OverDrive is excited to announce that we’ve updated the mobile versions of our library partners’ ‘Virtual Branch’ websites. This new design features an enhanced interface that makes navigating each website easier and more efficient. The mobile websites now also detect a user’s operating system, so it customizes the “browse, check out, download” process for each device.

How does it work? Let’s say an Android user visits your library’s ‘Virtual Branch’ website in the device’s mobile browser. He or she will be greeted with a title-rich homepage that only displays content in formats compatible with Android. The streamlined interface features a prominent “Search” bar that allows the user to starting looking for titles immediately. If the user wants to thumb through the collection, all he or she needs to do is click on the “Browse” button at the top of the page. The user will then be directed to an easy-to-navigate subject list.

Whether the user searches or browses, the new “Results” page enables him or her to quickly add a title to a “Cart” or “Join Waiting List”. Tabs at the top of the page also allow the user to sort by “Title,” “Creator,” “Popularity,” or “Date Added”.

And remember, the titles the user sees on the mobile version of your ‘Virtual Branch’ website are in formats compatible with the device. Today, an Android user can only see MP3 Audiobooks. When the Android app with eBook support is released, we’ll automatically upgrade the site to also display EPUB eBooks. Likewise, iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows Phone users will only see formats compatible with their respective devices.

With the iPhone and Android eBook apps coming out in December, the redesigned mobile websites ensure that your library customers will have the best user experience when they download directly to their devices.

Check out the new mobile version of your ‘Virtual Branch’ on your smartphone today and let us know what you think.

Dan Stasiewski is a marketing associate for OverDrive.

18 Responses to “Announcing enhanced mobile ‘Virtual Branch’ websites”

  1. jim king

    Sorry, but I for one think this is a pretty silly change.

    “the titles the user sees on the mobile version … are in formats
    compatible with the device. Today, … can only see MP3 Audiobooks.”

    The implication is that people who have iPhone / Android only have one computer / device (and so, only show them the media appropriate for that one device).

    What if I want to use my iPhone to put a hold on an eBook, even knowing that I’ll have to download to my B&N Nook using my “big” computer later?

  2. Sally Dewey

    Our large mobipocket collection is blocked from displaying on my BlackBerry – which are certainly compatible. Please don’t ignore Mobipocket in customizing the mobile site.

  3. Katherine

    I found the mobile version of the site very frustrating. Why? Because even though, thanks to the Bluefire app, iphone users can check out epubs and pdfs TODAY, the mobile Overdrive site only shows audiobooks. I’m more than a little tired of websites “helpfully” forcefeeding crappy mobile versions of their sites to devices that don’t need that, with no way to escape and see the full version.

    At the least, PLEASE add a link at the bottom to give access to the full version of the website. Thank you!

  4. Julie

    This is great! I think it will prevent a lot of confusion. I tried it out on my BlackBerry and it works fine.

  5. Paul R. Pival

    I don’t see a change on my local library’s site when viewing on an iPod compared to when I visited it on Friday – do they need to change something, or should it have been automatic? Specific problem is that I only see mp3 titles, not the ebook titles I see when I visit the full site…

  6. putiye

    i agree that people would like to have the option to view the FULL list (mobile version) i.e browse and checkout first, access later.

    Is overdrive doing this change in anticipation of the update to the OMC app such that user can then read instead of only listen to books? Maybe we will see more sense out of this UI change when the app update comes?

  7. Karen Demers

    This is a nice update. I would love to have a “Limit to Available Titles” feature – it might already exist and I just can’t find it…

  8. Sandra

    Just wanted to chime in about the annoyance of having the mobile site limit you to MP3 audiobooks. I think this was a bad decision. I’ll be trying out the hack that Paul posted above to get the full site on my iPhone. But this kind of workaround shouldn’t be necessary – please offer a link to let users switch back to the full site if they prefer it, and reconsider displaying only MP3 audiobooks on the mobile version.

  9. Dan Stasiewski

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. Just like putiye said, the change is in anticipation of the upcoming mobile app releases, so EPUB eBooks will be back soon. We’re taking in all the other comments, too, and we’ll post here again once we have more information on additional updates.

  10. Helene

    Just want to let you know that when you view our Overdrive site on a Win Phone 7 it recognizes it as an older Windows CE phone and wants to download an incompatible version of Overdrive Media Console. I think this might be frustrating to my users. Are you working on a WP7 app?

  11. Julia

    The ability to choose to display only certain types of formats would be very useful. It would be great to be able to switch to this type of display – our Mac users find it particularly difficult to find MP3 content at first glance.

  12. Michelle

    Karen Demers :
    This is a nice update. I would love to have a “Limit to Available Titles” feature – it might already exist and I just can’t find it…

    Agreed! PLEASE add a way to limit to available titles only like in the full catalog’s Advanced options. I am actively promoting this service at my library and this point frustrates me, even as an advocate-

  13. Carole Anderson

    I have Overdrive 2.0 on my Ipod Touch 2nd gen and connected to my public library’s digital site to check out an ebook. However, just as shown in your screenshot above, there is no “download” option given, and this is true for the entire collection, so does not reflect whether an individual title is available or has a waiting list. The only thing I was given the option to do was either place a hold or add to wish list. Do you know what the problem is?

    • Dan Stasiewski

      Hi Carole, depending on your library, if a title is available for check out/download, it will say “Add to Cart” or something similar in place of the “Place a Hold” button. For items with “Place a Hold”, if you click on that button, you will be able to enter your email address and join a waiting list. When the title is available to you, you will receive an email alert.

  14. Merribeth Advocate

    It would be great if there was some sort of eBook “test file” that mobile users could download to see if their device wou’d work (kind of like the test file for audio through the Download Stations). We are finding that some are trying it, finding their deveice does not support it, and then cannot return the eBook to the collection.