistent tone and writing style
  • Content ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, Trivial)
  • Lack of cohesive information architecture
  • Inconsistent and confusing user experience
  • Training challenges
  • Lack of authority to address content issues
  • Difficulty creating and adhering to a thoughtful content strategy

Karen McGrane’s Responsive Design Won’t Fix Your Content Problem, published on A List Apart, is extremely important and pertinent to us right now.  As we gear up to do a responsive redesign of our entire site, it’s clear that we have a ginormous content challenge on our hands.  And we CAN’T sweep it under the rug and we CAN’T just use what we have and expect any measure of success.

Nutshell version:  The redesign will fail if we do not fix our content problems.

Scary thought.

We probably need to start talking about what we mean when we say “content.”

I’m thinking about it in terms of items like this being our Big C Content:

  • Events
  • News releases
  • Guides
  • Tutorials
  • Information Literacy
  • Hours
  • Physical location info
  • Study Room booking app
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Database access
  • Maps
  • Digital collections
  • Search
  • Policies

And within each of those areas, there is the Little c Content: the individual pieces, including the assets.

Things like:

  • headings
  • lists
  • paragraph text
  • metadata
  • images
  • logos/branding
  • buttons
  • videos
  • charts
  • infographics
  • (white space)

While it’s easy enough to make a style guide that outlines best practices for writing web content and achieving accessibility, that won’t fix the ROT, information architecture issues, and all the larger issues listed above. That alone doesn’t give us more useful and useable Big C Content.

I’m sure there are other ways to look at it but I think a good place to start is focusing more clearly on what we mean when talking about content. This will lead to more productive conversations about strategy and responsibilities.

We have a content strategy sub group who is focusing on this issue.

Members are:

  • Jade Diaz (topic co-leader)
  • Mason Jones
  • Natalie Moore (topic co-leader)
  • Minnie Rangel
  • Robyn Rosenberg
  • Kristi Selvaraj
  • Audrey Templeton
  • Travis Willmann

Contact any of us with feedback. We believe it’s crucial enough to push this conversation to a wider audience. So much hangs in the balance.

Readability – the App.

Readability the Reader App

Browsing the world of free “reader apps”, I came across Readability. There are pay reader apps out there that do much more and pay reader apps that do much less. But any apps with key functionality and rich user interface design deserve a little more attention – especially when they are free.

Like all things in life, Readability is not going to appeal to everyone, nor is it going to fit everyone’s definition of what the perfect reader app should do. However, if you are looking for a reader app that gives you the ability to download web pages and articles to read offline; and if a clean, crisp, modifiable page layout is important to you; and if it is important to you when the app button says “FREE”, Readability is worth reviewing.

Readability is a “service” delivered via a mobile app and/or a browser add-ons that allows you to organize articles or web pages for reading when you are online or download articles or web pages for reading later when you are offline. According to Readability, they want “to turn any page into a clean comfortable reading view” in order to create a “web designed for readers”.

The basic choices given by Readability are “Read Now” or “Read Later”. Reading now or reading later can both be done online, but Readability lends itself to be used as a tool of leisure reading, a gatherer of sorts, of material to be downloaded and read later when you are offline.

 

Creating Your Account
A simple registration process is required for you to open an account with Readability. They will send a confirmation e-mail to the address you provide, so be sure to use a working address from which you can respond to this confirmation.

 

Readability, the signup screen.

(The sign up screen for Readability.)

  Continue reading

Mobile links added to “Finding Articles using Databases”

TIS worked with Library Systems and the Finding Articles using Databases Web Author to incorporate mobile friendly links. When a mobile friendly database site is available and identified the reference can now be managed and displayed as an option to the user.

Example of mobile link
Example of mobile link

A new section has also been added to the mobile site providing a mobile friendly find articles and databases listing.

Addition of Finding Articles and Databases
Addition of Finding Articles using Databases

New Mobile Site for UT Libraries

We’re happy to announce our new mobile site for the University of Texas Libraries. There are two ways to access the site:

The site has been designed to work on a variety of mobile devices and the content has been reduced to that which might be useful to mobile users. This includes hours, directions, contact information, and more. We hope to continue adding new features to the mobile site in the future.

If you have any comments or suggestions about the site, please be sure to complete the Mobile Site Feedback form that is listed on the home page.

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