Boopsie, Inc., the industry leading Mobile Solution for Libraries, enables its libraries to be on the cutting edge of consumer trends related to smartphone and tablet usage. In April of 2013, the app analytics firm, Flurry, released a report concerning the time iOS and Android users spend on their mobile devices. So what do these results mean for libraries? “Libraries need to constantly adapt to the digitalized world by delivering their services to their communities via a mobile app, not just via a browser,” states Tony Medrano, CEO of Boopsie.
Flurry’s survey says that US consumers spend an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes on their smartphones and tablets per day—and 80% of that time Americans are using apps (2 hours and 7 minutes).
Gaming apps still take up a majority of the time users spend on their devices, but Facebook isn’t far behind. A major consideration for why Facebook’s usage accounts for such a large proportion of the total “in app” time—aside from the amount of users—is that many of the links that users post open up in the app rather than in the native browser. Plus, Facebook utilizes native mobile apps, which are designed specifically for ease of use on each platform (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, etc.).
Browser usage on iOS and Android devices only accounts for 20% of the total time a user is on their phone—only 31 minutes. Part of the reason users devote a short amount of time to their native browsers is that a website that works great on a computer doesn’t necessarily display well on smaller devices. Even those websites that behave like an app can’t compare to native apps; these websites are often slower than an app counterpart which can deter users.
“Native Apps have clearly won the battle against HTML5 for user adoption and usage,” says Boopsie’s CEO, Tony Medrano. “Libraries with Native Apps enable their patrons to find what they want more quickly. Library app users search 2.4x more in our 300+ Native Apps when they type less.”
Flurry reported that in 2012, on average, only 37% of the apps being used in late 2012 had been downloaded the year before. The remaining 63% of apps were recently downloaded; this could either point to the fact that some of the apps were not available in the previous year, or that users are in the process of trying out apps.
So what does this mean for libraries? More Mobile Apps for Libraries
Libraries are starting to acknowledge the switch to a more digitalized world and many think that just having a website will work to bridge the technology gap. With app usage on the rise and smartphones and tablets set to overtake desktops and laptops within the next two years, libraries need to adapt to the changing environment. The 2011–2012 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study found that among the libraries surveyed, 1,457 (almost 95%) have a website. 35% of those libraries already have library apps for mobile devices.
“iOS and Android users spend their time in apps, it behooves libraries to shift their resources from their websites to focusing on providing mobile apps for patrons,” says Medrano. This idea is supported by library communities as well: 63% of Americans ages 16 and older would be likely to use app-based access to library materials and programs.
Proprietary data from over 300 million unique queries by users of Boopsie’s Apps for Libraries in 2012 and 2013 shows a continued increase in app usage. Below are usage stats from January 2012 until October 2013 for six random libraries; app usage is steadily increasing.