Just when you thought that you were getting a handle on social media, something else starts creeping in: the rising use of mobile. There is more than enough data out there to support the fact that mobile is on the up and it will not stop anytime soon. As Michael Stoner emphasized during our two study tours, “everything is connected to everything.” A mobile site is just another aspect of a good overall web presence and an important gateway to a university’s content (including social media.)
- Mobile devices count for 8.9% of global web visits
- The U.S. alone has 98 million mobile subscribers and is 3rd behind China and India
- 40% of those 98M own smartphones
- And 54% of smartphone users are 18-24 yrs old
Mobile in Higher Ed
Note: Even though the data that follows is U.S. based, I think it’s still relevant.
The 2012 State of the Mobile Wed in #highered Survey Report shows that while many universities offer a mobile option, many still don’t have a budget for it. Dave Molsen in his Higher Ed Mobile Website Survey paints a bleaker picture, with only 9% of universities out of a total surveyed of 178 offering a mobile site.
For the most part, universities are building these mobile solutions with students (and prospective students) in mind first, and then faculty & staff. In addition, these solutions are oriented towards supporting campus life, calendar of events, bus schedules, maps, etc.
As far as devices supported, Dave Molsen’s exhaustive research shows that only 31% of schools surveyed supported more than one device. And perhaps it’s not very surprising that 71% of schools created their mobile solution in-house without the help of consultants of specialized developers.
But what do students want to see?
Noel-Levitz released an E-Expectations Trend Report on the Mobile Browsing Behaviors and Expectations of College-Bound High School Students. Produced with research partners OmniUpdate,CollegeWeek Live and NRCUA, the study surveyed nearly 2,300 college-bound students and found a whopping 52% have viewed a school’s website on a mobile device before.
List of wants by those surveyed:
- Academic program listing
- Cost/scholarship calculators
- A calendar of important dates and deadlines
- Specific details about academic programs
- An application process summary
- Online application forms
There are some great examples and cases to draw and learn from. Beware that very few address the six points above.
- West Virginia University’s Dave Molsen has written and researched extensively about his experience building a mobile site. Check out the mobile site for West Virginia University: http://m.wvu.edu/about/
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s (MIT) mobile site uses open code allowing others to take it and adapt it.
- And here’s a glossary of a higher ed mobile sites: http://www.edustyle.net/gallery_mobile.php
Google offers a pretty good set of resources to make the move to mobile in GOMO. You can test your site and see how it is viewed by mobile users and even build your mobile site if you wish to take the plunge.
Finally, Seth Odell also shares some great insights in this video: