TNT9: Going Mobile! The How and Why of UVU’s mobile web initiative

Nathan Gerber 
Director - Web Development Services, Utah Valley University

The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at

Announcer: This is one in a series of podcasts from the HighEdWeb Conference in Austin 2011.

Nathan Gerber
: We’re going to be talking about a topic that hasn’t been covered yet at this conference. It’s about mobile. I’ve noticed that at the few conferences lately, mobile seems to be the hot topic especially here today or yesterday and hopefully not too much of the information we’re sharing has been shared already or you feel like it’s a repeat, but just to give you a little bit of feel this is the title.

But I also felt like we could probably give it a different title because a lot of what I’m talking about will be how we plan and implemented our mobile strategy. And so hopefully we can give you a little bit of a perspective of where we came from. It’ll help in what you’re trying to accomplish and we’ll go from there.

Just a little bit of background of myself, been in the industry quite some time, work for Utah Valley University as their web director of web development services.


I also worked on the Noel-Levitz. So web strategy services team as an associate consultant. Utah Valley University is very rapidly growing, regional state university. We just became the largest one in the state of Utah at 34,000 students. So we’re seeing a lot of change in UVU both in our student body, in the mission of the institution but also in the direction of the web.

So these are kind of the things we’re going to be covering. Now if this wasn’t what you’re hoping to see in this presentation, feel free to hit whatever you need as a different presentation but hopefully we’ll be able to give you some good information.



Nathan Gerber: Great, thank you. All right, so we’re basically going to be talking a little bit about some of the trends that we saw happening that made us focus in the areas that we did. Why we feel like this things are important and some of the new concepts that we’ve come across that are really going to be changing the way we implement and design web completely.

But before I get started some of you if you see me present before might have seen this picture, if you have don’t give it away. Last summer so just past a year ago, I had an opportunity to hike Mt. Whitney. Anybody know where the Mt. Whitney is? California, West Coast, largest mountain in the 48 states.

While I was there, I was taking pictures and anyway in the photography, I’m not great at photography I kind of like to take pictures, but trying to get the right size ratio or aspect or perspective in a photo is a little difficult sometimes without having something.


So I’m taking all these photos up there trying to show my family when I get home how large this mountain is or what we’re up against and it was a little difficult to do. So I decided to ask you guys, can you see my son in this picture? Anybody? Yeah, fine Waldo. He’s right there.

Did that change your perspective at all? Yeah. Just a simple little reference point changes your perspective of what the picture is about. The reason I shared this is because our perspective of mobile and what we need to accomplish with mobile web may or may not be the same as yours. So hopefully we can put our perspective in perspective for you and you can use it in whatever works for you.

So what is the big deal with mobile? Well, we’ve all heard the stats, anybody wondering if mobile is going to be a big thing. Is it a big thing?  I think that’s pretty clear but I wanted to share a couple of things that I haven’t seen yet here.


First of all everybody remember the shift from mainframe the PC. If you don’t, don’t worry about it, it just shows my age. Some remember it, some don’t. It was a fairly big shift but if the shift was that big for that, do you remember the shift from dial-up to broadband?

Now most of us remember that, right? And it’s still fairly fresh in our minds especially if you worked on the web developing the web because it shifted what we had to really focus on. Remember the days and maybe some of you still have to deal with this because of your audience. What you had to really focus on making sure the pages rendered very, very quickly then have a lot of heavy components to it and now with broadband we put all sorts of fancy things in there, video, lots of images, those kinds of things.

Well if that’s how big that change was, we really think the mobile is the elephant in the room, but we’re all knowing it’s there, we’re trying to deal with the best we can, but it’s a little bit difficult sometimes especially with resources because I know you’re instantiations are completely different than ours and that is that you have all the money in the world.


Nobody’s had budget cuts or do more with less, do more with nothing, do more with somebody else's now, you know what I mean? It’s really bad. So mobile becomes a real problem. Now, they’ve done  a couple of studies, you might have seen this, have anybody see this study before? A few of you?

OK, so this actually took place back in around 2007, they estimated that the mobile usage of the internet would actually surprise desktop around 2014. Well, we’re already approaching that now. So it’s a little faster. This one was actually done in 2008. Anybody seen this one?

