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Your intranet on the go - developing QUT Virtual Mobile


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The rapid acquisition of web-enabled smartphones has produced a strong demand from students and staff at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for core intranet functionality to be delivered any time, anywhere on their mobile devices. This presentation is a case study on the development and implementation of QUT Virtual Mobile.

Published in: Technology

Your intranet on the go - developing QUT Virtual Mobile

  1. 1. Your intranet on the goCase Study: Developing QUT Virtual Mobile<br />Andy McBride (@andymac7)Intranet Services Team<br />
  2. 2. What I will be talking about today?<br />Overview of QUT and my team<br />What is QUT Virtual?<br />Changing face of the mobile space<br />Choosing a mobile strategy<br />QUT Virtual Mobile:<br />How it all began<br />Quick demo<br />Lessons we learned along the way<br />
  3. 3. Queensland University of Technology (QUT)<br />Gardens Point Campus<br />
  4. 4. Queensland University of Technology (QUT)<br />Based in Brisbane with three campuses:<br />Gardens Point<br />Kelvin Grove<br />Caboolture<br />Over 40,500 students<br />Over 4,000 full-time staff:<br />Professional<br />Academic<br />Research<br />
  5. 5. My team – Intranet Services<br />Responsible for development & maintenance of QUT Virtual<br />Also develop web applications & online web functions<br />13 staff:<br />Managers<br />Business analysts<br />Application developers<br />Web developer / user experience designer (me!!)<br />
  6. 6. Staff screen<br />What is QUT Virtual?<br />
  7. 7. What is QUT Virtual?<br />Personalised& secure web portal<br />Available to students, staff & alumni<br />Launched in 2001<br />Contains over 100 unique applications<br />Integrates with many QUT systems (e.g. Finance, HR, Enrolment)<br />17,000 sessions a day (average)<br />6 million sessions a year (average)<br />
  8. 8. Changing face of the mobile space<br /><br />
  9. 9. “<br />5.3 billon people with mobile devices (77% of world population)Source: ITU via mobithinking<br />
  10. 10. “<br />By 2011, over 85% of mobile devices will be web enabled.Source: Gartner<br />“<br />By 2013, mobile devices will replace PC’sas the most common device to access the internet.Source: ITU vismobithinking<br />
  11. 11. “<br />Approximately 60% of organisations have NO mobile intranet access strategySource: NetJMC<br />
  12. 12. Choosing the correct mobile access strategy<br />Choosing a mobile access strategy<br /><br />
  13. 13. Mobile access strategies<br />Native application, or<br />Web-based application<br />Combination of both, or<br />Do nothing at all<br />
  14. 14. What are native applications?<br />Applications designed to run on a specific mobile device’s operating system & firmware.<br />Downloaded & updated via an application store.<br />Facebook<br />Camera+<br />
  15. 15. Advantages of native applications<br />Run quicker<br />Access to native API’s (e.g. camera, GPS)<br />Offline access<br />‘Push’ capabilities<br />Animation & graphic effects<br />Quality developer frameworks<br />Integration with other native applications<br />Simple purchasing process<br />Large marketing potential via the App Stores / Marketplaces<br />
  16. 16. What are web-based applications?<br />Applications or websites designed to run via amobile device’s web browser.<br />YouTube<br />Westpac Bank<br />
  17. 17. Advantages of web-based applications<br />Device independent<br />Quicker & cheaper to develop<br />Open development platform<br />Immediate release of updates, bug fixes & new features (e.g. No store approval process)<br />Content accessible to search engines<br />Control over hosted content<br />No 3rd party fees (Apple = 30%)<br />+ HTML5 = faster & more functional:<br />Location aware (GPS, maps)<br />Multimedia support (video, images)<br />Offline storage<br />
  18. 18. Which strategy is best?<br />…it depends<br />
  19. 19. Depends on what???<br />Time:<br />Development, testing, support & maintenance<br />Budget:<br />Small vs. large<br />Startup vs. ongoing <br />Expertise:<br />In-house vs. need to hire<br />Geographical location:<br />Single country vs. multinational<br />Users:<br />What devices do they have access to?<br />Do you provide your users a particular brand of phone? <br />Competitors<br />Product or service<br />
  20. 20. Considerations when choosing mobile strategy…<br />Latest & greatest mobile device will always change<br />Look beyond device & form factor<br />Your business & user requirements will guide suitable mobile access strategy<br />If developing a native app, maintain digital consistency across all channels (e.g. web, other mobile operating systems)<br />
  21. 21. Developing QUT Virtual Mobile<br />
