Mobile use is definitely on the rise. Over the past year, we’ve seen a 242% increase in mobile traffic to our website. This is one of those items that is a priority for us, but also will require a lot of time and effort.
Time and effort? What could make this such a big project? Well, when it comes to mobile devices, you really have two options for displaying content: a mobile site or a mobile application. What’s the difference? Is there a need for both? I’m glad you asked!
A mobile site is essentially a subset of your full website formatted for a smaller screen with stuff that might be helpful to someone on-the-go: campus map,phone numbers, and maybe some news and events.
A mobile application is something you would download directly on your phone and would have access to the features of your phone. The mobile application can do everything the mobile site can and more. It could possibly add events to your calendar, track your current gps location (useful for a campus map), play the school fight song, etc. The problem with creating a mobile application is that we have multiple types of mobile devices: Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android phones and tablets, BlackBerry devices, and many more (analytics for the past month shows 106 different devices). So, do you create one for each of the devices or just hit the top two or three?
My thoughts are that we do both. I think a mobile site would be beneficial to visitors that don’t have one of the mobile applications or for someone on the go looking for contact information or directions. I believe if we created an application for Apple devices and Android devices we would hit the majority of our audience.
Help us shape the future mobile presence of Maryville. What do you think should be included in a mobile application and a mobile site? Write below in the comments.