Mobile Site vs. Mobile Application

Fight Night Punch TestMobile 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!

Mobile Site

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.

Mobile Application

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?

The Solution

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.

Your Thoughts?

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.

Digital Signs

So what do you think of all of the new digital sign boards around campus? We are busy creating new templates for localized content and new video and motion graphics for display. So tell us, what do you want to see on the signs? What content do you find the most helpful or the least? Give us your suggestions!

5 Restaurants around St. Louis

Ok on my way into work today I was trying to figure out my top 5 favorite restaurants in St. Louis. Then I realized. I need help finding better places to eat. So I am going to do my first blog post on my lackluster 5 favorite places I have ate at in St. Louis.

 

  1. Old Spaghetti Factory- ok this was easily tops on my list. I have been to many spaghetti places and this is my favorite so far.  We called ahead and didn’t have to wait to be seated on a Saturday night. Then the best part was that we got bread, soup or salad, Iced tea, and ice creams included with are meal! Oh I guess the meal was tasty also.
  2. Pasta House in University City- Ok I almost forgot this place from my list because I couldn’t remember the name of it. Thanks Jeff Miller for taking me here. This was the first place in St. Louis that I ate at. The food was good the service was nice. I felt like the greeter at the door was my Great grandma. I picture this place as dinner in a true Italian family “Jersey Shore Style.”
  3. Cheese Cake Factory- Ok this gets such a high ranking because I love Cheesecake and where else would you get cheesecake than from the cheesecake factory. I have been to this restaurant in many different cities, so I use it as my safe choice when I want good food and don’t know where to go.
  4. My Own Kitchen-Well since I trained at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School I have extensive knowledge in omelet creating. So that is why this lands at the number 3 spot. Also I was bored this past Saturday morning as I was watching my morning cartoons. I decided to get up and make breakfast. I made maybe the best omelet ever green peppers, cheese, sausage, ham, and extra bacon. Just going to end with YUMMY!
  5. Orange Leaf- Ok I’m not a big sweets eater so I didn’t know if I wanted ice cream or frozen yogurt or what ever those healthy people like to call it to make you want to eat their ice cream that’s going to stop your heart. Sorry for going on a rant but I was disturbed because its suppose to be healthy for you and they trick you by giving you the biggest bowl you can find and say fill it up. So of course your eyes are bigger than you tummy. And you make the biggest bowl you can. Oh next, they say your not done were going to give you every candy bar and unhealthy product on the market to add to your mountain of ice cream. Then we will give you every piece of gummy candy you can buy at Costco. To top all of that off we will weigh your bowl and that’s how much you have to pay. You sneaky monkeys… You could of let me know I was paying $12 for this mountain of heart attack I am about to eat. ……. Ok back to what I was saying it was good still after all of that so it made the list. Now I know eat in moderation.
  6. Imo’s Pizza- Ok this place made this list by default just so I can go on a rant about it. Sorry to anyone from St. Louis or if you like this place but it was way to rich of a taste. I had two little squares and had to drink a whole glass of water. I am from Chicago where we have real Pizza!! The only two positives was they delivered to my house and it tasted a lot better the next day for lunch after that rich sauce or cheese had soaked into the crust.

Ok so I guess I will end here and hope someone can give recommendations to places to go eat now!! I cant wait!!

New Blog Tagline

If you haven’t noticed, we are currently in process of revamping/reviving our department blog. I’d like to suggest we change the tagline of it, and we’d like some audience participation. For those currently unaware of what a tagline is, it’s the line directly below the title of our blog. Currently it says, “Maryville University’s Interactive Media Group”. I’m going to throw a few out there and you guys make some suggestions in the comments.

Sorry, those are the best ones I’ve got! Post your suggestions in the comments.

Maryville University’s homepage through the years

Wow, our homepage sure has changed a lot over the years! The designs below are screenshots from the years 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2010. Can you guess which design goes with which year?

Homepage A

Homepage B

Homepage C

Homepage D

Homepage E

 

 

ANSWER:
A: 2000, B:2003, C:2010, D:2001, E:2006

Website and Internal Portal

There has been much talk lately about the differences between our website and the new internal portal. Both are powerful communication tools. Which is the right place for your content? The answer lies in your audience.

In the coming months, the content on our website, www.maryville.edu, will be redesigned and relaunched. The primary objective of the new website will be marketing to and recruitment of prospective students. The work of the Interactive Media Group will be to develop new and exciting ways to market the university and our academic programs to this external audience. This will include new video development such as faculty and student profiles, program overviews, campus tours and more. We will be working with each department or program to repackage your content as we move through this process.

As we review content on our current website we will be identifying content that is primarily directed an internal audience. We will be assisting you in getting that information moved to the new portal, my.maryville.edu. As a rule of thumb if your target audience is someone who has a Maryville email address, then likely that content belongs on the internal portal. Things like forms for design requests or menus for food services are examples of internal content. In the coming weeks there will be more details and training on how to publish content to the internal portal. Now is a good time to start rethinking your content and defining your audience.

Secluded Lunch Location

Maryville Center outdoor dining

So I was running along the trails today and came to the end of the trail in Maryville Center and found these little tables. I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to getting out and explore more of the campus and the surrounding area. There is all kinds of stuff to check out. If you click on the photo, it will take you to my flickr page and you can view on the map where these benches are located.

I’m not sure who is responsible for the cleanup, but the tree limbs in the background are covering the back two tables. Maybe one of these days I’ll come out with a portable hand saw and clean up some of the dead tree limbs covering the trails.

WordCamp St. Louis 2011

Matt Mullenweg during WCSTL Q&A
Matt Mullenweg during WCSTL Q&A

Well, WordCamp St. Louis 2011 is officially over. It was great to see close to 200 WordPress enthusiasts roaming the halls of Maryville University. We even had Matt Mullenweg grace us with his presence and answer questions in a Q&A session. We were also blessed to have 20+ Automattic employees running the happiness bar where fellow WordPress users could get help with their websites. Unfortunately, from what I saw, this was highly under-utilized.

Hopefully Maryville has the opportunity to be the venue for this event again next year. Watch for video to come online soon at WordPress.TV. For a recap of some of the useful information, check out the twitter hash tag, #WCSTL. It was however trending and managed to pick up some spam, so watch out for some of the tweets.

Department Name Change

As of June 1, 2011 Web Services is now known as the Interactive Media Team. It was decided that name better reflected what we do for the campus. Along with the name change, we are hoping to start blogging more on current topics in our area.