Report back from: CILIP Building websites for mobile phones.

 The presenter Andy Bull has no coding or technical skills but had a journalism background.  I felt that he made a lot of assumptions about students e.g. they are only interested if things are available in a mobile friendly format.

A list of key things to consider when designing a mobile website:

Who is the audience?

What do they need?

What is convertible?

Ensure the button to your mobile site, which appears on your normal website, is large enough to make it easy to click on when on a small device.


Mippin allows you to create a mobile friendly service via the use of RSS feeds, but it can only take one RSS feed per Mippen site.  To get started go to – use app factory – Mippin mobilizer. Type in the RSS feed and click the orange arrow.  You will then be able to see how your feed appears in a mobile site.

We need more RSS feeds on our library web pages if we want to use this service. 

Limitation in the fact that you will only be able to give out information from one feed in this way.  You add your own logo to the feed and change the colours.

If you have Google Reader, you can create a Google bundle( ) that will allow you to give it a title and add in the important RSS feeds. It will then turn those into one RSS feed, which you can then create a Mippin mobile site with.  I think this service is only useful if you want to create a mobile friendly updating service, as RSS feeds should be constantly changing the stories that appear on the site so this isn’t very useful for static information.  You can view the NewT Blog as a Mippin site at:


isites allows you to create an app of you site and they go through the iTunes store for you.  All Apps that are added to iTunes have to go through a process of being vetted by Apple. It does have a cost associated with it, but not very expensive.  This is a Native App e.g. an real app and not just a mobile friendly website.  It allows you to pull in a You Tube channel, a blog, and allows quick posting – direct to the application. 

It allows you to add lots of feeds to the APP and to host content.

You can create bundles for this service using Yahoo Pipes : (apparently Google Bundle doesn’t work with isites), so that many RSS feeds can be read as one via the app.

In Content you can add a Quick Post, for something that you want all the time e.g. Opening hours.

Shout Out – at bottom of App, links to tweets and Buzz is the news about your tweets.

The downsides were that not all the features worked as they should e.g. something that I added to my Home Page category kept appearing in another category instead.  The obvious downside with all apps is that they are limited to use on Apple or Android phones. 


Zinadoo – not based on RSS feeds but allows you to create a mobile version of a static website.

E.g. the Expedia normal website is very busy and would look terrible on a mobile device but there mobile friendly version has been pared down to just the key services that people commonly need.

So when creating your own mobile site you need to identify the key service on your website.

The service is free with adverts appearing at the top of the page or for a very small fee you can have a service without adverts.  Zinadoo was very easy to use and customise.  You do need to be in Firefox to use it as it does not work in Internet Explorer.  This was a very basic mobile website that I created during the course (and not a final version by any means):  The obvious downside of using Zinadoo is that you are having to update the mobile friendly zinadoo version of your website at the same time as you update your normal version. 

For me the weakness of the course was that it did not deal with the pressures faced by a large organisation with a brand to protect wanting to create mobile websites.  I felt that these services would work very well for very small organisations or those that did not care so much about their corporate reputation.  I did feel that these services, and especially Zinadoo could be used as a pilot project to test how much demand there really was for a mobile friendly service and so that the usage statistics (which you can collect with the Zinadoo service) could then hopefully be used to push forward a more long-term and sustainable service.

The main downside was that none of the services demonstrated during this course dealt with how to make a Talis cataloguing system mobile friendly.  I’m sure that if any library was to launch a mobile web service that the library catalogue would be high on the list of demands.

 Post by : Lisa Anderson

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