In recent years, desktop Internet usage has fallen while mobile usage has increased. Last year, Google confirmed that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” If you think the Internet is big, mobile is 10x bigger. Did you know that Google won’t show your website in mobile searches if it isn’t mobile-friendly? But, what does “mobile-friendly” actually mean. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how to design for the best possible mobile user experience of your site
The accessible web means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web. This encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities. But web accessibility also benefits others, not just those with disabilities, including people with “temporary” disabilities such as a broken arm, older people with changing abilities due to aging.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990. Its effects are visible in nearly every public space in the form of disabled parking, ramps as alternatives to stairs, Braille signage, and more. Although the need to provide disabled people with reasonable accommodations has been a civil rights issue for decades, one important public space – the Internet – has been largely overlooked up until now.
As mobile use surges, our partners at Texas Wesleyan University are making a strong commitment to be mobile-friendly. In partnership with Sanmita, Texas Wesleyan is upgrading its entire website to adapt to any device and screen size. We are thrilled to do more with our excellent partners at Texas Wesleyan!
Sanmita is redeveloping the underlying architecture of the Texas Wesleyan website to allow the entire site to be responsive. This is our latest project with Texas Wesleyan as the school upgrades its web products. Recently, Sanmita converted the university’s homepage and admissions section to be responsive. We are also developing an interactive calendar feature that will have the look and feel of a mobile app. The calendar will be integrated into the website, eliminating any obstacle of downloading an app to use the feature.
Texas Wesleyan’s moves come at a time when it is critical for higher education to be mobile-friendly. Mobile is becoming an essential tool in higher ed marketing and recruiting. A survey of college students shows 89% own a smartphone. Younger Americans are increasingly using their mobile devices for web browsing; In 2013, 68% of prospective students said they visited college websites on a mobile device. A responsive site helps ensure these mobile-savvy students will have a positive user experience and easily access essential information. Texas Wesleyan University understands these trends and wants its website to meet these demands.
The “Millennial” generation, born 1976-1994, has been called the most researched generation in history. The well-documented habits and attitudes of these children of the baby boomers are the driving force behind the way businesses and organizations have conducted their marketing for years.
But there’s a new generation starting to take center stage — Generation Z — and while most aren’t yet legal to drink, they are already demonstrating distinct differences in their outlook and choices compared to Millennials.
No matter what your business or organization does, it’s time to get to know Gen Z!
This handy infographic from Marketo encapsulates the trends that are defining America’s youth, who make up over a quarter of the population.
We’ve been working with Wharton Studio Museum, a cinematic non-profit here in Ithaca, and came across an amusing post on their Facebook page that got us thinking. It was a meme that featured a quote attributed to Mary Pickford: “Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo.”
Today of course, we laugh at such a short-sighted statement. But it’s also interesting to consider how reluctantly new technologies can come to be embraced.
Take for example, responsive mobile technology for websites. This is what allows a website to optimize it’s appearance and functionality in response to whatever device is being used for viewing, such as a laptop, tablet, or phone. Responsive design is all the buzz in the world of commercial web development, but it’s lagging in the non-profit world. As of 2014, 84% of non-profit donation landing pages are still not optimized for mobile use (according to Online Fundraising Scorecard).
Sanmita is pleased to announce that the Wharton Studio Museum website is close to launching!
The goal of the Ithaca Motion Picture Project has been to transform a forgotten silent movie studio into a museum to preserve and celebrate Ithaca’s movie history. Wharton Studio Museum will feature exhibits and programs on the art, science, and history of motion pictures, and will be a vibrant cultural and educational destination in NY State. It’s an exciting project that will serve the community, students, and visitors to this area for many years to come.
A new website is a vital part of establishing the new museum’s identity as this dream is being made a reality. As with most small non profits, WSM needs to squeeze the most out of a small budget. Our AcademicsWeb CMS was an excellent fit for their needs, as it’s scalable structure gives them the flexibility to grow as time goes by, and customizable features ensure they get exactly what they need.
Do you know how your website looks and performs on different mobile devices?
According to Microsoft, one half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. And that trend is only increasing with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets. What does that mean for your website?
If your website isn’t functioning properly on mobile devices, you will lose customers and supporters. Checking mobile functionality has become a vital part of basic website maintenance!
Here’s what you should check your site for:
Higher education is increasingly an international affair. U.S. schools are eagerly growing their international enrollment, which adds diversity to the student body and, eventually, to its alumni. Competition for these foreign students is already fierce and, every school year, grows more competitive. A strong mobile product is key to reaching foreign students. (Just in case we needed to give you another reason to be mobile-ready!)
Need some evidence? New data backs us up. In 2014, 28% of international students used mobile devices (that includes smartphones and tablets) to search the Internet, according to research by the Noel-Levitz firm. That figure shows steady growth from last year, when 17% of foreign students reported using mobile devices for web searching.
Specifically for higher education, 60% of international students surveyed said they looked at school websites on a mobile device. That’s in line with American students’ behavior. In 2013, 68% of American students said they looked at higher ed websites on smartphones or tablets, according to a recent Noel-Levitz report.
A university or college’s website is its key digital marketing tool and essential to recruiting, both domestically and internationally. Unlike many American students who go on college tours to visit potential schools, most international students enroll without ever visiting campus. Their experience with a school is shaped largely by their digital introduction.
Across the U.S. and on college campuses, mobile use is exploding. Mobile is no longer the future — it is very much front and center. Now, new research offers some fresh ideas on which devices mobile users favor and what content they are seeking. This is valuable information for higher education web and IT staff.
College students, quite simply, can’t live without their smartphones. An overwhelming 89% of college students own smartphones, according to a new report from Ball State University. And the ownership has grown quickly. In 2009, about half of college students owned smartphones. The vast majority, 92%, use their phones to access social media, up from 49% four years ago. In addition, in 2014, 74% of college students used their smartphones daily to browse the Internet. Watching video on smartphones has become increasingly popular, with 82% of students reporting using their phones for video in 2014, compared to just 24% in 2009.
These figures offer a few lessons for higher education:
Still contemplating a mobile-friendly website? Don’t put it off any longer. Higher education websites need to be mobile-friendly to reach prospective students, as teens are avid users of handheld devices. Among adults 12-34 years old, an
impressive 80% now own smartphones and 55% own tablets, according to fresh data from eMarketer.com. In coming years, those figures will only rise. Any school that doesn’t have a mobile-friendly web product risks missing recruiting and marketing opportunities.
Teens are overwhelmingly using handheld devices to browse university and college websites. Last year, 97% of students have visited a university or college’s website on a mobile device, according to 2014 Social Admissions Report by Chegg, Zinch, and Uversity. But two-thirds of students said their experience with schools’ mobile sites was “challenging” or “just ok”. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.