One common thread that that unites so many law students in today’s day and age is their frequent use of their mobile devices and native apps. Reaching students in this intuitive manner is a great way to help them leverage their devices for academic success.
Less than seven years since the beginning of what is being dubbed the ‘Mobile Revolution’, mobile usage is stronger than ever. Usage statistics published by Flurry, one of the preeminent providers of mobile analytics, uncovered some eye-opening trends. While people may have been surprised to hear that an average user spent 2 hours and 38 minutes a day on mobile devices in 2013, that number actually rose to 2 hours and 42 minutes in 2014. Law students are no exception.
One of the other more interesting discoveries is that mobile users are spending a disproportionate amount of time on their phones in mobile apps. Skeptics may have dismissed native apps as a fad in the incipient stages of their existence, but it is now clear that they are here to stay. Not only are native apps absolutely dominating the mobile landscape, but their prominence is only increasing. While native app usage accounted for an impressive 80% of mobile device users’ time in 2013, it comprised a staggering 86% of their mobile time in 2014. This means mobile device users are spending merely 14% of their time or 22 minutes per day in a mobile browser. Back in June of 2010, Americans were spending just 43 minutes a day in a native apps, which is a testament to their meteoric rise in popularity. Taking note of these patterns and devising a strategy to cater to this influx of mobile app users is a great way to equip your students with the best tools available.
New York Law School’s Mendik Library is one of the first to acknowledge these stunning trends. The Mendik Library implemented their very own library-branded Boopsie app and has seen fantastic responses. Their ‘Mendik Mobile’ app has generated great enthusiasm and even helped the library receive an award from the American Association of Law Libraries for ‘Best Use of Technology’. The library, which conducts an annual survey of incoming first year students to gauge technological proficiency and students’ attitudes toward mobile devices and social media, noticed that more students than ever were coming into the library with smartphones and tablets. As Grace Lee, Electronic Resources Librarian, puts it – “we wanted to meet (students) halfway”.
Emphasizing that there are excellent research tools that exist beyond Google, Grace saw reaching students on their mobile devices as a way of directing them to the proper channels in a manner that they’re already accustomed to. By providing a mobile solution to meet their students’ needs, the Mendik Library was able to get more students to use the library catalog and services, enable students to search course reserves, and facilitate more student communication with library staff. The library was even able to integrate their custom built Google search engine, DRAGNET, which accesses information from free legal websites. Their commitment to innovation positions them at the forefront of this changing mobile landscape and their students and library stand to reap the benefits.