I have seen a lot of people struggling with mobile apps, sites and responsive recently. A lot of people get caught up on the shiny object of an app but in most cases an app is not the solution. My thoughts are app, if done at all should be done last for a few reasons cost, multiple platforms to support, etc.

Another thing that will probably come up sooner or later is responsive design, which in most cases is separate from a mobile framework site. I think responsive and mobile framework site are the two most important personally. There are some people that think only responsive but I think our mix has worked out well visit both M.fiu.edu (mobile site) and fiu.edu (responsive site) from a mobile phone, they are both mobile optimized but have very different yet in my mind very valid use cases. If only one I would say responsive. Thought I think there is room for both. You can visit m.fiu.edu and fiu.edu from a mobile phone, they are both mobile optimized but have very different. Yet in my mind both have very valid use cases.

Furthermore, on the topic of mobile app, many people that mention wanting an app see “prospective students” as the audience of this app. Just from a logic sense prospective students in my mind are not the right audience for an app. Apps are for current students, faculty and staff. People who are already fully engaged with your university and your content. A prospect is passive at best, I don’t think most prospective students are going to want to download an app when all they want is basic info.

To get a bit more on this I would recommend you look at the Noel Levitz mobile expectations report.

This site is another great resource

2 thoughts to “Mobile sites, apps and responsive – oh my

  • Eric Olsen

    In short (and for mobile viewers), do you see m.fiu.edu designed more for current students, and your responsive fiu.edu designed more for prospects?

  • mherzber

    I would see m.fiu for current where as, the responsive is a more for everyone. I cant say we focused on prospects over others. THought there are a few schools that have done mobile sites that focus on prospects and been very successful. http://m.champlain.edu/ is one that comes to mind.

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