APS3: What Students Want in Their Mobile Application

Glenn Donaldson 
Senior Application Architect - OCIO, The Ohio State University

James Burgoon 
Senior Web Developer, University Communications, The Ohio State University

Stephen Fischer 
Associate Director, Student Life IT, The Ohio State University

The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at http://2011.highedweb.org/presentations/APS3.mp3

Announcer: This is one in a series of podcast from the HigheEdWeb Conference in Austin, 2011.

Speaker 1: We wanted to take the temperature of the audience, if you will. If you could just shout out what you love or what you hate about your university mobile situation. Maybe you don't have one.

Audience 1: Blackboards.

Speaker 1: Blackboard, it sucks.

Audience 2: We don't have one.

Speaker 1: Don't have one.

Audience 2: We never asked the students what they actually need.

Speaker 1: You never asked the students what they wanted. Wow, yes.

Audience 3: Some of the students want something.

Speaker 1: Yeah, and they always want something.

Audience 4: What students?

Speaker 1: Yeah, what students?


Audience 5: Which set of students?

Speaker 1: Yeah, which students?

Audience 5: Perspective students or...

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Audience 6: The legal department won't let the students...


Speaker 1: Wow, cry me a river. Yeah. You're singing your song here. The formal name of this presentation is I Can Haz Mobile? What Students Want in Their Mobile Application.


But if we're going to be a little more honest, we would say what students want or what they think they want in their mobile application. And in full disclosure, we would add an asterisk, there at the bottom, as told by a few aging web guys here before you today. So who are these heroes of Web? Steve, why don't you introduce.

Stephen Fischer: My name is Steve Fischer and my day-to-day job is as a resource manager. If I were to associate with a band, one would be Cinderella and ladies, if you're tweeting out there you're going @admin61. You're welcome to say @admin61 hearts Cinderella.


Glenn Donaldson: And I'm Glenn Donaldson from the Ohio State University. I'm from the Office of the CIO at OSU, and my primary job is architect. And the band I associate with is Van Halen. That's what we used when we're playing football, so there you go.

James Burgoon: I'm Jim Burgoon, I'm a designer with the University of Communications at the Ohio State University. For the purposes of this presentation, I would say I identify most closely with Rage Against the Machine. So we're all in different departments and the university is a big place. We all have different roles within the university, but there are a few common things that bind us together.

We're all about the same age. We tend to use mobile in similar ways. We send about the same number of text messages per month. And our common professional experience, the commonality is the Web. So for us, this was the revolution. This is the first browser I can remember using, probably these guys too.


Mosaic from the University of Illinois mid-'90s, let's say. And during this era is John Barlow, a Grateful Dead lyricist, Harvard Fellow, had this quote, I can paraphrase it a little bit "If you're above a certain age you feel like an immigrant in a place where your children are natives." And even though that was 1994, I don't think that big of a stretch, but the same thing is going on right now, that these young people are - the 18-year-old college student - is now the mobile native and we kind of missed the revolution this time around.

So to make this case, you can look at all this data, year 2000, students without cell phones was about 38%. And you can't really see it but you can see where that trend line is going - by 2010 it's 0% students without cell phones.


And there's tons of this data we've all stated. This is visits to our mobile site m.osu. This is a Google Analytics chart. You can't really see 2010 but this is spring quarter, our spring term 2011 in the blue line, and this green line is 2010. You can see that there is this 100% increase easily and our lows for this year are higher than our highs from last year. And our peak times are punctuated by this violent upswing at the beginning of a quarter, at the end of a quarter it was the same sort of huge trajectory.

But then, on the other side of the equation, the other end of the spectrum, I guess, this first number, this 255%, just amazing number is Verizon devices - the increase of Verizon devices hitting our site comparing that same timeframe, spring 2010 versus spring 2011.


And 255%, if you look at Web Analytics a 10% increase in a year might be pretty good if you're trying to hit some target, 10 to 15%. So these numbers are pretty incredible. We asked Verizon to give us some data connection information for the traffic they're seeing on their side for the campus area. I'm not a Verizon guy but I guess this is like EVDOs, like 3G connections and it's up 121%. Data volume is up 77%. So really astounding kind of numbers.

The campus itself, we have 60,000 students on the main campus. All of them have a cell phone. No surprise there.


Most have smart phones about 70% we're finding. Thirty-six percent of students feel their cell phone is as important to them as their car. And then another 36% of all smart phone users, not just students, use the device in bed. So these devices are really ingrained in everyday life now. And they're not just status symbols, they're really using these things.

So here the LOL cat represents students and Lawrence Welk represents a typical staff member. Let's say an average student will send and receive 4,000 text messages a month. Sorry, the computer is trying to find wireless, let me turn that off.


So the average staff member, you know, old guys, are lucky to send and receive 100 a month in a typical situation. There's a reason these devices are awesome. In the Web there are this Mac Quadra 800, it was $5,000 in 2011 money and it weighed 25 pounds, a big hunk of sheet metal and the monitor was another 50 pounds. And now, you have this 1 1/2-pound device, it's 500 bucks that comes with the display that's more powerful. And you could swap in an iPhone or an HTC Desire or anything else in that right side, really, from today's era.

So the students are telling us, we love mobile, we are all about the mobile. But so far, university's administrative response, the gilded philosoraptor, has been kind of like, yeah, we're just coming to grips with the Web and that's taken us a decade.


Why do we need this mobile thing? Can't they just pinch zoom with Mobile Safari and isn't that good enough? And I say mostly because we haven't done nothing. We've had a mobile sites since 2005. At the time it was designed for the hot phone, the Motorola Razr, this 12 lines of text device, very simple. Two thousand six, we launched a ringtone text messaging service.

At the time, text messages were selling for 3 bucks a pop I think, and people were just stealing the songs from our band and just selling them on these sites. So we decided to launch a service to give ringtones away for free. And this odd ball format, this QCP format that no phone now supports, and then we moved to MP3 and then with the iPhone, the M4 formats.


But even now, especially this time of year, football season, we're sending out 200 a day, basically, about 70,000 a year, and the service is still running. And then with the launch of the iPhone we sort of had this revolution within a revolution of really, Apple showing us what you could do with mobile devices. So the next generation of our mobile site mimicking the native UI, exploiting locational abilities and we talked about the stats.

And then the revolution within the revolution within the revolution was apps. So in 2010 we launched O-H-I-O iPhone app. I don't know if you guys are familiar with O-H-I-O, but people do the silly pose and they submit their photos to our web...yeah he's the admin 5,000-plus downloads. I'm not sure of the numbers now.


In 10% we've got like 10,000 images so far and about 10% of these images are from the app itself. And also during this era, we started serving students to see what do they want? We finally decided and started asking our users what they might be interested in. And we'll touch on some of this data later.

So we know basically that our users, our students primarily, see the university as a big place as a monolith - just a single entity. But the way the university is organized, this is how we present ourselves. We sort of lift our bureaucratic skirt and show them the sort of ugly underpinnings when we communicate to them.


We did this on the Web, we did this in print material, we do it every where really. But we know students, they keep telling us again and again, how can I get to my stuff? So that's what they want. And so OSU Mobile helps us answer that question. Steve.

Stephen Fischer: OSU Mobile has been - can everybody hear me? - has been learning by doing. It's been about failing more times than we've succeeded knowing that we don't have all the answers, knowing that it's changing as we're going along, and it's been both fun and scary at the same time. So OSU Mobile here it is and the iOS app store as it is today, but really, Glenn, Jim, the team, we see what has been - what is become OSU Mobile is more than just a mobile application.


It's really been this collaborative effort across campus that without it, there wouldn't be a mobile app or at least a good app that is in line with what students want. The typical collaboration at our campus, and I'm sure most of yours, is something like this: you get a single department and they deliver a certain technology, product, service to the students, right? So Lawrence Welk is not bad if you like Lawrence Welk, right? But it can be a bit monotonous, it can become a bit stale and a bit dated.

But what we really like about what we've done with this project is we've been able to mash up Lawrence Welk with the Spice Girls. So give something to the students that they would never get if it was just coming from a single department or from a single entity or from a single voice. And when we can collaborate like this and do things that are not comfortable and do things that are a little scary and do things that you kind of look at weird like how would the Spice Girls make music with Lawrence Welk?


But when you do that, you can begin to reach the students. Today, OK, the students are getting bombarded through email, through all types of different communication by all these different departments. So one's message is like here in, what's a Celine Dion song? What's the - the Titanic song. Anyway, whatever the name of that. I'm glad no one knows, right?


Stephen Fischer: We've all forgotten that 2000, whatever year that was, '99 something like that. Anyway, Milli Vanilli or the Chili Peppers or Boys II Men? OK. So lots of different messages, it could become overwhelming, sometimes these messages. The Spice Girls aren't always trying to say the same thing as their motives, their means of communication are a little bit different and that can become burdensome, confusing to the students.


So we illustrate, and this is really Jim Burgoon's brainchild here, we view our campus as this melting pot of all different musical acts from the past few decades. Lots of different things going on here. Different levels of musical ability. Different levels of types of music. Different instruments used. Some write their songs. Some have never written a song in their life to get their household names.

But all these things, again, diversity is good but there are all these different skills and talents not always working together, not always finding those commonalities that exist. And that's where Jim, Glenn and myself, in terms of mobile, have really seen ourselves as the Gibbs brothers. We really see that we have a lot of things in common. I guess, you have to look at the sides of the screen, but we see a lot of things in common.


We both have a nice tan.


Stephen Fischer: We both wear gold jewelry - lots of it. We both like to keep our shirts unbuttoned very low to expose our hairy chest. So these are these commonalities that are very important. But the Bee Gees, OK, here we are represented by the Bee Gees and they were very popular, right? So tens of millions of records, very popular. We'll forever be the SNL Skits with Timberlake and the guy with the night...

Jimmy Fallon, thank you. Popularized again recently through Saturday Night Live and Timberlake and Fallon, but they don't really rock. The Bee Gees is kind of the soft pop popularizing the disco era arguably some good music, talented guys, some problems along the way, but they don't really rock.


So looking at us, this is OSU mobile team, the one missing element that we needed to really rock were the students. So there you see that kitty cat, here they are represented at the end, OK? But we really needed to bring these students on board and when we did, then we really rock. We're no longer the Bee Gees, we're Kiss. This multi-billion dollar marketing machine crammed on our throats everyday.

So doing this, we really...


Stephen Fischer: We really begin to make the kittens happy. So how will we use this? What is the role of the students? How have they been involved with this project? They've been riding the boat. If this is us leading them across the Delaware, they were riding the boat, rowing in integral, integral part of this project. And that has been very true from its very inception - from its inception.


Lots of departments across campus, again, Ohio State University, the Ohio State University, one of , if not, the largest campus in the nation, and all these different departments; student center for knowledge, management, libraries, OCIO, student life university, communications, all have been integral parts. We're pulling data from all across our campus; archives, athletics, traffic and parking, university architect. Glenn is going to show some of the things we've implemented and that is not even a comprehensive list.

Again, our campus is so large, so decentralized, this was a very big effort that involved a lot of different departments. So when you think of how to break down the mentality of the student versus the philosoraptor, the students are just, hey, I want it. It's necessary. Mobile is necessary. My friends, if they're going to other schools, have it, I want it. Let's get it done. We'll help you get there but let's get it done.


Meanwhile, the philosoraptor, the staff members kind of like us, oh, gosh, but organizationally, listen student, I've got work with Jim and Glenn. I really don't like doing that. Maybe we can give you a departmentalized mobile app. We don't have that data so maybe we can give you some other data. You don't really want it but maybe, that's what we can offer to you.

And so, coming together to really bridge this has been very important. One thing that the students have done for us is they've got us in front of the top philosoraptors. Something we could have never done on our own. Our president of our university who's like a local celebrity, really, he said - one of the students had looked at our app. We've been to the Board of Trustees, we've been to Senior Management Council in our campus, we, as good looking and as talented as Jim, Glenn and I or we could have never gotten there on our own. And really it's been because of the students.

The students, as we know, they're digital natives, they're very smart, they're very unintimidated, and they've been able to jump right in even on the technical.


And we had students coding on it and they've gotten involved. They're not afraid of these technologies and often times, even as digital immigrants, even if we're technical people, it's not as natural and it's not as we have some barriers that the students just don't have.

And one other important thing we did, Jim mentioned this, was we've surveyed almost a thousand students along the way. This was one of the surveys, sack of paper surveys that we got. And one other nice thing about having students is we use them to transcribe those all into Excel and to get the data.

But that's been huge because when we first asked it at the beginning what students...people express that they are upset because nobody talks to students and I said this many times and in fact, three, four years ago, one of my initiatives was to really find out they wanted because I got so sick of sitting in a conference room with a bunch of people that usually are older than me and we're all deciding what students want. And we really have no earthly idea.


So getting that and that data there has been invaluable as far as bringing it to the administration. So quick timeline here that we've really this is going on for us really the project itself about a year, about six months prior. We looked at a vendor, it was Blackboard. I think somebody mentioned Blackboard. And we're a Blackboard ID school. And for us, it wasn't a good fit. Jim's office had already done a lot of the groundwork as far as aggregating data and so forth and we didn't see that this would be a good option. But it got the three of us and several other key people in the room together for the first time talking about mobile.

And again, at least in our campus, that's uncommon to have these people from all these different departments on the same room. So in September 2010, it's a little over a year ago, a student sent my boss an email, my boss probably driving in his car forwarded it to me really quick, and, hey, let's...he didn't say it but he implied let's get this student off our back. She was asking about a mobile app.


So I emailed her back, never expected to hear anything. Well, that student is the one that got us in front of all these upper-echelon folks and was an integral, integral part and driver of this project. Believe me, we had an answer to her. Her expectations many, many times and she wasn't going to take no and she pushed us and challenged us and we wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for her.

Around December of last year we got this core team of this cross-departmental team formed. And then in April, and this was huge for us, it was April 15th, it was a Friday, we have a student union which is a hub of our campus, probably most of you have seen it in the viral video, the journey don't stop believing in Glee, flash mob, anyway. So we had it right in there in the middle of it. We had an event where we brought the vices, we put them up on tables, we advertised, we had lots of free pizza, key component there, and students all came and we had a few hundred students.


And not only students, some of the upper-level folks that are on our campus came by, looked at the app that raised awareness and it really put us on the map. And shortly thereafter, we presented to the Board of Trustees. In July 1st we launched the iOS application and we're running out of days in October, we'll change this to early November. We will get the Android alpha we are very, very close.

So with that, Glenn is going to talk about the app.

Glenn Donaldson: Musical element please.

Stephen Fischer: I saw somebody in the back channel mentioned Freebird, maybe we can...I'll stand up here.

Glenn Donaldson: Go ahead.

Stephen Fischer: If I...yes.

Glenn Donaldson: Can you hear me? OK. So here's our app and as we said, we've done a lot of surveying of the students and what they wanted. And there was five applications that were key stakes in the ground that were what the students wanted and what we were going to release.


The rest of the other information is really public information, but I wanted to point out are schedule, grades, BuckID, maps and busses. Those are the key five things that students really wanted - self-service access. So what do students want? I want to see my schedule. I want to see my grades. Those kind of things. BuckID, what's the balance of my BuckID card. And maps and then busses, just to show you those things.

This is not my schedule because I didn't want to show you my bad dates. Anyway, we have a turns list, they could select the entire history of what they have for schedule and their current one. You have this week and what you have during that week, that time and schedule. You have your grades. Go through all the turns. These are decent grades. They're not mine.


BuckID, $.5 cents, poor student. Then we have our busses. This is showing the different routes and you see it zoomed in. We left that in there because somebody did it in Florida, I was like why are you looking at busses in Florida around the campus? But just to show you that, that is showing all the different busses, we have the different routes around our campus and the busses that are going there.

Each bus has a GPS underneath the seat so you can keep track of where they are. So if you're standing out in the cold in the winter, you see how much time there is between each bus. So that was a really hot app for the students. And maps is another thing. Just to show all the high points on our campus. But then we have a very neat app called Buckeye Stroll.


Buckeye Stroll is not just for students, it could be for parents, alumni, whatever. And you just select the point that's on the site and it gives you a history of that key point on a campus. So you could see this is not just for students but it was about the students and driven by the students.

Another app, of course we have our athletics that we have to represent to go Buckeyes. Then there's O-H-I-O, that is around the world, everybody around the world showing their different stances, the different countries and cities. It's very popular on the campus. And then the neat thing here at the bottom, is one thing we wanted to show, is a nearby. And there is a picture there that's of a key building that we have around campus.

So when students are walking around campus if they're by a key location, that picture will show. So out of stadium or union, the library.


And then, we show what's near and currently, we're in Texas so we're thousand miles away from this point. But we have food, dining, shopping, and convenience and then we have the information for each of those things that they could go to.

Now, unless there's really questions about the app, that's pretty much it. You want to ask a question?

Audience 9: Do students sign in on the app?

Glenn Donaldson: Yes. The question was do students sign in on the app? And, yes, they do. We have implemented Shibboleth. I think there was a guy presenting before Mark Heiman on login and authentication. Shibboleth is a form of that authentication, so we've incorporated that into the app. That is basically what we used for the entire campus for all of the self-service for employees, students, et cetera. And we just log in before just to make sure the demo. Question at the back.


Audience 10: What did you not like about the Blackboard app?

Glenn Donaldson: Well, I don't think it was really we didn't like the Blackboard app. It was just that we have a lot of work done on campus, especially around the feeds that communications had. And then those services that were provided like the schedule or grades information, my team could do for us, so we just went that direction. Any more questions?

Audience 11: Question about the audience seems to be geared towards, do you have any ideas for an app that will be for alums or even admissions? We have spoke in our campus having a better representation in mobile for admissions. Can you speak for that?


Glenn Donaldson: I'll get to that as we go through the slides because I actually talked about some of the subjects. Go ahead.

Audience 12: Any specific pushbacks that you get from pulling in the different parties. I don't want to release that information, students want that information. How did you come to that? What were some of those examples?

Glenn Donaldson: What was the pushback we received? Well, the general pushback is we have too many projects. We all have our own jobs. So this is what we are paid to do. This is the funding for that, say, ERP. That's what you're supposed to do. Why are you doing this? That's an example of it. One more question and I'll go through some more slides.

Audience 13: Was there anything the students wanted that you couldn't?

Glenn Donaldson: I don't know.

Stephen Fischer: Yeah, registering for classes was one that they rated very highly and that's...


James Burgoon: It's a big technical challenge to do that naturally. We're not sure but they actually want to do that.

Glenn Donaldson: Now, just for some stats and about our marketing, we didn't really market except for that Ohio event. But as you see, right here we released it July, July 1st and at the end of September, which is the start of our quarter, we were probably at 19,000. We're now at 21,000, probably higher than that since the snapshot, but that's how fast of that 60,000 number we had. It just word of mouth and a few links on our OSU website. Students came and hit the information.

We have a feedback application inside the app and this is some of the information that they were requesting. So Jim's collecting this and compiling all these information. But the two key things that were surprising or not surprising, but the highest among our list, is Carmen, and that's our D2L instance.


So they want that linked into the app and then Buckeye mail, which we scratched our heads because that's the email system. Why would you want that as part of the app? It's right beside the app. But every time we talk to students or any other customers, they want the mail within the application. So we may consider, it's not the first thing we release next, but something we might consider.

And here's just the slide that's showing the top 10; Carmen, Buckeye mail, ringtones, they wanted that, that's now there, and log-in - retaining their user name and password. Currently, again, this is integrated log-in that we use across campus so it's the same rules. They want to remember that, have that chance to remember their password, and just a few other things.


Now, this was all great and fun and everything, but it's not without challenges. Again, we get back to the web is fine, why mobile? Those old people. Anyway, it was getting the political, operational, financial support, especially in this time of a flat budget. And then our offices weren't used to working together for a lot of things.

We actually worked together on different things over the years, but generally, the politics of the departments didn't have people working together. We have memo of understanding between our office - who's responsible for what. And then we were charged to do a business case. And the biggest challenge was educating those administrative users or administration on why the mobile was important. So getting in front of those folks was a big deal.


Here again, we have the cat and the philosoraptor and us between playing that balancing act between the students and our VPs, et cetera, just saying why is it important and keeping the project going. Again, this was a grassroots effort. We were not charged to do it al, it's the student came to us and we said it was a good idea. So let's just go do it against any policies, any projects that we were on, we just got together and did it.

So that is great for getting something started, getting something out there and getting something done, but it's not sustainable. Again, go back to we have our own jobs that we're doing. So we can't just continue building more services onto something without spending any money because we didn't have any money when we started, so we weren't given $500,000 at the beginning. We just spent our own money, had our own devices.


Well, we had that shared passion, shared vision that the students had for the OSU Mobile project, so we just did it.

What worked, not worrying, getting bogged down, not waiting for total consensus. So if Steve and I agreed on something and Jim didn't, we'd still go on remaining focus on the end users. This time it was the students, next time it's faculty, next time it's that. The perspectives didn't and we're actually working with a group that's working on walking tour on campus that is our admissions team.

So we're working on all of that next part of the business case because we want to have an advisory sort of group made up of all those constituents and still, it's taking a stand on behalf of those end users and doing what they want and having them as part of the project.


No silos, no solos. OCIO's office could not do this by themselves. We think we know what the students want. We could do maybe technically we can do it, but we couldn't have the same flare as university communications and all the graphics and marketing, et cetera. We couldn't have the student life information, residence and BuckID, all that. So no one department can do any of these by themselves.

So it's great that it was a collaborative effort. Again, presentations with meeting and meetings with Senior Management Council, Board of Trustees, that solidified the buy in more for our VPs, our direct bosses than anything because the Board of Trustees was loving it. They were already saying, how do you we monetize this? Those were the kind of things, we're like, OK, they're on board. The other thing it did is when are you going to have this done?


We didn't have a project plan, we were just going at it. And we said at the Board of Trustees meeting, July 1st, and we just happened to make it on our red, white and blue day, which is our fireworks in our city and at 9:46, it was up on that app store. So it was like, hey, we made it.

The Cloud is your friend. We used a lot of different tools like for version control for the code, we had base camp for project management. We are on different locations. I'm actually out near the airport because of building construction, et cetera. So we moved away from campus, so at Stanton, communication with these guys and sharing files and things like that. We needed that timelines, real quick emails, and keeping our executives informed as well - status reports, so that was great.


And then there's all kind of feeds coming from many different areas on campus and pulling that all in to a service layer to push it out and on your client, so it's great. Work in progress, again, grassroots so we had to do the business case and we actually about two weeks ago, three weeks ago, sat with our VPs and I think they're on board and taking it to whoever does the funding and asking for money to support this.

But, we don't know, and so the question is out there if we failed or not. Right now it's a success, students are loving it. I think the feedback is great. And that's the last. Anymore questions?

Audience 14: How did you get the that all if you have no budget, how do you try something that actually didn't?

Stephen Fischer: We did it at a couple...let's see, we did it like there's student government, undergraduate student government event.


I got up there and talked for a few minutes and then, bam, they just went up the aisles and passed out the surveys. We did like we had these flicks for free movie thing. I forgot what movie, not Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, if you may. And so it was a big turnout. So they came in and we did it there and then also at that event that I mentioned where we were showing off the app.

Well, yes, and we have that too. And I would also say a lot of informal discussions too. I mean, those are in some ways as valuable as the huge surveys because you get this rapport with the students. You begin to form an idea of what they want.

James Burgoon: I was just going to mention again that when you do a road show and you bring an app to an event and you give it to someone who's never seen it before, and you watch them use it, it's painful, but it's so valuable to learn that way.


Something that you think may be really clear just is not communicating at all and it just becomes so evident to watch a group of people who have had no exposure to interact with these things.

Glenn Donaldson: Up there.

Audience 16: Why is there payback?

James Burgoon: The app store has cache. As a marketer, I want to be where my users are and for them, if we just pushed out a mobile site, even if it has the exact same features, it would not have as much perceived value as something in the app store.

Audience 16: What about your Android? I mean, you have lots of iPhone users, we have lots of Android users compared to our...

Stephen Fischer: That was one of the surveys we did and of course, Android has picked up in the last six months but about six months ago, of those who had a smart device, two-thirds had at least one iOS device because they included iPad Touches so that was the biggest bang for our buck but Android is also significant.


I was going to add to what Jim said, in a perfect world, no budget considerations, we'd have native Android, iOS and a mobile Web as well for Blackberry and other users. But that's the route we went with in that order.

Audience 17: Did you guys use phone gap or titanium, anything like that in terms of color?

Stephen Fischer: The iOS was titanium. The developers dropped it when we went into the Android version because of their experience and from what they heard on Android. And I think if we do another major upgrade for iOS, we probably go to X code for it as well.

Glenn Donaldson : It was really at the time we were doing the Appcelerator. There was bugs that was just...we couldn't get over at that time, so dropped then went straight to Java.

Audience 18: What type of testing did you do once you had maybe a working version?


Stephen Fischer: It's challenging because of physical devices versus like a Web browser. So what we do to distribute new builds is to test a product called test flight for iOS build or something for Android called Hockey Kit that we've still not pulled high enough the ground. We're trying to but to distribute it.

