With the advancement of mobile phone technology and the penetration of smartphones in both advanced and emerging countries, institutions such as public libraries can use these devices to reach their users to enhance the user experience. Something that caught my attention as I explored the readings for the Mobile Devices and Connections module, was the Library Journal article that discussed the beacon technology and its incorporation in two library apps. I had never heard of such a technology being explored for library use and the possibilities in regard to marketing and enhancing the user experience seemed like a very meaningful use of the technology. Although the article dates to 2014, similar technology is being used by business such as Starbucks, Disneyland, and other major retail stores for marketing purposes and to create an interactive user experience.
Earlier this month, my
family and I decided to bite the bullet and take a trip to the happiest place
on earth, Disneyland. With the exorbitant single day ticket prices and
our proximity to the park, we decided to purchase the annual passes to keep our
sanity and not try and do the whole park in one day. The ticket window
attendant advised us to download the Disneyland App in order to make our visit
a smoother experience by utilizing some of the tools the app had to offer. Boy, were we glad we did. The application
utilizes similar technology as the beacons except instead of using the
Bluetooth radio on your smartphone, it utilizes the GPS radio. The application allows you to check wait times
for rides, it pushes notifications on upcoming showtimes, you can order food
from different eateries through the app, provides a map of where you are in the
park, and most importantly allows you to reserve fast pass tickets to avoid
lines on some of the rides. This last feature is one of the best features
of the app as it helps you plan out your day and avoid waiting in lines of up
to three hours for some of the more popular rides. Disneyland has always been about the user
experience and takes full advantage of emerging technologies to create a better
one for its guests.
The Oceanside Public Library, which I work at, utilizes Innovative Interfaces’ app MyLibrary!, which integrates with our integrated library system (ILS). The application can be utilized to initiate user requests such as search the catalog, place holds, renew books, and pay fines. Along with these features the application also incorporates with the library’s social media in order to promote library services and share photos of library activities. I think that future development of the app to incorporate location-based notifications can utilize the device’s GPS radio to push notifications to users as they enter the library similar to what the Disneyland app does. Being able to engage the users as they enter the library by promoting all of the programs and services that are offered utilizing a mobile device, helps to create a meaningful user experience.