Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Going Mobile with Genealogy

The number of Apps in the App Gallery just reached 100 (although the number has been bouncing around a bit lately). To see all the Apps, you have to click on the Categories pull-down menu and choose "All Categories."

This is partly an indication of the movement towards using mobile devices since many of the Apps (programs) are now dedicated to mobile operating systems. Here are some of the latest statistics from the PewResearchCenter, Internet, Science and Tech Center:
As of October 2014:
64% of American adults own a smartphone
As of January 2014:
90% of American adults own a cell phone
32% of American adults own an e-reader
42% of American adults own a tablet computer
Here is a further quote from the PewResearchCenter, Internet, Science and Tech Center entitled, "U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015."
The traditional notion of “going online” often evokes images of a desktop or laptop computer with a full complement of features, such as a large screen, mouse, keyboard, wires, and a dedicated high-speed connection. But for many Americans, the reality of the online experience is substantially different. Today nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them — either because they lack broadband at home, or because they have few options for online access other than their cell phone.
It is pretty strange to talk about a "traditional way" of going online, when going online has not been around long enough for any sort-of traditional way of doing anything online. Be that as it may, there is a definite shift to mobile devices. Those who want to promote family history to the "youth" should be aware that many of them are accessing online information primarily from mobile devices. Here is another quote from the Pew article:
Certain groups of Americans rely on smartphones for online access at elevated levels, in particular:
  • Younger adults — 15% of Americans ages 18-29 are heavily dependent on a smartphone for online access.
  • Those with low household incomes and levels of educational attainment — Some 13% of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are smartphone-dependent. Just 1% of Americans from households earning more than $75,000 per year rely on their smartphones to a similar degree for online access.
  • Non-whites — 12% of African Americans and 13% of Latinos are smartphone-dependent, compared with 4% of whites.
These figures will continue to increase in the short term. Nearly all the features of and particularly the Indexing program are presently only easily available to those who have desktop computers with a keyboard and input device, such as a mouse.

The movement to mobile devices is inexorable. From my own personal standpoint, nearly all of the tasks I do in conjunction with my family history, would be significantly more difficult on a mobile device. The programs that are listed on the App Gallery are a good start, but most of them are frustratingly limited when compared to the full-blown applications on a desktop computer. The real issue is data entry. Little, virtual keyboards do not work for those of us with old, fat, clumsy fingers.

If you are one of the many people using a smartphone or a tablet regularly, perhaps it is time you looked at the programs in the App Gallery and gave the developers some feedback.

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