And then as far as testing a lot of handy devices to students and say, hey, will you test this, all of us on our own too, there's really been two full-time programmers and two student programmers. Just like any type of application, they're so close to it. It's Glenn, Jim and myself are using a good first pass to say, hey, this is wrong. This doesn't work. And then eventually, as many people as we can test it.

James Burgoon: And what we learned for Android especially, buy as many devices as you can that your super deluxe HTC awesomeness phone, the app may run great but there's a lot of students out there and a lot of people with lower-end Android devices where you're giving them heartache if you don't test it.


Glenn Donaldson: And another thing I want to add to that is the service feeds, all those things that are coming into the app, test those separately before you put them into the app. Test them like you were going to test your regular system. For 500 requests at a minute, we did that kind of thing because of our load, especially at the end of the quarter. Say there's 25,000 hits to view grades at that time right after finals. So do that kind of testing as well.

Any more questions?

James Burgoon: We have about five minutes left.

Audience 19: What's your opinion on mobile app versus mobile site?

James Burgoon: Like I said, it's not an either or question. In a perfect world we would have a mobile site that had the same functionality and the same feature parity that are iPad. I don't know. Maybe someday this app cache is going to wear off, but I don't know. Right now we've got to have an app.

Audience 19: Would you say there's, where would you think your priority?


James Burgoon: The mobile site and that very first mobile site I showed you is still running. And we do a browser sniff and if someone - God help him - if they're using an old phone, we detect it and we send them to that very basic site. So if they have a phone that doesn't have app capability and it's not an iOS device, we still try to accommodate them a little bit in a mobile way. But the site isn't nearly as feature rich as is what the app is offering.

Glenn Donaldson: And also the end-user whoever that is, what information they want and do you have that information available trying to get that first because that's key to pushing to the app whatever app you're going to develop. So I'd say that's just as important as doing the website or the app.

Audience 20: How to support the progress?

Stephen Fischer: None.



Stephen Fischer: We're really working on that and that has been a big challenge and Glenn talked about some of the ongoing funding. That will be a big part of it. Today, it's basically Robin Peter to pay Paul if there's a big bug it takes away from development.

Audience 20: Are you saying user support?

Stephen Fischer: Yeah, user support apps having problems with the app or something like that.

James Burgoon: Our support folks were terrified of this app. They thought they were going to be slotted with all kinds of problems and issues. And I think we've had one or two tickets?

Glenn Donaldson: Yeah, two tickets in our service. Now our service incident thing and it was a question, how do you do the app and when is the Android going to be available?

James Burgoon: Yeah. But we have a lot of requests, we have that feedback button right on the home screen of the app. We get a lot of bug reports and issue reports that way and that just comes to our Web master mail - people which is my office that handles that for folks. And some of it, if it's a bigger issue, we might escalate it to our developers but for the most part, it hasn't been.


Glenn Donaldson: One more question and then we'll take it off line.

Audience 21: In design, a lot of times when you're doing design research, the objective is to uncover the hidden things that they aren't exclusively asking for and take a mental leap and say, I hear all these problems that are surfacing and I think the golden idea is actually this thing that you're not asking for. I was wondering if you guys have one of those needs that's something that they're not explicitly asking for but I have this idea.

James Burgoon: I don't now how well we're doing it or if it was an epiphany or not, but to me releasing a mobile app or mobile website that does not exploit to your location isn't giving the user that much bank for the buck. We have a big campus and a lot of people walking around. I don't know how many acres it is, but it's big and, especially in your first year, you may not discover...and it may take you four years to discover, oh, there's a coffee shop on this corner or, oh, there's this great study location.


So I think for us exploiting that and showing where you are now and what's nearby is to me the more exciting part of it.

Glenn Donaldson: Thank you.


Speaker 1: Great, thank you very much because I'm really all about this. So triple seven, the ultimate open source CMS cage match. You think you're ready, John?

John Vieth: I'm ready.

Speaker 1: All right. I'm here to cut everybody off. So the rules of the game, eight minutes, only eight minutes, will come out after that. Each person gets eight minutes, then we give them three minutes each for rebuttal. Then only then can you ask a question, so make them good. All right, ready? It begins.


John Vieth : Let's do this. All right, I'm going to have to talk very fast because there is so much good to say about Drupal 7. So Drupal 7, why is Drupal 7 the ultimate open source CMS for higher education and arguably everyone else? Theming - theming in Drupal 7 is very easy to create 100% valid HTML and CSS themes. Sub-themes get you started so you can take a ready-made theme that's provided by the community, create a sub-themes that you only change what you need to to accomplish your theme.

Then when there are updates the main theme, you can update the master theme without affecting your sub-theme theoretically, makes your work very manageable when you're theming. Theming is almost entirely done with CSS. If you can't get it done, what you need to do is CSS and Drupal, you can override all of the templates. Can everyone hear me?


So everything in Drupal can be themed. If you can imagine it, you can theme it in Drupal 7, very powerful, pixel-perfect implementations of your designs or your designer's designs. Give me a Photoshop file or a PDF or whatever and it will be pixel perfect in Drupal and this is actually our theme that we've just finished building for our university-wide redesign. It's going to go live very shortly here in November.

