By Jim Robertson
November 6, 2012
NYU Mobile is the University’s first official mobile app, designed to connect students, faculty, and staff to the information they need from anywhere with cell service. NYU's Digital Communications Group, which spans University Relations and Public Affairs (URPA) and Information Technology Services (ITS), led the development of the NYU Mobile app, with additional support from Student Affairs.
The desire to stay connected is directing everyone toward "mobility." Instant, on-demand access to information from all locations and at all times is becoming essential to our day-to-day lives. Expectations about what information is available to us on the go are increasing; we’ve come to expect our mobile interactions to be responsive and immediate.
This is particularly true for the University community. NYU students are digital natives: highly social, always connected, and collaborative. NYU faculty look for opportunities to experiment with and improve students’ learning experience, creating a teaching and learning environment that goes beyond the confines of the traditional classroom. NYU staff work day and night to keep our global networks and services running smoothly, helping to ensure a great education experience. All stand to gain from the increased mobility that the NYU Mobile app aims to provide.
The concept of “mobile” encompases everything from smartphone devices to on-the-go access, from gesture and touch interfaces to wireless bandwidth. But, at heart, the key is the “me” in mobile. Mobile interaction is personal. We hold devices in our hands. We tap, swipe, pinch, and put them back in our pockets. The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that 90 percent of people aged 18-29 years old sleep with their cell phones in or next to their beds each night.
With this personal experience comes the opportunity to offer content in context. As we continue to enhance the NYU Mobile app, we envision offering features and content matched to each user’s role and place within NYU. For example, users at the Washington Square Campus will see the “here and now” content relevant to New York City. Likewise, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai users will see the places, events, news, and services relevant to their location in NYU’s global network. Additional future improvements are described below.
Available for iOS and Android devices, the app can be downloaded for free by searching “NYU Mobile” in the iTunes or Google Play stores or by following the direct links listed at www.nyu.edu/mobile (also in this article’s sidebar). Here are some of the features currently available via NYU Mobile:
A strategic decision was made to release the NYU Mobile app with a basic set of features and to enhance it over time based on usage statistics. Similar to practices used with the development of the new NYU website, we analyze aggregated statistics on usage patterns to help identify problem spots and to guide improvements. Here are some of the future plans for the NYU Mobile app:
The Digital Communications Group is excited to offer this new service to the NYU community, which we hope will make it easier than ever to access University-related information. We encourage you to begin using the NYU Mobile app today to explore its many features, and would love to hear your questions or feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Robertson is the Executive Director of the Digital Communications Group, a blended group that spans University Relations and Public Affairs (URPA) and NYU IT and leads NYU central web, mobile, and social media initiatives.