Jeff Smith noon, March 8
UCSD recognized for superior campus mobile apps
UC San Diego, frequently named among the country’s highest-ranking schools, has another advantage to tout: its iPhone app.
The university’s News Center notes that it was one of the first campuses to launch a mobile application in 2009, and continued innovation landed it a spot on a USA Today list of “Five Colleges With Great Mobile Apps.”
Over 20 different apps designed for use by students and faculty do everything from providing customized walking maps to class to offering online textbook purchasing to loading menus at various campus eateries. The Mobile Web Framework technology, originally developed at UCLA, is “device agnostic,” meaning it works on new and old versions of both iPhone and Android operating systems, making individual programs more universally accessible.
“Today’s students have a deep connection with mobile devices,” Brett Pollak, director of the Campus Web Office, tells News Center. “Most haven’t known life without them. We have to be on the forefront of this technology so that we can deliver content on the devices that students are using.”
Another innovation touted in the technology is “responsive design,” which custom-tailors the look of pages to fit the format being used. Since 2009, the number of different screen sizes on internet devices viewing UCSD’s homepage has jumped from 22 to over 500, creating the need to configure pages on the university’s site to reflexively adapt to provide optimum viewing on anything from a full-size desktop screen to a mobile phone. Cost savings by using this technology instead of creating two separate designs (for computer and smartphone view) for each university page is estimated at in excess of $1 million.
The next project, web designers say, is to make students’ grades and course information accessible via mobile, including an option to receive a text message when the latest exam results are available for online review.
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