Mobile .EDU Sites: Serve the Needs of Prospective Students

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Gave this presentation at the 2012 .EDUSummit.

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  • Harder things:Cost calculatorsDetails about academic programsOnline Application forms (common app goes mobile)Interactive Campus MapTour of residence hallsVideosLive IM conversation with admissions reps
  • Very poor experience for prospective students.How do I apply? Could I get in? Academic programs? How do I visit?Beyond all this.. Do not combine internal and external audiences on the same page.
  • MoFuse
  • Pros and cons of not asking enough to create an inquiry record.Do we want to please the admissions bean counters or please the end user? Their goals are at odds.Do not ask CEEB code.. Do not ask gender..Boils down to.. Ask as little as possible.Especially in this era of stealth applicants.
  • .edu homepages.. Can have 30 or more links.. Need to get that down to less than 10 for a mobile site… less is more.Trying to do too much…Those responsible for the mobile site must be ruthless when fighting internal political battles. Every department wants their content front and center, but when everything is prominent, nothing is prominent, so eliminate the nice-to-have. Eliminate obstacles.Jacob Neilson: When it comes to copy writing for mobile.. Short is too long.
  • Design idea..Responsive design?
  • Always make it easy for people to do what you want them to do.Making it difficult to touch and manipulate.Eyes are more agile than your fingers. You see that link but your fingers can't select it, so use larger touch targets.
  • Top tasks come first!! But after you accomplish that – you can have a personality.Photos often need to be tight.Limited opportunity in mobile.
  • When we talk about brand..Not a logo. Not a pantone color pallet.Brand is an experience.Things always seems easy when I deal with XXX University. That is about nailing down top tasks and removing barriers.I like the personality of XXX University.
  • Perhaps once a month? Every two weeks?
  • And somewhere there is a distinction to be made between immediate impact on first time visitors who arrive via mobile vs. a regular PC visit... the weaker the brand, the more that first experience can decide whether or not a person ever comes back. People should be watching those GA stats to track how many "new" visitors are using a mobile device.
  • A mobile redirect automatically directs a user with a mobile device to the m.school.edu site.  The issue is that many different audiences are being redirected.  While, this might be good for prospective students, it can be quite annoying to the existing campus community... or vice versa depending on the content that is on the mobile site.  Our clients have been pleased with what we call a "mobile banner".
  • Mobile .EDU Sites: Serve the Needs of Prospective Students

    1. 1. Serve the Needs of Prospective Students Start 11 April 2012
    2. 2. 2 Agenda• Mobile statistics• Research on mobile behavior• State of mobile in higher-ed• 12 tips to an admissions mobile micro-site• Review industry mobile analytics• Understanding mobile redirects
    3. 3. 3• 97% percent of students use text messages as their primary form of communication. • THE CHRONICLE JUNE 2010• 52% of prospective students view a school’s website on their mobile device. • Noel-Levitz E-Expectations 2012• One-Third of U.S. High School Students Now Own an iPhone, 40% Plan to Buy • Piper Jaffray 2012
    4. 4. 4 E-Expectations Mobile SurveyTop content: Additional tasks:1) Academic program listing • Forms to receive more2) Cost / scholarship calculators information3) Dates / deadlines • Schedule interviews and visits4) Details about academic • Interactive campus mapprograms • Tour of residence halls5) Application process summary • Videos6) Online application forms • Live IM conversation with admissions reps • Links to social media sites
    5. 5. 5 Low Hanging Fruit1. Academic program listing2. Dates / deadlines3. Application process summary4. Forms to receive more information5. Schedule interviews and visits6. Links to social media sites
    6. 6. 6 Typical Mobile Site Today AcademicHow do I apply? Programs? How do I visit?Could I get in? Directions to campus? Contact info?
    7. 7. 7Tip 1: Clearly guide future students
    8. 8. 8Tip 1: Clearly guide future students
    9. 9. 9Tip 1: Clearly guide future students
    10. 10. 10Tip 2: Have admissions top tasks
    11. 11. 11Tip 3: List academic programs (YES) (NO)
    12. 12. 12Tip 4: Show value in academics (GOOD) (BETTER)
    13. 13. 13Tip 5: Clearly list dates and deadlines
    14. 14. 14Tip 6: Make it easy to request info (GOOD) (BETTER) (BEST)
    15. 15. 15 Tip 7: Make it easy to visit(GOOD) (BETTER)
    16. 16. 16Tip 8: Provide a map and directions (BAD) (BETTER) (BEST)
    17. 17. 17 Tip 9: Limit links(NO) (YES)
    18. 18. 18Tip 9: Limit links 18
    19. 19. 19Tip 9: Limit links
    20. 20. 20Tip 9: Limit links
    21. 21. 21Tip 10: Make contact simple (NO) (YES)
    22. 22. 22Tip 11: Have a personality
    23. 23. 23Tip 11: Have a personality – cont..
    24. 24. 24Tip 12: Test and React
    25. 25. 25 Industry benchmarks• March 8, 2012 – April 8, 2012• 3 Institutions, Private, Less than 3,000 FTE Institution % New Visitors Visits Pages/Visit Bounce Rate % iPhone School 1 74% 405 1:53 44% 66% School 2 39% 6333 1.69 72% 57% School 3 76% 212 1.94 48% 50%
    26. 26. 26Mobile Redirects
    27. 27. 27 Top ContentSchool 1 School 2 School 3Academic Academics AcademicsProgramsAbout About Could I Get InMap Financial Aid Financial AidPhotos Map and Directions VisitFinancial Aid Campus Life ContactVisit Photos Directions
    28. 28. 28 Questions?David Marshalldave@mongooseresearch.com

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