Using Boopsie Analytics™, we surveyed app usage for several libraries and found that when apps are more aesthetically pleasing (for instance, more colorful), while maintaining an easy to read structure, they are used more often.
Think of the apps on your phone that you use often–what makes you want to use them? A majority of my non-work time on my phone is spent in the Facebook, Pinterest and Kindle apps. Why? Aside from accessing the content–which I could easily access the same information on their mobile websites– the mobile app’s interface flows well and looks good. They leverage their color schemes and displays to make it easy for app users to navigate and consume the content.
The same concept applies to library apps. We’ll take a look at a few library mobile apps and compare app usage information to support our claims.
The first library we looked at was the Broward County Libraries app, BCL WoW; they have a large population-served size of around 9 million customers to their 40 locations annually. The app is very colorful, with a blue gradient background and fun, clean icons. On average there are over 9,000 unique users accessing BCL WoW per month. In contrast, another library with a larger population-served size, but with a less aesthetically pleasing background (while colorful, the designed background can make it more difficult to read), receives an average of only 94 unique users per month. BCL WoW is queried more frequently than the other app as well; BCL WoW receives 99% more queries than the other app.
Looking to the midwest, we come to the Worthington Libraries app, Worth Lib, which had 93 thousand registered borrowers in 2013. The app features color-coordinated banners for each section of the app, which helps maintain a flow through the different sections of the app. With a smaller population size, the app still holds steady with an average of nearly 2,600 unique app users per month. Another library in the Southwest, with nearly 20 thousand more people represented by the library, only receives an average of 178 unique users a month. The app is plain, with a basic two-color scheme. Worth Lib receives an average of 93% more queries than the other larger library.
When your library is up for a refresh, consider updating the aesthetics of your app. It’s a fun way to encourage more patrons to use your app, and provides another reason to remind your patrons that your library is open anywhere and everywhere!
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