Becoming Mobile-Friendly: Small Investment, Big Profits


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Higher education websites, like many of our institutions themselves, are often large and decentralized, complicating the task of becoming mobile-friendly. At the University of Vermont we are taking an economical and sustainable approach to developing our mobile efforts. We've created an iPhone app, dedicated mobile site, and responsive design templates that allow us to publish web content designed specifically to look and function great on mobile devices increasing website mobile traffic and improving interactions with both current and prospective students. Our strategy was designed to minimize the need to create any additional content by leveraging existing content and feeds from the website. By using an open-source mobile platform called Kurogo and our own homegrown CMS we avoided additional ongoing maintenance costs and decreased web development time. Both environments are customizable and flexible allowing us to easily add content and alter design over time. Moving forward, this strategy should allow our community to eventually get all the information they need in a format completely optimized for the size and functionality of their device.

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  • Back in early 2011Noel-levtiz report
  • Mobile vs. non-mobile
  • RSS, multiple feeds
  • YouTubePhotos using Flickr
  • Custom XML modules
  • HTML content, add option intro text, style content with CSS, linearize tablesSimilar approach with financial aid, includes cost calculator
  • Glowing orb…
  • Becoming Mobile-Friendly: Small Investment, Big Profits

    1. 1. * Small investment, big profitsTatjana Salcedo, University of Vermont
    2. 2. * In 2012, the US saw a 55% increase in smartphone subscriptions to make for 98 million smartphone subscribers, representing nearly 42% of all US mobile users (comScore 2012)* 52% of college-bound high school students have viewed a school’s Web site on a mobile device (Noel-Levitz 2012)* 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to go to a competitor’s site (Karim Temsamani at IABALM 2012 via IAB) *
    3. 3. * Only university in the state of Vermont, founded in 1791* Located in the city of Burlington* Total enrollment: 13,488* Undergraduate students: 10,459* Seven undergraduate schools and colleges, offering 101 bachelors programs* In-state students comprise 33% of student body *
    4. 4. * Increasing quality and reputation of academics* Attracting out-of-state and international students* Increasing retention and 4-year graduation rates* Portraying the city of Burlington* Building a diverse university community* Improving institutional efficacy *
    5. 5. * Small web team reporting to University Communications* An outdated homegrown CMS* Decentralized content* Multiple portals and platforms* Limited web programming resources* No dedicated budget for software or services* Maintaining the UVM brand *
    6. 6. * Measuring traffic comes from mobile devices* Examining off-site traffic* Looking at mobile behavior and trends* Identifying unique needs of mobile users* Reviewing best practices in higher education *
    7. 7. 9.00%8.00%7.00%6.00%5.00%4.00%3.00%2.00%1.00%0.00% *
    8. 8. 05:4605:0204:1903:3602:5302:10 All traffic01:26 Mobile traffic00:4300:00 *
    9. 9. 1. Undergraduate admissions2. List of programs and degrees3. Varsity athletics4. Visiting the institution5. News6. Student life pages7. Tuition and costs8. Directory *
    10. 10. * Use of mobile devices is growing rapidly* Mobile use in greater off-campus, especially for admissions prospects* Mobile users are generally interested in the same content as non-mobile users* Mobile users spend less time on the site, however average time on site is increasing *
    11. 11. * Mobile applications* Dedicated mobile websites* Responsive web design *
    12. 12. "It was a great way toexperience thedevelopmentprocess, working withother people, one ofthe best things that Ive *done in school so far.” – Chris Tucci, ‘11
    13. 13. * Avoid content duplication* Support smart phones and feature phones* Prospective student focused* Mobile-friendly user interface* Customizable visually and functionally* Extendable* Compatible in our IT environment* Free *
    14. 14. * Open source platform* Supports wide variety of devices* Easily customized* Data feeds: RSS, iCal, KML, LDAP…* YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr* HTML content* Custom XML content* Serves multiple mobile device types *
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    21. 21. * Traffic has doubled on 1. Photos since launch 2. Courses* Mobile UVM attracts about 3. Calendar 20-25% of mobile users or about 100 page views per 4. Admissions day 5. Directory* Time on site increasing *
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    23. 23. * Mobile first approach* Placing element blocks in a small format* Identifying essential content*
    24. 24. * Placing branding and graphic elements* Applying progressive enhancement* Exploring functional features* Noticing usability issues*
    25. 25. * Building HTML templates for our content management system* Identifying problematic content and controls* Setting priorities for implementation* Converting content * Responsive images * HTML5 video * Converting tables * Using HTML5 semantic markup *
    26. 26. * Taking a mobile first approach to content development* Evaluating mobile and non-mobile traffic* Performing usability tests across multiple devices* Updating and developing mobile applications* Adding additional content and sites to the dedicated mobile site* Porting UVM Mobile to mobile applications *
    27. 27. * Working with other web solutions, portals, hosted applications* Intelligent distributed content development* Finding best solutions for tables, forms, long lists of links, multimedia* Optimizing speed and performance* It’s even more about the content *
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