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Mobile Apps & Mobile Web. Ivon Foster-McGowan, PhD Assistant to the Provost for Special Projects & Academic Technology The University of Alabama. SACRAO 2013 February 5th, 1:30pm Session T3.1.

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Mobile Apps & Mobile Web

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Mobile apps mobile web

Mobile Apps & Mobile Web

  • Ivon Foster-McGowan, PhD

  • Assistant to the Provost for Special Projects & Academic Technology

  • The University of Alabama


February 5th, 1:30pm

Session T3.1

Mobile apps mobile web

  • NOTE: The majority of the session consisted of live demonstrations of the apps noted on each slide. This presentation is intended to provide an overview of the points made and the apps demonstrated. Please send questions to

Native apps vs web apps

Native Apps vs Web Apps

The difference is narrowing

  • Built with standard web technologies

  • Web apps easily used by most devices mobile devices

  • Can be designed to look like native apps

  • Less visibility, do your own marketing

  • No download required

  • Updates automatically

  • More efficient; in house web resources can typically pick up programming easily

  • Native apps can only work on the platform they were built for, and take longer to develop

  • Native apps can take advantage of hardware: push notifications and smoother look and feel

  • Native apps can include links to web apps

  • Visibility increased thru app stores

  • Updates dependent on user

  • iOS & Blackberry reviewed prior to availability; delays updates

  • Cost is higher, vendor often involved, more time and effort even if built in house



  • Vendor partner: Blackboard Mobile

  • iOS launched 4/24/11; Android & Blackberry June 2011

  • Over 110,000 downloads to date

  • 60% iOS 30% Android 10% Blackberry

  • Users in over 150 countries

  • #1 complaint: "Where's myBama & Blackboard?!"

  • Delivered portions of myBama & myTickets with web app and integrated Mobile Learn fall 2012

  • Future: web app for Places; native e-Accounts (one card); parking??; computer labs??

Caution student developers

Caution: Student Developers

  • Brilliant minds with great ideas

  • Must have university involvement

  • Sustainability & enhancements: who develops it after graduation?

  • Who will handle updates & bug fixes

  • "UF Mobile no longer available" - see letter from student developer

Mobile web

Mobile Web

  • Most universities have mobile version of website, at least top tier sites

  • Most libraries have gone to mobile web

  • Giving cannot be done in native app, at least not iOS

  • Many university native apps have mobile web features

  • TransLoc - buses

Bridging native apps

Bridging Native Apps

  • Accessing a native app from another app

  • Requires download of both apps

  • Stanford is the king of app bridging

  • North Dakota tours

Creative design

Creative Design

  • OU2GO & GA Tech coolest

  • Texas & Arizona unique

  • West VA very sleek & simple

  • Samford & Seton Hall: no branding once in the app

Functional design

Functional Design

  • Most univ apps have basics: directory, map, news, video, athletics, etc

  • Parking! OU2GO

  • Purdue & North Dakota - labs feature

  • myUCR (CA Riverside) - requires sign or create acct??? Didn't bother

  • Loyola - beautiful, but took a second to figure it out

  • Ole Miss - NEWS!! Hard to find app features

Maps buses

Maps & Buses

  • Apple iOS 6 - Killed Google Map Kit - see Alabama and Vanderbilt, no buildings or labels

  • Custom map - Arizona

  • None work without network!

  • TransLoc integration

Admissions apps


  • Better to have independent admissions app or unified institution app?



  • Benchmarking is essential

  • Involve more than IT, need user community

  • Consider your developer options: in house, vendor, any case, there must be a responsible party

  • If vendor, don't hesitate to push the limits, get them out of their box

  • Always think about sustainability and enhancements

  • Unified app or independent apps

Thank you

Thank You!


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