Wednesday, February 23, 2011
OU students design mobile website for Rochester Hills LibraryBy Dan Bodene, contributing writer
Rochester Hills Public Library (RHPL) patrons have an easier time accessing library services with their mobile network devices, thanks to a trio of Oakland University grads.
For their Senior Design Project in OU’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), students Jason Nixon, Christine Janello and André Hébert designed the mobile-friendly website for RHPL during the fall 2010 semester. All three graduated in December 2010 with degrees in Information Technology.
It wasn’t an easy task. First, the group had to look at a wide variety of mobile computing devices such as smartphones, personal digital assistants, mobile internet devices, tablet PCs and “carputers,” to name a few. And each type presents a challenge in terms of format.
“Each mobile device is different in screen size, number of screen pixels, memory, processing speed and user interface hardware, which is keypad versus touch screen,” said Nilesh Patel, Ph.D., assistant professor of Engineering in CSE who supervised the project. “These differing aspects make it difficult to design a mobile website. Since you don't want to give access to all the features, a careful analysis is done using various analytics before final set of features to be included are decided.”
It took four solid months of work by Nixon, Janello and Hébert to develop the site.
“Given a device with specific screen footprint and resources, designers have to tune its information layout, data visualization and interactivity that is best suited to that family of devices. Since there is no single solution, you have to conceptualize many designs and implement the one that is best in your analysis,” said Dr. Patel.
Thanks to the Oakland team, RHPL patrons who are on the go can access many informational features, including the events calendar, mobile catalog, Bookmobile locations and library account details.
“The library really appreciates their work, and Dr. Nilesh Patel and Dr. Ishwar Sethi for their partnership in this project,” said Karen Knox, IT manager at RHPL.
For more information on the Rochester Hills Public Library, visit its mobile website. Information on CSE is available on the department’s home page.