Posts Tagged ‘app design’

Reference Content for Mobile Devices: Free the Facts from the Format

In Technology on March 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Source: William Hook on flickr

An excerpt from the article that David Wojick and I have written for E-Reference Context and Discoverability in Libraries: Issues and Concepts, which will be published by IGI Global and edited by Sue Polanka, head of reference and instruction at the Wright State University Libraries:

The rapid rise of mobile devices presents reference content providers with a grand challenge. Traditional content designs, especially web pages, simply do not work on the tiny screens of mobile devices. The typical computer screen is 50 or more times larger than the typical mobile device screen. From 200 to 300 square inches for the computer, compared to just four to six square inches for the mobile machine. As a result, traditional web-based content designs are virtually unreadable on the mobile screen. The solution is to radically restructure content, presenting it in a way that breaks it down into tiny pieces and frees the facts from the format. But the organization will not be on the screen as format, as it typically is with web pages. Instead, the key to effective presentation of factual material will be in the linkages among the tiny pages, of which a great many will be required.

An abridged version of the article appears in the first issue of the Advances in Library and Information Science (ALIS) Newsletter.

[About the authors: Alix Vance owns Architrave Consulting and is Chief Operating Officer at The Center for Education Reform. David E. Wojick is Senior Consultant for Innovation at the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) of the U.S. Department of Energy. OSTI operates several of the world’s largest technical reference portals, including and]