Introducing the University’s First Official Mobile App
By Jim Robertson
NYU Mobile is the University’s first official mobile app, designed to connect students, faculty, and staff to the information they need from anywhere with cell service. NYU’s Digital Communications Group, which spans University Relations and Public Affairs (URPA) and Information Technology Services (ITS), led the development of the NYU Mobile app, with additional support from Student Affairs.
Why Go Mobile?
The desire to stay connected is directing everyone toward “mobility.” Instant, on-demand access to information from all locations and at all times is becoming essential to our day-to-day lives. Expectations about what information is available to us on the go are increasing; we’ve come to expect our mobile interactions to be responsive and immediate.
This is particularly true for the University community. NYU students are digital natives: highly social, always connected, and collaborative. NYU faculty look for opportunities to experiment with and improve students’ learning experience, creating a teaching and learning environment that goes beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. NYU staff work day and night to keep our global networks and services running smoothly, helping to ensure a great education experience. All stand to gain from the increased mobility that the NYU Mobile app aims to provide.
The concept of “mobile” encompases everything from smartphone devices to on-the-go access, from gesture and touch interfaces to wireless bandwidth. But, at heart, the key is the “me” in mobile. Mobile interaction is personal. We hold devices in our hands. We tap, swipe, pinch, and put them back in our pockets. The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that 90 percent of people aged 18-29 years old sleep with their cell phones in or next to their beds each night.
With this personal experience comes the opportunity to offer content in context. As we continue to enhance the NYU Mobile app, we envision offering features and content matched to each user’s role and place within NYU. For example, users at the Washington Square Campus will see the “here and now” content relevant to New York City. Likewise, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai users will see the places, events, news, and services relevant to their location in NYU’s global network. Additional future improvements are described below.
Available for iOS and Android devices, the app can be downloaded for free by searching “NYU Mobile” in the iTunes or Google Play stores or by following the direct links listed atwww.nyu.edu/mobile (also in this article’s sidebar). Here are some of the features currently available via NYU Mobile:
- Real-time shuttle tracking: Need to hop on the Route B shuttle to get downtown or over to the west side? Now you can see the real-time location of all NYU shuttles in New York, allowing you to time when you head to the stop. Stay warm and dry until they arrive!
- University events: See what’s happening around NYU, including lectures, exhibits, workshops, social events, and more.
- Job postings on NYU CareerNet: Get a jump-start on your job or internship hunt.
- Service opportunities on ServiceConnect: In keeping with NYU’s motto as “a private university in the public service,” many community members volunteer their time to service projects. Browse volunteer opportunities and find the one that’s right for you.
- Campus map: Don’t get lost on your way to class! This handy tool allows you to locate NYU buildings and facilities as you move around campus.
- Contact information from the NYU Directory: The redesigned NYU Directory makes it easy to find the office of your professor, a University location, or a campus phone number.
- University news: NYU News published nearly 600 articles last year. Stay up-to-date with happenings across the NYU community.
- And more!
What’s in the Pipeline
A strategic decision was made to release the NYU Mobile app with a basic set of features and to enhance it over time based on usage statistics. Similar to practices used with the development of the new NYU website, we analyze aggregated statistics on usage patterns to help identify problem spots and to guide improvements. Here are some of the future plans for the NYU Mobile app:
- Unification: Make sure that the interface, content, and messaging are consistent with other NYU communication channels, such as the main NYU website.
- Leverage usage data and existing resources: The Digital Communications Group will be looking at usage statistics to help guide our feature enhancement roadmap.
- Mobile web: As NYU Mobile is enhanced, it will begin to offer jumping-off links to NYU mobile-optimized websites and web apps. Over the long term, the mobile-optimized web will offer NYU more agility to develop features and a more sustainable approach to code management.
- Personalization: By recognizing an individual’s role and location within the University, NYU Mobile will be able to provide information tailored directly to that person.
The Digital Communications Group is excited to offer this new service to the NYU community, which we hope will make it easier than ever to access University-related information. We encourage you to begin using the NYU Mobile app today to explore its many features, and would love to hear your questions or feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.