  22. 22. Where it all began…<br />Feedback from students & staff<br />Decided to develop web-based application<br />Started late 2010, officially launched February 2011<br />Took 2 developers, 3 months<br />Staff View<br />Student View<br />
  23. 23. Why a web-based application?<br />Large & technologically diverse user base:<br />Provide access to largest number of students & staff<br />Domestic & international students & staff<br />Range of mobile devices<br />Limited time & budget:<br />Developed in spare time, no dedicated project time or budget<br />No time or budget to develop & maintain on other mobile operating systems<br />In-house expertise:<br />HTML, CSS & JavaScript developers already in team<br />
  24. 24. QUT Virtual Mobileat a glance<br />
  25. 25. Screens: Student & Staff Home<br />Student View<br />Staff View<br />
  26. 26. Screens: Class Enrolment & Unit Results<br />Class Enrolment<br />Unit Results<br />
  27. 27. Screen: Campus Shuttle Bus Timetable<br />
  28. 28. Screens: Student Messages & I.T. Service Status<br />StudentMessages<br />I.T. Service Status<br />
  29. 29. Screen: Student Calendar<br />
  30. 30. Screens: Staff Search<br />Staff SearchForm<br />Staff SearchDetails<br />
  31. 31. Screens: ‘Lite’ Version & Bookmark Reminder<br />‘Lite’ or <br />text-based<br />version<br />Dynamic<br />bookmark reminder<br />
  32. 32. How has QUT Virtual Mobile performed so far?<br />
  33. 33. How has QUT Virtual Mobile performed so far?<br />Performance since February 2010:<br />90,000page views in total<br />25,500unique sessions in total<br />Average 300 unique sessions a day (Mon to Fri), <br />Over 93% returning visitors<br />Device OS Breakdown<br />
  34. 34. Lessons we learned along the way…<br />
  35. 35. Lesson #1: Know your users<br />
  36. 36. Lesson #1: Know your users<br />Helps create personal user experience & identify what functions to expose<br />Develop thorough understanding of your users:<br />What devices do they use? (e.g. personal, company supplied)<br />How do they use their mobile device? (e.g. frequently, rarely)<br />What do they access on your intranet via a mobile device?<br />What mobile intranet functionality could make their job easier?<br />Research methods:<br />Contextual interviews<br />Focus groups<br />Creating personas<br />Web statistics<br />
  37. 37. Lesson #2: Research best practice<br />
  38. 38. Lesson #2: Research best practice<br />Helps:<br />Learn from good mobile intranet designs<br />Avoid repeating common mistakes<br />Find best practice in:<br />Competitors, industry & mobile design leaders<br />Intranet publications<br />Web development podcasts<br />Mobile design websites<br />
  39. 39. Lesson #3: Mobile is not the desktop but smaller<br />
  40. 40. Lesson #3: Mobile is not the desktop but smaller<br />A mobile user is:<br /> “…typically on the go in an unpredictable environment, interested in quick glanceable information, focused on discrete individual tasks, is quite often distracted.” (Joe Marini @ MIX 2010)<br />Release functionality your users want and can use ‘on the go’<br />Different design considerations & requirements:<br />Succinct & purpose written content<br />Simple & linear navigation<br />Larger interactive elements (e.g. pressed not clicked)<br />Simple forms<br />Fluid content layouts (e.g. various screen sizes & orientations)<br />
  41. 41. Lesson #4: Progressive enhancement, not initial perfection<br />
  42. 42. Lesson #4: Progressive enhancement, not initial perfection<br />“Build half a product, not a half-ass product.” (37 Signals)<br />Start with a few key functions, release new functions progressively<br />Resist temptation to release too many functions (< 10)<br />Progressive enhancement allows you to:<br />release your mobile intranet earlier<br />fix bugs / problems based on feedback<br />kill unwanted or unused functions<br />maintain the ‘hype’ of your mobile intranet<br />
  43. 43. Lesson #5: Test early, test often, test always<br />
  44. 44. Lesson #5: Test early, test often, test always<br />Test continuously & regularly:<br />e.g. Pull aside a colleague in the hall & test on their phone<br />Test different:<br />device firmware<br />screen sizes<br />browsers (if web-based application)<br />environments (e.g. 3G connection, no connection)<br />If budget permits, purchase a store of mobile devices to test on<br />
  45. 45. Our testing for QUT Virtual Mobile<br />
  46. 46. Lesson #6: Utilise native functionality where possible (and necessary) <br />
  47. 47. Lesson #6: Utilise native functionality where possible (and necessary)<br />Native functionality can enhance user experience:<br />e.g. Field officer using camera to take photos of a fault & logging it in a incident database<br />Must have purpose, not because ‘it’s cool’<br />Native functionality:<br />Gestures (Pinch, swipe, pull, zoom)<br />Camera<br />Video<br />GPS (Location based services)<br />Gyroscope & accelerometer<br />
  48. 48. Want to chat? Want more information?<br /><br />Twitter: @andymac7<br />Or catch me during the conference…<br />