m.slv.vic.gov.au a review

The new mobile site of the State Library of Victoria (http://m.slv.vic.gov.au) was launched today. Thanks to @Library_Vic who responded to an earlier tweet of mine regarding libguides and their exhibition on Melbourne Post-War Photography, I hopped on and checked it out.

The colours correspond to the red, grey, and black and white tones which are associated with the full site, making the transition from a full to the mobile version smoother.

The vital information- address, phone number and opening hours are listed at the top of the screen, with the address linking to Google Maps and the phone number linking to your phone to call them. There is also a search the mobile site facility located in the top right hand corner of the screen.

The navigation is quite simple, offering three links:

Visit Us- providing the user with further information on location and hours, access, events and the cafe and bookshop;

What’s on – linking to their exhibitions, tours and activities, which in turn then open up to provide more information about the event;

Services- information on joining the library, accessing the collection, computers and copiers (the bread and butter of any library). There is also information on Ask a librarian and how to contact them via chat, phone or email.

Below  these main links are ways to stay connected to the State Library via social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. The footer provides access to the full website, further contact details, about us and legal information.

The information provided on the mobile site is a good estimation as to what a user would be seeking on a mobile device- location, hours, what’s on and basic information. What I really liked is the infromation on how to access the wireless network using your laptop or wireless device. The richness of the content on the full site is best viewed via a desktop.

Further information which is available in the full version of the site is indicated with a crossed out mobile phone icon. Clicking on the link next to the icon, takes you to the full version on your mobile browser.

Even so, the mobile version provides a good user experience with its uncluttered layout and the use of white, which makes the navigation links really stand out.

The grey tones at the top of the page though, nearly made me miss the information about Ask a Librarian available from the Services link. It could also be the smallness of the text, but it would be good to have the Ask a Librarian text size increased.

What would be good to see further developed for the mobile site would be an online registration form to join the library and the email form to post a question to the librarians optimised for the mobile. Further content, such as libguides, which are thematic gateways into the library collection would also be good in a mobile format.

Above all, I like that the State Library has opted for a mobile version of their site, rather than resorting to an iPhone app which seems to be the default app by choice (spoken by someone who has an Android device!). By providing a mobile version, they are making their content freely available on all platforms, rather than just one, which aligns itself well with their 1854 mission to be

a place where the world’s knowledge and information would be freely available to all citizens of the growing colony of Victoria, regardless of their social status or financial resources

http://m.slv.vic.gov.au/about-us accessed 1 July 2011

I’ll just add or choice of smartphone :).

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