Find out how NCSU Libraries built their mobile website

January 27th, 2010 Karine Joly No Comments

I’ve just finished watching the recording of a live webinar about the mobile website of North Carolina State University Libraries: Library in Your Pocket: Strategies and Techniques for Developing Successful Mobile Services.

This free 60-minute webinar was presented by David Woodbury, Libraries Fellow and Jason Casden, Digital Technologies Development Librarian at North Carolina State University to an audience of about 400 Educause members on January 20, 2010.

The session was really interesting as it provides a good overview of the project as well as a few great recommendations for going mobile, tips that can be applied to any mobile website (and not just libraries’).

NCSU Mobile Web for LibrariesLike the institutional mobile website, NCSU Libraries’ mobile website was based on the MIT Mobile Web platform and developed in about 3 months by a team of 3 working between 25% and 40% of their time on this project. You can check it out at

Here are a few good tips I retrieved in the notes I took during this session:

  • Don’t “mobilize” everything: it’s important to think about the kind of content you need and should provide to your mobile web users. What makes sense in the context of on-the-go browsing or searching.
  • Minimize the need to enter data by typing: ever tried to type more than 4 words on an iPhone? It’s not because it’s possible that you make your mobile web visitors do it.
  • Don’t shrink your web pages: keep only the essential content and relevant features
  • Think about exposing hidden but useful content in the context of the mobile web user
  • Don’t forget to link back to the “normal” website homepage: smartphones do a good job at displaying “regular” websites and some of your users might want to check out something specific they know is there.
  • Set up a redirect on your normal website homepage to direct traffic from mobile devices to your mobile website – and to promote it.
  • Use guerrilla testing to test your mobile website: go to the mobile phone store and check out your website on all the available devices – you might want to ask the permission of the store owner. You can also create a panel of mobile campus testers using different devices – and email them for feedback when you implement new developments
  • Don’t forget to promote your mobile website to your students on different channels.

You can also have a look at the short YouTube video they did to promote this mobile website – nice production:

Want to learn more?
You can access the webinar recording and the presentation slides online at Educause.

Got a question or comment?