August 21, 2009

Another Reason for Libraries to Make Their Sites Social

Now that I’m on a smart­phone that has a real web browser and is capa­ble of mul­ti­task­ing (the Palm Pre), In fact, I find myself expect­ing it to act like my lap­top. I’ve stopped car­ry­ing my lap­top or my net­book to work each day because I can do so much on my phone, but I’m still notic­ing where deci­sions made by web design­ers make my mobile life easier.

So here’s mobile devel­oper tip #1, my two cents: use plu­g­ins and wid­gets that let users auto­mat­i­cally share your con­tent on sites like Twit­ter, Deli­cious, Face­book, etc., because you’ll make the user’s life eas­ier. Granted, not all phones sup­port the Javascript that pow­ers this type of ser­vice on a web page, but more and more will, so con­sider get­ting ahead of the curve and adding it now.

The alter­na­tive for me as the reader (acknowl­edg­ing each person’s sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent) is to:

  1. Leave the site up in a card until I get home in the evening and can man­u­ally book­mark it on my lap­top. This works about 50% of the time.
  2. Email the site to myself so I can book­mark it later on my lap­top. This works about 80% of the time but is annoying.
  3. Try remem­ber­ing to revisit the site later on my lap­top to book­mark it. This works 0% of the time.

As a result, I’m find­ing that I’m far more likely to book­mark some­thing if there’s a direct link to post it to Deli­cious, and that work­flow will con­tinue for me until there’s a Pre app that makes this eas­ier, which means I really appre­ci­ate sites that offer this. Even bet­ter is if you can add it so that it appears in your RSS feed so that it shows up in places like Google Reader and Blog­lines, too.

Here are some options to con­sider for adding this func­tion­al­ity to your site.

  • For Word­Press blogs, you can use the Socia­ble plu­gin (I’m sure there are oth­ers, but this is what I use so I know it works). I have another blog post brew­ing on this topic, but this is yet another rea­son I encour­age libraries to make their “what’s new” page a blog — you can then use the wealth of plu­g­ins out there to improve the user’s experience.

    Sociable WordPress plugin

  • For Dru­pal sites, you can use some­thing like the Share mod­ule (I’m going to look into this for ALA Con­nect. If you’re using a dif­fer­ent CMS, check to see if there’s a sim­i­lar mod­ule for it.
  • Fail­ing that, or even for use on gen­eral web pages, check out some­thing like the Add This wid­get, although I have to admit I’m not sure how acces­si­ble it is.

Regard­less, this can be a rel­a­tively easy way to help meet the needs of your mobile users, a group that’s just going to grow in the future. Food for thought. Nom nom nom.

Be Socia­ble, Share!

11:17 am Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. One might also look at plug-ins that form the web­site pages with mobile browsers in mind. For instance, I recently installed the wptouch plug-in on my blog to offer a dra­mat­i­cally slimmed down ver­sion (still with all of the con­tent intact).

    Comment by Peter Murray — August 21, 2009 @ 11:54 am

  2. We do this from our full arti­cles on our site (run­ning on Joomla) — been doing it for a while now.
    Exam­ple on the reg­is­tra­tion announce­ment for our book fes­ti­val in Novem­ber
    http://pioneer.lib.ok.us/PLS/111-Press/1341-red-dirt-book-festival

    Comment by Adri — August 21, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

  3. Great sug­ges­tion! I did a bit of research and decided to try Add to Any ( http://www.addtoany.com/ ; I am using the Word­Press plu­gin via http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-to-any/ ). My first impres­sions are good, and it seems to work at the post level with my mobile browser.

    I will sec­ond Peter Murray’s sug­ges­tion; I installed MobilePress ( http://mobilepress.co.za/ ) last spring, and like how it for­mats for mobile browsers.

    Comment by Rick Mason — August 23, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  4. […] Jenny Levine makes a great case on The Shifted Librar­ian for adding a fea­ture to your sites that allows users to eas­ily share your con­tent via social net­works.  Not only will this offer a way for your users to help spread the work about ser­vices and activ­i­ties that you offer, but it can help them keep track of infor­ma­tion they find so that they can revisit it later.  This will be a ben­e­fit for users of mobile browsers, which are rapidly becom­ing a more sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of vis­i­tors to our web sites. […]

    Pingback by Libology Blog » Social Your Site — August 23, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

  5. I use Add This (http://www.addthis.com) as a Fire­fox add-on (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4076) to post con­tent I like to Face­book, my blog, etc. — I think it’s great. Allows one to share all web con­tent, and very use­ful when the orig­i­nal source doesn’t have a share option.

    Comment by Lindsay Stratton — August 27, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  6. Hi — def­i­nitely great advice and I’d like to sug­gest you install my WP plugin.

    It’s called the Wap­ple Archi­tect Mobile Plu­gin for Word­Press and it mobi­lizes your blog. It makes your blog work on every sin­gle device, from a WML phone to a brand new swanky phone with XHTML. Images are dynam­i­cally resized and you get the option to really cus­tomize your blog any way you want.

    In addi­tion, you can upload mobile logos, style your site so the mobile ver­sion matches the web­site and you retain your brand iden­tity. You also get loads of con­trol over mobile SEO.

    With regards to mobiready, I know this plu­gin will score poorly. How­ever, what you should know, is that the mobiready test is out of date and can’t han­dle the advanced nature on my plu­gin (being totally dynamic rather than totally sta­tic) – it’s the fault of the test, not my plugin!

    If you fancy giv­ing it a go, the URL is http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wapple-architect/ – it’d be great to hear your feedback!

    Comment by Rich Gubby — August 27, 2009 @ 10:05 am

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