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Which platform do our users prefer: website or mobile app?

Shun Han Rebekah Wong (Multimedia Services Section, Library, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 10 February 2012




After being implemented for two years, HKBUtube (the official video streaming site developed by Hong Kong Baptist University Library) has become a popular source of videos for the university. This video site also begins to draw the attention of the community. When more libraries are starting to respond to the demand for mobile service, the HKBU Library decided not to remain aloof. Before committing itself to the provision of an additional platform, the Library carried out a proof of concept to investigate the likelihood of library users watching videos via a mobile app when the web counterpart was available. This paper aims to investigate this issue.


Through building a small‐scale mobile app to showcase and display videos, this paper studies the use of the app and the popularity of watching videos via smartphones. To yield a more accurate result, a web counterpart was also developed for comparison of usage.


The data suggest that the usage between the app and website version was about the same. This study also demonstrates the power of Apple's marketing support, the large group of international users, and the effect of broadband speeds.


Usage data presented in this paper support the importance of the provision of mobile video collections. This paper also offers practical information that can assist academic libraries in justifying and developing mobile services, in particular mobile media collections.



Han Rebekah Wong, S. (2012), "Which platform do our users prefer: website or mobile app?", Reference Services Review, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 103-115.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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