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The use of smart mobile devices among the students has increased in multi-folds over the years. Today, most of the students have their own smart mobile phone and tablets. They utilize these mobile devices to access websites and mobile applications to find information relevant to them. Today’s media rich content and enhanced mobile technologies, such as touch screens, GPS maps and voice commands have become the attractions to the young users. Apart from accessing the information needed, students have also started utilizing the cost effective communication applications to communicate with the faculty and friends. Although educational institutions were quick enough to host websites during the dotcom bubble, many of them haven’t realized that mobile revolution has already begun. Mobile apps for universities can not only help the students to get the information on the go, but they can also very useful for the staff, alumni, parents, and prospective students among others.
When it comes to developing mobile apps for universities, it is essential to consider the target audience before choosing the platform. As of now, Android and iOS platforms are the dominant ones and it is all right to focus on these mobile platforms. However, considering the diversity of mobile operating systems and the personal choices of users, it is all right to develop cross platform compatible mobile devices. Although it is the job of mobile app consultants to analyze the users and suggest the right platform, the management should have an idea of the mobile platforms and mobile strategies to develop an effective mobile application.
As far as mobile app strategies for universities are concerned, there are a number of things to consider. The needs of every type of users should be taken into account while creating the roadmap for the mobile app. For instance, the needs of the students include checking timetables, grades, interacting with the staff, and sharing information with fellow students. A prospective student would like to download application, check the infrastructure of the college or have a glance at the college campus, the lifestyle within the campus, courses available, and the fee structure among others. On the other hand, collaborators and donors might look for the future plans of the university, ongoing projects, or even search for talents. Thus, every users need should be taken into consideration.
In short the users can be classified into two categories, namely the internal users and the external users. This kind of grouping the users will enable you to clearly define the needs of user groups and plan out the app strategy easily. The internal users can be provided with access to current information on academics, sports, chat, festivities, e-library, and scholarship forms among others. External users, on the other hand, can be provided with access to events, functions, progress in projects, infrastructure development, and student improvement programs. On the outset, it may seem to an easy task to build mobile app for universities, but in reality a lot of things need to be taken into consideration.
Apart from the content related to curriculum, universities also have the responsibility of preserving cultural diversity and fulfilling the needs of the diverse student community. Universities being the cradles of knowledge should also be the pioneers to embrace changing technologies and emerging strategies. Mobile apps for universities must be designed is such a way that these characteristics are exhibited to the users. The features and functionalities of the app should also reflect the needs of the two groups of users mentioned above. The possible features and functionalities that enhance the usability of the mobile app are briefed in the subsequent paragraphs.
Features and functionalities for a mobile app are usually based on the services offered in an industry. As far as educational institutions are concerned, their needs include a strong web presence, course management tools, online library, admission process tools, and administration tools. According to researchers and mobile app experts, mobile apps for universities should house functions to facilitate academic activities, learning aids, access to view course material, to provide access to grades, e-books, library, photo gallery, and campus tours among others.
Aside of the generic information, mobile apps also provide individualized content for the staff and students. For instance, students’ personal data such as grades or account balance must be password protected. Since, the app will can be used by anyone from any corner of the world via internet connection, following standard security measures, such as encrypting and decrypting the data during transmission and providing restricted access to confidential data is a good idea. As far as the device level security is concerned, individuals can be suggested to utilize mobile security software to protect their devices from hackers and cyber criminals.
Developing mobile applications for universities isn’t a plaything. There are a number of DIY mobile app development platforms out there. Many of them claim that their platform can be used to build mobile apps of any complexity. Students from the computer science or IT departments may be tempted to try their hands on mobile app development as well. However, a truly useful mobile app can only be developed by professional mobile app developer. While it is the duty of the university to encourage such enthusiasts, only apps developed by professionals should be used as official apps of the university. Developers with experience in developing enterprise level mobile apps can not only include several features and functionalities, but they also take care of the security, distribution, maintenance, and updates of the app. If you are on the lookout for a mobile, Android & iOS app developer Atlanta Who has good experience in building apps for universities, do contact us.
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