So smart phones sales were supposed to be PC sales in 2011, you think we did that? Yeah, we did that. We did that and just show you how far we threw that statistic coming out the window, 1.37 billion mobile phones were sold in 2010.


I don’t know if you know how big that number is, but if I had a dime for every phone.


Nathan Gerber: So about 1.2 billion total PCs in the world right now, that gives you a real perspective again of how fast this industry is going. 80% of the people relapses the internet by a mobile device by 2015, already fairly high in some countries. Some of you might have heard Mark Greenfield speak just this morning downstairs on web governance.

He did a presentation a little while back that I sat it on. And he was talking about how there are countries now that are trying to determine if it’s worth printing money in their country because they use their mobile devices so much to do all their financial transactions. We’re not there yet but I mean the use of mobile is really becoming an amazing amount of usage on the web.


This last stat is my stat, that’s how many times I check my phone everyday. How about you? Do you find yourself checking your phone all the time for different things or using your phone? I do all the time. At UVU, we feel like we’ve kept an eye on this trend of mobile usage pretty well. We kept pretty good grip on it this semester.

So the beginning of this semester, our infrastructure team had been watching this trends and had exponentially been increasing the amount of available IPs on our wireless system so people can connect to our wireless system with mobile devices. We felt at the beginning of this semester, even with our growth, even with the growth of mobile, we would be able to accommodate well in hand all the mobile devices if we allocated 4000 IP addresses to connect to our wireless system.


Based on this trends, based on everything, we felt like that would be good. In the first two days of the semester, our wireless guys told me that we had over 31,000 devices trying to attach to the wireless network. That’s a pretty big jump. It’s not so much the jump that was amazing to me, we know it’s exponential, we know everybody has it, but if you look at that number and you look at the number of students we have, what are they using?

Have you walked down the halls or seen your institution that everybody is using mobile. Even if you look at this conference, everyone is using mobile. The reason the wireless system has problems at conferences like this is because we’re pounding away at it so hard, everybody’s on it, everybody is using it and so the bandwidth is huge.

So it’s amazing the trends that are happening. This one probably wouldn’t surprise any of you, some of you can probably do this. And what’s interesting is that they don’t really use their phone as a phone.


The new and out coming generation that we work with that are institution, students don’t usually use the phone. My son is 19 and going to college now and we’re trying to help him kind of get started on his own so we’re trying to help him put some things together, the typical things parents do, help with transportation and some other things that they need and so we said, "hey let’s help you get your phone plan on your own," he used to have a mobile phone for a while but he wanted one with data access and everything else.

So we said, "yes sure we could help you do that." So I was trying to ask him, I said "well how many minutes do you think you’re going to use?" he’s like "I don’t know. 50?". I used that before breakfast on one day, that’s typically why my phone plans really high because I use the phone a lot. I’m like 50 then I don’t think he understand, the phone minutes, this is how it works or everything, that I understand. I just don’t use my phone. I’m unlimited text, I’m unlimited data and I need the phone to call you and mom.


Nathan Gerber: He text everybody else, he calls us. The shift in what we use our mobile devices for is huge.


Voice calls are very low, computer usage, GPS services, online services, being able to access data, those kind of things are the big things on the mobile devices. And this isn’t new to any of you but at UVU, we think that this is actually going to shift everything we do on the web like these other trends have such as going from dial-up to broadband and those kinds of things.

So because of that, we think the shift is going to be more than just bringing up a mobile website. Couple quotes that I’d like to share with you are here on the screen. You’ve probably heard the first one, I’ve heard it at this conference even "just try to mobilize things don’t just miniaturize" taking your whole site, shoving it down into a smaller screen size and presenting it on a quick device isn’t really the way to do everything.


The next thing is that it really is a different world on mobile than it is on the regular desktop. Justin Gatewood actually is presenting writer in this room from Victorville or Victor Valley. He actually made a comment that really hit home to me a couple of conferences ago I heard him speak and he said, "the user is mobile, not just holding one."

And that actually got us thinking at UVU and so we’ve actually adopted in our mantra in everything we’re doing in everything in our mobile web initiative and that is, it’s really about making sure that the user can access what they need when they’re mobile not just accessing the mobile website.

