Andornot Blog

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:14 AM

Is your web interface mobile friendly?

by Kathy Bryce

Odds are that your website will be viewed on a tablet or smart phone.  The Washington Post reported that “The last week in 2011 was the biggest ever for Android and iOS. According to mobile app analytics company Flurry, over 20 million devices were activated between Christmas and New Year, and 1.2 billion apps were downloaded. That's about 60 percent higher than every week of December before Christmas, and marks the largest number of apps ever downloaded in a single week, passing a billion downloads for the first time.”

Have you tested how your website looks on a mobile device?  There are free resources for this such as iPad-Emulator.com for the iPad, or the Opera Mobile Emulator.  See also a more comprehensive list - The Best Mobile Emulators & Responsive Design Testing Tools ... .

In many cases, search screens will work and function well in a mobile browser, but you may wish to create a search screen optimized for smaller screens, just to make the experience that much better. See our blog post WorkSafeBC Launches Mobile Version of Library Catalogue for an example.

Although we don’t recommend substituting a PDF for a search of your database, sometimes this can be useful for fairly static content, i.e. for recommended lists of web resources, or archival finding aids. Most software has a Save As PDF option and if not, there are many free printer drivers such as PrimoPDF or PDFCreator that let you print to PDF very easily.   The good news is that your PDF’s can be opened on mobile devices and manipulated using a touch screen.  As well as enlarging for easier reading, with apps like iBooks or Kindle you can also view thumbnails and flip through or bookmark pages. Features such as highlighting or annotating are not available though.  Your PDF’s can be saved into libraries and synced with iTunes or other devices.  So while not all the interactive features of a custom app are available, it’s worth reminding your users of this capability for viewing your PDF’s. 

If you need assistance making changes to your website to accommodate mobile devices or decide to create a mobile-specific site, please be sure to contact us.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Month List