The much debated argument about the mobile apps or mobile websites continues. With the increase in mobile device software, it becomes more and more essential for colleges to have a mobile resource for students. Studies show that 65% of students had a raised interest in going to a college after they have had a positive web experience with their school.
I don’t think I need to convince you to create a mobile resource, because statistics of the on-the-go technology trend does the persuasion for me. Which one you should create is the real question. Both the application and mobile website are used as tools for colleges to simplify information shown on a website. If a student is trying to find the phone number for the admissions office, they are not going to want to read the dean’s welcome speech every time they get on the schools’ mobile resource. By showing the most important sections of their websites, it makes it easier for users to get the information they need. They both have the ability to show text and images, and access features like video, click to call, and location-based mapping. Then why does it matter which one colleges use? Here are some major differences to help you decide which one is more effective for your college.
For example, here are two different mobile tools used to display information from the University of Pittsburgh.
The first one on the left is from their mobile website (m.pitt.edu), which shows the most frequently used information on their website. From there you are able to view dining menus, shuttle schedules, the latest Pitt news, and even sync your Google calendar. The one on the right is also made for the University of Pittsburgh, but it is an application. This ‘Angry Panthers’ application is fun and engaging. It plays the Pittsburgh Panther growl and shows next season’s upcoming basketball and football schedule. The main difference between these two is interaction.
If you are simply presenting information, there is no need to pay for expensive apps to show this. You can even do a rough test of what your website would look like as a mobile website by using Dudamobile, Google Sites, Webs, or various other free mobile website builder websites. However, if you want the user to be able to do more absorbing activities, like uploading pictures, playing games, and looking at real time integrated information (i.e. Twitter), then an app may be better suited for your college.
For more on the recent trend in mobile sources for higher education, view statistics from the Higher Education Experts.