So what do I mean by that? Well let’s take one piece of our mobile web system, last year at this conference, anybody here from Texas A and M?


I think it was Texas A and M did a mobile presentation last year. And I sat in that and I loved that presentation, I got some really good information out of that but they made a comment about their bus schedule system and how they had made it so that when it was on the mobile device, it would present information that would be needed when you’re mobile such as instead of the whole time table, it would only show you the next three times that the shuttles were stopping on campus.

While I got all excited about that and I love the idea behind it and so I took it back to our campus and I said, "hey we’re going to do this." So I went to our facilities department, I said, "hey, this is what we want to do, we want to put the shuttle system online with the schedule on our mobile device, can I get your shuttle schedule".

Now UVU is going through some growing pains and so our facilities department said, "we don’t have a shuttle schedule" and I said, "what do you mean? I know we have shuttles on campus" and he said, "yeah but it’s one route, it loops around campus, it starts at 7 in the morning, ends at 8 at night and stops about every 10 minutes at every stop."


Well I can’t put a schedule online if I don’t have a schedule. So we had to think differently about what our users would need. And so we actually started working with the student on campus and created an online shuttle system that tracks the shuttles.

Now some of you have seen this kind of things before but I just wanted to show you. So I’m hoping the internet is working. Hopefully it is working, it’ll move here soon but it’s real time, it’s about within a second of real time and the shuttle bus will move as the shuttle travels around campus. Actually I just have a programmer back in the office, changing the data.


Fast as he can. Now we actually have two shuttle buses but what’s interesting enough is that, we talked about "hey let’s make this thing mobile" so we got really excited, we built this, we had a student actually build this. He put GPS systems on the buses, he put antennas on the buildings, I mean it was a great student, senior project.

We worked with him, we quoted the front end, worked with the database, those kinds of things but what’s really interesting is once we get it up and working, we though great but then other factors came into play.


I’ll talk about this in a minute but any website is always about the data, about the content, correct? I mean it’s about getting the right content to the people. When in something like this, guess what the content is. Content is not the map, the content is the movement of the shuttles.

So if the shuttle driver gets on the shuttle in the morning and doesn’t turn on the GPS, I don’t have any data, I don’t have any content. And so what’s interesting is it brought us into a realm of we’ve really got to figure out how to make sure that we’re always getting the data or the content we need for our mobile device to be effective.

So that was huge for us. Notice one bus. Those in that back, there’s only one bus because you probably can’t see it. There’s supposed to be two buses.


Here’s another issue, there are two buses but we mounted the GPS system on the second bus, that’s the normal bus while the transmission is out on the second bus, it’s in the shop. So now I’ve only got the GPS on the one bus. So when I get back to campus after this conference, we got to figure out, we got to get a GPS on the standby bus, the backup bus.

And so there’s just different things like that that we have to take in consideration when building a mobile website. It really is about the content and when you build something really cool, you need to make sure that it’s going to work not only in a technology way, but also in a content way. So the first thing that we’d made a decision and I hope that you are all making a decision about your mobile website, is the same decision you will always made about every site you’ve ever built.

And that is you need to know the problem you’re trying to solve and solve it for the right people. If you get so excited about mobile and you just start putting things together because mobile is what everybody is doing, and we’ve got to do the same thing and we lose focus of what we’re doing, that could be a problem.


So we had to answer two questions, first of all who’s our audience and what are we doing it for. These are the same questions, how many of you have asked this question about other websites you’ve built? It’s standard typical thing. How many of you have asked this about your mobile presents? A few less, OK.

So what we did is we decided that our audience for our first iteration of our mobile site is going to be current students and it was about providing the top info and services to them, not all info and services to them, just the top things. The other thing we had to decide is the age old question, what’s it’s been, a year that we’ve had to discuss this question, the age old question.

Age old question of a native app or a mobile web. How many of you think you should go native apps? How many think you should go mobile web? How many think you should do both? There you go.


We debated this internally for a while but in reality, the bottom line is to have a good mobile web present, you’re going to need both. When we took this to our administration with our mobile web initiative and we said, "this is what we’re going to do, we’re all excited about it, just wanted to let you know," it was all exciting, we went to launch it, we took it to them, we showed it to them, we were all excited about the shuttle bus, we were all excited about other features and I had about 25 administrators in the room and that we got all them presenting and we said, "any questions?" what do you think would be one of the top questions they would ask?

