The Role of Mobile in Higher Ed


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While your school’s public-facing website is still an integral and necessary piece of the puzzle, mobile sites have also become an essential part of the higher ed communications strategy. Through your mobile site, users are encouraged (and expected) to “take action” through a series of carefully and obviously placed buttons, giving them access to things such as admissions dates, applications, events, quick facts, and directions.

Want to know where to start? Need some insight into the process of developing a higher ed mobile site? This presentation, first delivered as an iFactory webcast, can help to guide you in the right direction.

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  • Our ProcessUser GroupsIdentify user groupsIn the case of Cornell Johnson SchoolPerspective studentsIn the case of other schools, might bePerspective studentsParentsCommunityExisting studentsAsk questionsSurveyFocus groupsReview Goals:Develop a list of features the users say they want – (Why important)This gives you a clear understanding for the features that are important to the user and more importantly helps to eliminate features that are not important to the user but suggested by internal staff. Staff says “We NEED to have this XXXXX, users say, “that is not important to me”Rank those features in order of importance – (Why important)You are dealing with limited form factor and reduced site map. You cant do everythingIf you try you make the site unusablePut only those features that matter most to the vast amount of users, Dump the restDevelop a list of mobile sites that are frequently used – (Why important)Find out what they are using now and why they like themYou are not the first person to do this type of project,Learn from the efforts of others
  • Notice the differencesNavigationTop, left, right nav barsMobile – only navDesignMany colors and shadesMobile – nonePhotosMany and different sizesMobile - none
  • NavigationImagesInteractivityMessages
  • Main Site: Curtin University in AustraliaMobile site viewed through a non-mobile browser See how it lays out left to rightNow viewed through a mobile browserImages wrap to fit screenSmall screen will still workGood use of icons But – not so clear that they don’t have to use the words under the iconCould dump the icons and simplify the UX
  • The Role of Mobile in Higher Ed

    1. 1. The Role of Mobile in Higher eD<br />25 January 2011<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br />Agenda<br />Introduction<br />Mobile Site Overview<br />Planning and best practices<br />Architecture and design<br />Implementation<br />Conclusion<br />What’s next<br />Takeaways<br />Questions?<br />
    3. 3. Introduction<br />Who is iFactory?<br />Interactive design and development company with over 19 years experience<br />A division of RDW Group, a full -service agency<br />Higher education is a core vertical<br />Among our staff:<br />Designers<br />Information Architects<br />Usability Experts<br />Strategic Consultants<br />Higher Ed client profiles include:<br />Colleges and Universities<br />Public and Private<br />Large and Small<br />Ivy League to Community Colleges<br />Undergraduate to Graduate<br />Massachusetts to California<br />
    4. 4. Mobile Site Overview<br />
    5. 5. Mobile Site Overview<br />Planning and Best Practices: Disclaimer<br />For the purposes of today’s webcast, we willnotbe talking about the iPad or other tablet devices, rather the smart phone and the iPhone in particular<br />*Look for an iFactoryiPad-focused webcast in the next few months!<br />
    6. 6. Mobile Site Overview<br />Planning and Best Practices<br />Part 1: Primary Research<br />Best practices for mobile sites<br />Questions: <br />Who are your mobile users and what information are they seeking from this platform?<br />What do your mobile users want and how do you give it to them?<br />What are others doing in this space and is it working for them?<br />How do you make sure that the money you spend now is money well spent?<br />
    7. 7. Mobile Site Overview<br />Planning and Best Practices<br />User Interviews<br />Surveys<br />Focus Groups<br />Goals<br />Develop a list of features that users say they want<br />Rank those features in order of importance<br />Develop a list of mobile sites that are frequently used<br />
    8. 8. Mobile Site Overview<br />Planning and Best Practices<br />Competitive Audit<br /><ul><li>Look at both the full site and the mobile site</li></ul>Goals<br />Quickly see what is working by observing the features and functionality of others sites<br />Experience loading times by visiting sites with and without images, strong color palettes and complicated functionality<br />Develop your own list of mobile site best practices<br />
    9. 9. Mobile Site Overview<br />Audit: Good examples<br />On your iPhone:<br />
    10. 10. Mobile Site Overview<br />Audit: Good examples<br />On your iPhone:<br />
    11. 11. Mobile Site Overview<br />Audit: Good examples – HTML5<br />On your iPhone:<br />
    12. 12. Mobile Site Overview<br />Audit: Not the best examples – Overly Complex<br />
    13. 13. Mobile Site Overview<br />Audit: Not the best examples – Limited Functionality<br />
    14. 14. Mobile Site Overview<br />Information Architecture<br />Part 2: Information Architecture<br />Sitemap<br />Keep it simple<br />Try not to go deeper then three levels<br />Integrate third party services into the primary navigation<br />Maps<br />Admissions events<br />Always let a user kick-out to the main site<br />Wireframes<br />Develop with the smaller form factor in mind<br />Less screen size<br />Each screen should only serve one or two purposes<br />It is unlikely you will have a CMS to manage most of the content<br />
    15. 15. Mobile Site Overview<br />Design<br />From your iPhone open<br />
    16. 16. Mobile Site Overview<br />Development<br />Off the Main Navigation, Click on Maps<br />
    17. 17. Conclusion<br />What’s Next?<br />Swiping vs. Clicking<br />Functionality that appears and disappears as you interact with the site (think Kindle, here)<br />Layering in Apps<br />Flexibility in what is coming next<br />
    18. 18. Conclusion <br />Key takeaways<br />Mobile is an extension of your brand<br />It’s not as expensive as building a website but it’s not inexpensive either<br />Consider a primary site for admissions and a sub-site for current students<br />Usability and functionality are the most important factors<br />
    19. 19. Conclusion <br />Questions<br />Thank you<br />Questions?<br />Contact<br />E. Sean Sweeney<br /><br />617.235.5872<br />