Another reason, information architecture, Drupal excels for very large information architectures and that is because you have unlimited menus. Each menu can be a multi-level menu if you choose with unlimited levels for cascading menus and all sorts of UI implementations. Your menus can be huge. You can place you menus all over your various layouts. You get a multiple menus in each layout.


Multisite architecture is built in in Drupal 7. So if one website doesn't do it for you, you can have multiple Drupal websites, but yet maintain just one code base. The powerful built-in search in Drupal 7 is very extensible so you can search all your different types of content with one search. And Drupal 7's scale is extremely well.

Content types, Drupal 7 is all about content types. Content types are basically a type of content, more specifically it's a content type is a collection of fields that define what the UI of it is when you create your content. And your fields can be all sorts of fields from text fields, date fields, image fields, video fields, Boolean fields to trigger different functionality in your theme, taxonomy fields.


Examples of content types. You can have a content type for a basic page, an event page to drive your calendar. A photo detail page or a photo gallery depending on how you're doing that. A video page or a video gallery, blog post, meeting minutes index, is just another example, athletics event recap.

So here is a content type with all the different fields. You can really go crazy. And here is the content type editor. Here's the resulting editor UI for that content type. You get a Wysiwyg editor, image fields to upload your various fields that automatically resize your images for your layout so you don't have to rely on the user to know anything about imagery sizing. Just all fits together for you.

And here is a live demonstration of a resulting page that I created yesterday for demonstration purposes. You've got a YouTube video here, I threw a couple of modules over here. This can all be different on a page-by-page basis. Wysiwyg generated this content.


Got an image field here. Scroll down and you've got photo gallery here where you can have unlimited image from mails. All these images can use color box so that you can click an image and you automatically enter a slideshow mode. So you can do some really impressive layout stuff here.

You got your Breadcrumbs. You got your menus all triggered dynamically. Let's move on to the good stuff. So taxonomy is built in to Drupal 7 which is how you organize your content in the various categories. Views in Drupal 7, very powerful. A view is a way to query your different kinds of content, to display your content in different ways.


Best example is a blog. So you just create a bunch of blog posts and a view lets you display those various posts, query them and display them like a traditional blog with the filter. In that way, you can have unlimited blogs and unlimited just about everything in Drupal 7. Very flexible - flexibility is the key. If you can dream and you can do it in Drupal 7.

View is going to be displayed as a standalone page or they can be displayed as a black in the layout. So very flexible. Views are extremely powerful and pretty much unique to Drupal, especially in a way that they're integrated in with as almost a core feature. Calendaring, Drupal 7 does calendaring better than any dedicated Web app for calendaring that I've seen for a university-type environment.


And that's just using the features of Drupal to do calendaring the Drupal way. So that's just one of the things you get with the Drupal is awesome, unbelievable calendars. Beautiful Web forms in Drupal 7 using the Web form module. So now, anyone can create a Web form. The Web form content can be sent via email. It can be stored in your database and reviewed later. You can have office-use-only fields in your Web forms that can be filled in later by a non-visitor.

You can have visitors attach files to the forms that they're completing, which is great for attaching a resume to a job application or lots of other examples. And once you gathered all your data with your form, you can then query it with a view and display it in unlimited ways. So all of this ties together with Drupal 7.


Authentication and authorization, very flexible in Drupal 7. You've got your native authentication authorization but you can also extend it with LDAP, so really, anything is possible when it comes to authentication and authorization. And then you can extend that further with the Workbench Suite, which is a community module that's very well supported that adds additional workflow features.

So Drupal 7 is great for basically the content management side of things because of authorization and authentication.

Announcer: One minute.

John Vieth: One minute, wrapping up. Unbelievably extensible and that's Drupal's probably biggest strength. It's not just a CMS, it is a CMS and the application framework. So it's all about building things not just being satisfied with what Drupal comes with. You can build custom modules written in PHP. There are Drupal APIs that let Drupal interface with other systems.


Just a really great example, Appcelerator's Titanium platform for developing cross-platform mobile devices interfaces beautifully with Drupal. You can use your Drupal website as sort of a backend data storage for your mobile apps, that in that way sharing your content, sharing your users, sharing your user's sign-up.

More examples of very popular modules - e-commerce, mobile tools, switching themes, all very easy in Drupal 7. And finally, Drupal 7 is very widely adapted. Number two according to trends that built with.


John: That's all right. There's so much I could say.

Stephanie Leary: All right. We switch over, how's this sounds? Can everybody hear me?

Speaker 1: Can you guys hear this in the back? OK.

Stephanie Leary: All right.


Open up WordPress to keep this going.

Speaker 1: When you're ready.

Stephanie Leary: Just a second. All right. So WordPress, let's go. In the last couple of versions in the last 18 months or so, has really caught up to Drupal and some of the more formerly considered advanced content management systems in terms of its feature set. It also includes content types and child themes with parent themes and some of that stuff.

I'm going to skip over some of our experience with Jim Locke because that's not what you all are here with. We did actually try Drupal for a while through the website that I work on but it was version 6. This was back in 2008. We had a big problem setting up the content editing UI in such a way that people would actually use it.


It was so complicated that as soon as we started adding taxonomies and things to our content, our office managers and our sort of non-techie people were very scared of it. And so, for us, the big advantage of WordPress has been the UI. We had some problems with some other modules in Drupal and I, at least in six, I really hated the view creator. It was really complicated. I find WordPress' method of doing this much easier.