Anybody take a guess. How much? What’s it’s going to cost, those kinds of things. I was ready for that, I had my data, I had everything. That wasn’t the question. The only question, the only question they had was, "what’s our icon going to look like in the mobile store?"



Nathan Gerber: I’m an IT guy, I’m not a marketing guy, I don’t know, go talk to the marketing guys, they’ll design something. I wasn’t ready for that one but you will have to do both because everybody needs to get access to it a different ways, those kind of things. Anybody feel like this with mobile? How many of you are small shops or consider yourself small shops?

You’re ready to take on another project, right? Now it’s exhausting, this is kind of how we felt also. So we do understand but what we did is we tried to gather as much information as we could. We used our own analytics to try to find out what’s going on. These analytics is what I’ve pulled just over the last little bit.

What we found very interesting to us is that iPhone has grown tremendously, 125% in about the last year in the usage of our web, by Android it’s up around 350 and iPad is around 350. That’s huge. We also see a significant drop in Windows and BlackBerry. Now I’m not saying Windows and BlackBerry are not a good way to go, but when you’re looking to build a system and you know you have to support it, and I know we’ve talked about frameworks at this conference where, hey it will push out to all the different ones and those kind of things.


You still have to support it. It’s kind of like the feel of well, if you build it in a mobile website, it will work in any browser. How many years have we heard that? If you build it in Firefox, it will work in all browsers or build it in IE, it will work in all browsers. We all know that when we build it, we still have to support it in all sorts of different ways and we always have to tweak it for different things.

And so we officially on campus decided, it will probably work on Windows and BlackBerry but we’re not going to specifically test it on Windows and BlackBerry because we just don’t have the resources to do so. And because our users aren’t using them and our administrators don’t have them. One thing you don’t want to do is get into a mobile discussion with your administration in a president’s council or covenant and have them pull it up in a device that you haven’t tested for.

That’s probably not a good thing. So we wanted to make sure that we have the system working for the administrators and also for the rest of the visitors to our site.


One of the things I wanted to share was is I’ve talked to different people, a lot of people are focused on the iPhone which is great, but the Android is coming out fast and it’s coming out very hard. These are the US stats, globally it’s the same kind of thing.

The Android is outpacing everything by quite a bit. So I’m not saying Android is better, I’m just saying that you might want to look at your own trends to see what devices should we support. We also work with an institution organization on campus called our Web Advisory Council, it’s recently been renamed to our University Communications Committee but basically what it is, is it represents all of campus across different key areas in all issues relating to web and communication.


And so what we do is we use this web team for buy-in and also for the political teeth that we need for different things. We make sure that the administration knows what we’re doing but know that it’s just an information item to president’s council. We did not go to president’s council and say, please can we do this?

We said, "we’re doing this because this is where everything is going. We just wanted to let you know" but at the same time I wasn’t asking for funding, I was saying, "we’re web development services, we do this. This is what we do". Eventually, we may need to look for new resources but right now we just got to get going with it and do what we can with what we have, and utilize your existing resources. We found that really by plugging in the IT into marketing into our technology students, I mean the shuttle bus system, all that hardware, all that engineering that was put into it was done by a student.

And it was a great project. So we have found that there’s other ways to leverage resources that you currently have on campus that can really help you get this mobile strategy going. We also took an incremental approach not trying to eat the whole elephant at once


It’s a tremendous battle to get this whole thing done. And so we basically said, "let’s start with some key areas, some key information, let’s then optimize our current site to work the best it can on a mobile, let’s look at adding apps where we need them" then we started looking at what we call responsive or adaptive design.

How many of you are in those session just previous to this one? A few of you. They talked briefly about adaptive design or responsive design, I’ll talk about it here in a second. And then we want to bring it all together because to be honest with you, I really think that they way that the whole thing is going to play out is that in the beginning, you may have a mobile site and a desktop site, but eventually it’s going to come back together because it is your site, it’s one site.

You just kind of need to maintain it on different platforms other than just desktop. Couple of the things that we looked into for research was we wanted to see what other institutions were doing so we went to the Dave Melson blog and he’s got some stats out there about what different institutions are doing.


