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Education + Mobile: What the students really want

September 1st, 2010 by tamuwebmaster

The fall has begun, and our expectations for the mobile site have been exceeded. We are nearing four thousand uses a day. The majority of those uses originating from Bus Routes, followed by Dining. Our mobile site, maintained and developed by Jeff and I, has dozens of features. From multimedia, to news, to student services, we have been releasing new code weekly. With over twenty separate web applications developed and deployed, our attention to detail has now come down to numbers. What statistics drive mobile edu? With potential for growth in all of our services, we have now started to realize that we need to pick our battles and attack the areas that will provide the most growth. Taking a look at the graphs I have made up, you can see that the majority of students are interested in student oriented services, not news and not multimedia.

top mobile web applications on m.tamu.edu

When aiming to build a mobile website for your university or school, the numbers show that students seek information that makes their day-to-day routine easier. What does that mean for Texas A&M’s mobile website? More focus on the student, and less on what’s currently cool elsewhere. On another statistical note, I thought I would share what operating systems are utilizing our mobile site.

operating systems using m.tamu.eduSeveral months ago, Apple products were leading 75%. Today, Apple products are still dominating the scene, but are followed much more closely by Windows, BlackBerry, and then Linux/Android. In terms of our mobile website those numbers suggest we prepare our site for more than the standard iPhone resolution and make sure we cover the much larger devices influencing these rises, like the new series of Droids and BlackBerry’s. We also need to compensate for desktops and laptops using the mobile site, which is also why we see such high numbers for Mac and Windows.

top browsers using m.tamu.edu

34% of devices accessing the mobile website are actually desktop and laptop class devices. Which brings on another question. What is our target audience? At first we thought we were developing a mobile website for phones, now it looks like we are developing a convenient website for smartphones and PC’s. The data suggests that students would rather find the information they need on a website that is plainly laid out without having to search a large website over for links. Scenario: I am at a lab on campus, or in a class on my laptop, and I’m hungry. Will I remember to visit dining.tamu.edu for a list of where to eat and times? Or will I remember seeing “Dining” on the list of links on mobile? If it were me, I’d pick the one I knew had what I was looking for, because its most convenient and gets straight to the point. No advertisements for new dining meal plans, pictures of other students eating food I wish I was eating, just the data.

So if you are currently developing or planning on developing a mobile website for the edu-verse, consider your audience. Are you just going to be making a mobile website for phones, or a central knowledge point thats easy and utilized past the mobile audience? Jeff and I have joked about it numerous times, making a site that has a bunch of links to everything a student might need (For those who choose not to remember domain names). It looks like we may be heading in that direction after all.

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Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 Analytics, Mobile Web, Ongoing Projects, Social Media
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3 Comments to Education + Mobile: What the students really want

  1. Excellent work in making A&M mobile services the best among the top universities. Great article and analytics showing that you are paying attention to what the “customer” really needs. Please continue to recheck and trial new services.

    One item that was not clear is in the “Browser Pie Chart” what is the difference between iPhone and Safari since Safari is the top browser on the iPhone?

  2. Bill on September 1st, 2010
  3. Safari on the iPhone is not the same as Safari on a PC. The two register separate footprints when it comes to tracking statistics and sniffing browsers. For our sake, these numbers are of great value because we can then see use cases between PC’s and phones.

  4. bobtimm on September 1st, 2010
  5. […] schedules, rosters, and news items for each of the Aggie Athletics teams, on your mobile device. (Rumor has it that you can also use your desktop computer to access this information […]

  6. Athletics on m.tamu.edu | Aggie Webmasters on September 2nd, 2010

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