So for me, the advantages of WordPress are the UI for just editing, simple post some pages, content. It's so clean and so many things are available but they're turned off by default, so that your basic users don't ever trip over lots of boxes on the screen that they don't need to deal with. They're there, they're in a little screen options tab. You can just check the box and turn them on if you do need them and the administrators leave that stuff on all the time.


For your content users, they don't need to see that stuff. They need to see a rich text editor, titles and categories that they can check off and a big blue button that says publish. And that's what they get. Scheduling publication is super easy. The clean URL module that is built into WordPress works just beautifully out of the box. So you get these nice, pretty, SEO-friendly URLs for everything.

Feeds for everything, God, it generates a feed for every category, every tag, every author, you can get a feed of that specific stuff and pull that out and display it on other sites if you want, remix it. It's got one-click upgrades which are so simple. I absolutely love the way that they've built automatic upgrading into WordPress, especially compared to several of the others CMSs I've tried and Drupal was not the worst on that, actually, Joomla! was really bad.

It does have, just like Drupal does, drag and drop widgets. Blocks in Drupal are like widgets in WordPress kind of same idea, different terminology, and also has menus.


The menus are fairly new feature within the last 18 months or so, and they are still a little bit limited. I think you can only view like 128 items per menu only. And there are tons and tons and tons of plug-ins and themes.

So the weaknesses of WordPress, on the other hand, the multi-site capability where you would have a whole network of WordPress sites connected, there's no way to reuse content from one site to another - no native way, anyway. You can't just say pull such and such page from the site over here and display it in this site. It doesn't work. They do have an internal linking system that it only works within each site.

So you can still put in a whole URL, but if you want to just pull from a list of pages and drop in a link to that page, only within the site. Caching is not built into WordPress and this is kind of a philosophical decision on the developer's part.


They feel that there are so many different server environments out there that you need to figure out what kind of caching you want and choose from an array of plug-ins. But that's not advertised kind of when you download WordPress. It doesn't say, hey, by the way, you should really have a caching module because most sites don't need it. WordPress is still at its heart used primarily as a blogging tool. Those of us who are using it in a sort of an enterprise CMS are still very much in the minority.

And so, the documentation is not really geared towards us and that can be a little bit of a problem. So I've got a list of the popular caching plug-ins and if you're interested, grab my workshop slides from yesterday which will be posted later. The advanced documentation likewise is disjointed and incomplete. The basic stuff for theming, fantastic. Plug-in development, not so much. There is a great book called "Professional WordPress Plug-in Development" and the source code is very well documented.


So you can go to any one of the PHP cross-reference sites and look up a function and get a nice document block right in the source code and see what's going on. But that stuff has not made it into the documentation Wiki - very frustrating. And then the workflow that's built into WordPress is very, very basic. You've got people who are allowed to write stuff but not publish it, then it goes into a pending queue and can be approved by an editor, then it goes to an administrator. And that's it, there's not notification built in.

On the other hand, WordPress is adding features in an incredibly fast rate compared to other CMSs. That 3.0 to 3.1 development cycle last year was eight months. That was the longest one they've had for a really long time. The average cycle was more like five to six months. So 3.2 came out over the summer, 3.3 is due around Thanksgiving. And so the development cycle too, the core developer team, when they finished the release, will hold a meeting in IRC to set the agenda for the next release.


And they stick to that agenda. They're very disciplined. So they don't let feature creep delay their release cycles a whole lot. On the other hand, that does give you a couple of opportunities a year to pop up and say, hey, I really like this feature to be included. And if you get a lot of support that, they might actually focus on it.

They also have a dedicated UI team that really make sure that as many features as they're building in with these custom post types and taxonomies and everything, they hide that stuff, make it available to the developers who are comfortable messing around with code and they don't put it into the UI and that keeps people from tripping over things that would lead them to break their site or just confuse them if they don't need it.

So this is the complicated post editing screen and I've got the screen options shown at the top. You can see that you got a little check boxes. And so, each of these boxes, which are sort of faded in the screen, you can't see them, it can be turned off. And most of them are, by default.


The distraction-free mode does this, which I love. You pull it up from the visual editor, it gives you that bar for about two seconds and then it fades away and it goes away until you move your mouse back up into that area. And few users can see this. My editor absolutely loves this because it's not even as complicated as Word and just everything fades away and all you see is your text.

Updates, you got core version plug-ins, themes, check off the ones you want to update and press the big blue button. I would recommend backing up your database first. That's not built-in. It does have custom post types, and again, this is very similar to how content types work in Drupal but there is no UI for building them. There's a plug-in that will do that for you, but really to do this right you have to be willing to sort of copy an array of values into your PHP code, turn on the options that you want, set the stuff that you want and then save that as a custom plug-in.


They wanted to make this available to really extend WordPress' abilities and some cool things are coming out of it, but again, they want you to have to sort of do some work to turn that on. They don't want to put something into UI that somebody is going to trip over. So this is of course, post type, we've got the course title, the instructor of the college, all that fun stuff. And again, download my slides from yesterday if you want the code for that. Are we done?

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Stephanie Leary: OK.