As you can see, most institutions are using an m. institution name for their mobile website. We were debating internally whether we want to do a list or a grid, do we do this grid of icons or do text listing or a combination of both. We wanted to see what people were doing, a lot of people are doing list, a few are doing grid, some are doing a combination.

So here’s some examples, I didn’t poll this for any particular reason other than just some different ways that you can build the interface to work on a mobile device. How many of you regularly use mobile versions of website, not necessarily high read websites, but just mobile versions of websites? How many of you find that sometimes it’s just easier to go to the full site?


And how many of you find that the mobile sites that you use sometimes are hard to use? Yeah, I find that a lot. I think we’re our own very best testers. We’ve talked about usability for years. I think mobile brings usability glaringly to the forefront in a real quick manner.

I’ll give you an example, we have a system on our desktop site that is called find people, it was written by a group in our IT and what it does is that you can go to it, you can just type in somebody’s name and it’ll pull up if they’re a faculty member or if they have a professional page on campus on the website or if they’re in the directory, it will pull all sorts of different information from different databases and bring it all to you.

We were all excited because we wanted to offer that service on our mobile site. So we get it, we get down to reskin it, to mobile ready, to fit on the mobile screen, and work in a mobile device. We’re so excited.


We got it on there, we pulled it up and we said, "well, let’s take a look at it ourselves first." So we pulled it up, looked great, we did a search, worked great, came up here’s my name, here’s my phone number, but in phone number it was only my extension. What’s the problem with that?

Two things, number one who’s using this application, who’s going to use find people, the people that are off campus that are walking around and needing to get a hold of somebody that’s why they’re going to use it. And how did they want to use it? They want to be able to drill down to it and they want to make a phone call or send an email or whatever, you can’t make a phone call to an extension, you have to have the full phone number.

So now we got to work with them again to work to get better data. Again, content is the driving force behind anything even on their mobile website. So those are kind of some of the examples of you got to make sure that the system works and usability will come glaringly to the forefront if you will just test it on a mobile device yourself and try to use it like a mobile user would use it.


Some places that you might want to look for some inspiration in designing or some things you do or the higher ed mobile directory on that website and then also the edu style words have some mobile awards. The other thing that we found very helpful last year at this conference was the idea of just starting with small things, just start and plan to re-implement and grow it as needed and that was a huge thing for us.

So we wanted to make sure to take that into consideration and we did, we just started with the first things. The other thing and I won’t spend much time on this slide because we’ve had a lot of sessions on frameworks, different ways to do things, but one thing I wanted to show is this one right here.

I left this in here specifically for one point and this one right here. How many of you used a banner product? How many of you used a PeopleSoft product or a Datatel product?


Have you checked with them to see what they have available for a mobile framework? One thing you might be interested in, we’re a banner school. We check with the SunGard people, they do have a mobile system called mobile connection. It is a framework that pushes out to all the different mobile devices so you don’t have the code for everything but specifically has functions and features built in to access data.

The students would regularly need to access. Well hey, why would I want to reinvent anything? They’ve already got it, it’s natively built in their system so you might want to look at those to see if those are also ways for you to access things. That was a huge eye opener for us so I wanted to share it with you today.

Now talking a little bit about adaptive responsive design, how many of you have heard of this before at all? OK, anybody looking into it? Few of you, good. Good.


Have you checked with them to see what they have available for a mobile framework? One thing you might be interested in, we’re a banner school. We check with the SunGard people, they do have a mobile system called mobile connection. It is a framework that pushes out to all the different mobile devices so you don’t have the code for everything but specifically has functions and features built in to access data.

The students would regularly need to access. Well hey, why would I want to reinvent anything? They’ve already got it, it’s natively built in their system so you might want to look at those to see if those are also ways for you to access things. That was a huge eye opener for us so I wanted to share it with you today. Now talking a little bit about adaptive responsive design, how many of you have heard of this before at all? OK, anybody looking into it? Few of you, good. Good.


