What do your library users use more often, their PC connected to broadband or their mobile phone? What do more of them own? What do more young people have exclusively for their own use – a mobile phone or a PC?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in March 2007, 67% of Australian household internet subscribers had broadband, up from 59% in September 2006. (8153.0 – Internet Activity, Australia, Mar 2007 )
Mobile phones? The Impact of the Mobile Phone on Work/Life Balance Preliminary Report June 2007 conducted by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and the Australian National University looked at how mobile phones have been integrated into Australian lives. It looks like most of the 1000 respondents were recruited online, so this may skew the sample a bit, however the study found that:
More than 88% of individuals own at least one mobile phone, 10% have two phones, while few (1.4%) have more than two. Moreover, two-thirds have owned a mobile phone for more than 5 years.
Among 14 to 17 year olds, only 12% do not regularly use a mobile. Mobile phone use peaks in the age range 18 to 39 years, where 94% regularly use a phone, and falls to a lower level among mid-aged adults (85%). The lowest number of regular users (73%) of mobile phones is found among those aged 60 years or more.
I was initially surprised by the lower uptake of mobile broadband services:
There is a very high awareness of mobile broadband (3G), with 86% of males and 73% of females saying that they are aware of the technology. A topic for further investigation is why the take-up of the new functionalities of the mobile phone has lagged so far behind the availability of the technology. Obvious candidate factors for exploration are consumer tastes, the age of handsets in use and pricing regimes, relative to other modes of accessing similar services.
I don’t know about you, but in the last 6 weeks or so, Web2.0 seems to have hit the mainstream in a rather big way – with people who once ignored it, or claimed not to care, suddenly asking me the types of questions I’ve been waiting for them to ask for over a year. It think libraries need to be prepared for a rapid upswing of users who want to get information from our sites via their mobile.
So – how shouldn’t we do it? Well, Nick Cowie, who is a fellow library worker in Western Australia, took a hilarious three minute look at what a mobile user sees when they access websites created by a few local web developers and some bigger fish who should know better – including the makers of his own mobile phone.
The clip, Why You Should Build Mobile Specific Websites for Mobile Devices, was created by Sue Waters, using Nick’s original slides and audio recorded by the Co-Pilot at Webjam.
By the way, what are we saying about our understanding of our users’ lives when we plaster our libraries with “please switch off your mobile phones” signs? Yes, if people talk loudly and obnoxiously on mobile phones they will annoy other people – but surely we can file it under “manners” – like we do with face to face conversations – and get on with our lives ?