Many factors that affect mobile support are unique to an individual campus – local policies, staffing, available hardware, and local infrastructure configurations affect the functionality and supportability of mobile devices. Ultimately, the decision to license and/or promote mobile applications should be undertaken at the campus level with an understanding of the campus’ readiness and potential impact on local front-line staff.
The following questions are provided to campuses to assess their local readiness and preparation for their campus to proactively promote and support mobile.
User Experience and Discoverability
- What is the user experience that you want to give to your users?
- If proactively promoting mobile access to licensed resources, how will mobile users find and use a list of “mobile” resources? A-Z List? Custom list? Catalog?
Campuses should have clear documentation for mobile users that details how users can configure their mobile devices in order to provide IP-based access to licensed library resources from both on and off campus. Documentation should be available for all supported mobile platforms.
Accessing Licensed Resources from On-Campus
On-campus IP access to licensed resources by mobile devices should be provided by authenticated (secure) campus wireless networks.
- Clear instructions on how to connect mobile devices to the authenticated networks to access licensed resources should be available for all supported mobile platforms.
- In the case that this information is not available, one approach is to recommend that mobile users authenticate using campus-provided remote access methods regardless of location – this will also prevent confusion for users that use the cell network for data access.
Campuses may offer multiple methods for accessing licensed resources from off-campus. Not all of these methods may be compatible with all available mobile platforms and device formats.
- What campus remote access methods are available to mobile users, and which platforms and device formats are supported?
- Clear instructions on how to configure mobile devices for use of campus-provided remote access methods should be available for each supported mobile platform. This is particularly relevant for client VPN and Squid proxy authentication methods, as the configuration process and compatibility can vary greatly by platform.
Mobile access testing, evaluation and support activities may have an impact on front-line employee workload. It would be useful for campuses to have a campus contact for mobile issues – this will provide a contact point for communication, troubleshooting and updates on systemwide and inter-campus activities and infrastructure.
- Who will be answering frontline user questions about mobile functionality at your campus?
- What is your internal escalation path for difficult questions?
- Do you have an internal point of contact in your library for mobile technical issues and policy?
- What training is needed for frontline staff to support mobile applications and mobile devices?
Campuses should have mobile devices available for staff testing, evaluation and troubleshooting support.
- What mobile devices are available to staff for testing new applications and providing support?
- Do you have devices for all platforms you are planning to promote to users?
- Are these devices easily available to staff providing frontline support and/or for performing resource testing?
- What is the process for installing new applications on these staff-accessible devices?
- When testing functionality, be sure to test on actual devices, not just emulators.
Mobile Device Loan program
Some UC campuses have mobile devices available for loan and the hardware available and checkout durations differ per campus. Applications under consideration for promotion should be evaluated for their usability on loaner devices; similarly, review of device loaner policy may need to be considered in light of available and promoted applications.
- Do you have mobile loaner devices available to users?
- How do you expect promoted mobile applications to work on loaner devices?
- Will they be pre-installed? If so, how regularly will they be updated?
- Can users install products to the devices?
- Are these loaner devices wiped or restored regularly?