So this guy decided my picture is important but it’s not important once you get to this point so I’m just going to take it off, but it’s not just images. This one here actually has a slide show that you can play and they had just the slide show to a certain point.

and then they just remove it and it becomes more mobile ready. So this isn’t rocket science, this is stuff we’ve been doing for years, but it does take it one level deeper and that is we start to remove elements or we could add elements based on size.

Now the reason that becomes important to us, there’s links to these examples and I’ll get these slides to everybody.


Now if you take adaptive and responsive design and add to it what has started to be called, anybody heard of 320 and UP or Mobile First? OK, same kind of concepts.

What these kind of things are talking about is that maybe what we need to do is shift our mentality because of the growth of mobile from being, hey let’s take and design everything for the desktop and then retrofit or shrink or do whatever we got to do for mobile, maybe we ought to think the other way, maybe we really ought to start by modifying or creating our mobile presence and then adding an adapting for larger desktop space.

And so we’ve actually started down the path of trying to think this way. It is quite a shift in what we’re doing, but we think that mobile is going to drive everything and we also think that I really don’t want to have to maintain two websites for very long. Anybody else? You guys like that? I don’t like that. We’ve done a great job on our campus to really push out the content out to our owners across campus and I really don’t want to have to maintain it again.


I don’t want to go back to the days of having to update everything on the site. I want to make sure that they maintain control. So some of these things are discussed in the W3C under their mobile initiative that they’re doing, you might want to go out and take a look at these links. This boilerplate here is one that actually takes HTML 5 it’s a boilerplate for 320 and Up.

It actually has built into it the different screen widths that you might want to consider to build your CSS 4. So anyway, just some resources that we thought you might find interesting. Let’s see, how much time do we have? OK, perfect.

All right so one of the things I wanted to mention was we use as many of our existing tools as possible, we didn’t have a lot of resources to go out and buy a whole bunch of different tools or partner with whole bunch of different partners. We use what we had and we have found that our CMS was one of our most important tools.


Now I’m not sure what CMS you guys are using. We’re using OmniUpdate, but the key behind our CMS is that it gives us the ability to continue moving down the same path as far as our content strategy that was mentioned at the end of the previous presentation. We move down the same path with our content strategies on campus with our mobile initiative as we are with our desktop website.

In other words, I don’t take the ownership of certain pages out of the hands of the admissions office. Right now the admissions office controls all content on the desktop site for admissions. They should also be the ones to control that content for the mobile website because they are the content experts and our CMS allows us to do that and it’s because of the content we use.

It allows us to use mobile templates along with desktop templates, we can modify those templates however we need, we actually have the ability to multiformat publish. In other words we can take the same content and with literally one publish button, it’s being published into different places for different purposes, format at different ways if necessary.


So we’re able to do all that and then it also can consume all the RSS feeds because again, content is king and not always will your content exist on your existing site. This is just some information about how our CMS works, we can actually build a specific page for mobile or we can have divs in existing page, be presented to the mobile page and not to the desktop page or both.

So these are just some of the different things and then how we consume the RSS feeds. Again, it’s about ownership of content at our institution. I don’t know how it works at yours, but I really want to make sure that there are institutions or owners can continue to give the information out on the web that they need to. I know very little about admissions, I know hardly anything about financial aid, but I do know web.


So we can coordinate with the content experts in those areas and they can provide the content, we could provide the technology. This was actually from yesterday, I found this statement from one of the presentations, anybody who was in this presentation? I found this statement to be a really good statement, and that was, our mobile systems really do consume more data from RSS feeds or other systems than we realize, we just need to make sure that we have that data available before we start.

This is some of the layouts that we’ve done from our desktop to our mobile devices. Anybody seen this before? I figured this group would get a few smiles out of this. I’ve used this before in presentations and everybody sits there and goes, "what is that?" What’s it been out, 10, 12 years? It’s been out there for a while. Basically you have everything on this circle here is what the university wants on a homepage, everything on that side is what we really want to do on the website


And we have this whole discussion years ago about, well the only thing that really comes in between is the logo or the name of the school. And we have this political battle always going on, but guess what, mobile is almost identically the same. Our users haven’t changed what they want ever. They still want the same thing, they just want more of it, and they want it faster, and they want it smaller.

That’s really the key. These are the different tools we use to build out our site, most of you we’ve had sessions on them so I won’t be going through many of these things. I don’t know, have you seen this stat lately? Anybody want to buy stock if it’s growing like that? Yeah, I’d love to.

QR codes are huge, the thing I find very interesting is QR codes aren’t necessarily seen as an asset. We just went through a great big way finding project on campus basically signage across campus to get students where they need to go.


Our campus now looks like an airport terminal. Every 30 feet, there’s a sign, but what’s really nice is as you enter a building, they’ve got these big signs next to the buildings that talk about the building a little bit and then there’s a QR code that can link to the map of the building which is really, really fascinating, really fun, but guess what, the design company that built that went out and generated those QR codes and we stuck the maps where they need to be.

If I ever have to change the URL where those maps are, guess what I got to change on these signs, the QR code, but the QR code is printed on the sign. It’s not going to look really good after spending umpteen thousands of dollars to do the way for any project for me to go and say, "let’s just tape a poster over that and here’s the new QR code" that’s not going to go across real well, but what’s interesting is if you could use QR codes and actually link the QR codes to a URL shortener then you could change what the URL points to in the back end and you could reuse that asset over and over and over and you could point it to different websites as needed.

I mean it really does give you the flexibility where your printing or doing things where the asset is more physically hard coded into something like print or signage or those kinds of things.


So just consider that. We’re creating a launch panel for the UVU apps and we’re trying to make sure that we integrate everything together. Our OU campus, our CMS is huge for us, the QR codes.

I mean we’re bringing it all together, but the key about it is right here at this last bullet point and we’re continually trying to migrate back to one presence that works on all devices and that our content contributors across campus or content experts can maintain the content that they need to and publish in the places they need to.

The initiatives of the web development services in the web at UVU haven’t changed. It’s just now we have to support a different platform. And so we’ve tried  to keep that mantra going and making sure that we can really help the users get what they need when they’re mobile, not just present the same information as if they were sitting at the desktop.


So that was huge. Here’s some summarizations. You really just need to choose what works for your institution. Make sure to use the right tools. Make sure that you’ve done the research that you need for your institution and really just jump in and get started because we seem to kind of be lagging what the commercial world is doing.

We’re already a little bit behind in higher ed, but the best advice I can give you is when you build something, test it on your own mobile device, but don’t just look at it in your office, go out and say, "OK, if I was outside and I was trying to do something, if I’m walking around and I wanted to get this information on my mobile, why would I need it and what would I want to do with it?" and that right there will help you build a better web presence on your mobile site than anything else.

So with that, I’ll leave you with our mantra again, and next slide is my contact information. So you don’t have to write that down, I’ll just post the slides.


And we’ve got a couple of minutes. So any questions?

Audience: [Indiscernible]

Nathan Gerber: OK, so the question was have we found any problems with doing anything splitting the m. versus the institutional site specifically for the Google SCO stuff. OK, we haven’t found any problems with that yet. I’m sure we will, but so far it’s been working nicely. We’re actually pointing this, we’re getting to the point where m. and our institution name both point to the same location, but present the pages differently with the adaptive responsive design.


So I think the pages will render differently enough that the SCO won’t be a problem. We’re actually picking and choosing our content very carefully so the content on the page won’t be the same. It will probably be between very similar and very different.


Nathan Gerber: It’s a small range, isn’t it?


Nathan Gerber: But it’s different enough that I don’t think SCO is going to be a problem for us or it hasn’t been to this point. Does that answer the question? OK. Question?

Audience: [Indiscernible]

Nathan Gerber: That’s a very good question. The question was, do we have data that shows that QR codes are actually being used on our signage. Yes, we do. And the QR codes would be used more on our signage if it would actually lead them to something better than it does, but because it’s hard coded to a page right now, the map that’s put there is a full size map. I’m not sure why they did it that way.


So you take this QR code, you use it on mobile device and then it’s pinch and scroll, pinch and scroll. We thought halfway through the project, we didn’t think all the way through.

So hopefully when we get it to where it’s more of a virtual chore in the mapping system which we’re working on right now and then can shift the QR codes, we’ll see an increase of usage, but yeah we do have that. Other questions? Well hopefully this has been good information, not too boring and reiteration of other things. Thank you for coming. If you have other questions, I’ll be up here in the front for a few more minutes. Thank you.