February 26, 2014 debbie.m

Grading Higher Ed Mobile Efforts

Since our client, the College of Saint Rose launched its mobile site (check it out from your smartphone or on our responsive site tester — it looks fantastic!), we’ve been analyzing how other schools are adapting to mobile technology.  The results, as far as we’ve seen, are mixed. Some universities have sharp, well-conceived mobile sites. They offer the most important information (Admissions, Academics, News, Financial Info, Visiting Info) with a clean, uncluttered design. We love this!

These schools understand that mobile products are essential for higher ed recruiting. Young people are spending more time on mobile devices and mobile browsing. In 2013, 68% of prospective students say they have looked at a college web site on a mobile device, according to a study from higher education consulting firm Noel-Levitz.  To reach prospective students, your school needs to be in the right technological spots.

Unfortunately, many higher ed institutions are lagging behind. They’re relying on their desktop sites to work across platforms. A survey of 200 private and public schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania showed 70% lacked any mobile products and 50% were seen as have deficient mobile products, either because of inferior technology, poor content or both, according to The Princeton Partners. Those are incredibly disappointing results.

On smartphones and tablets, desktop websites are difficult to read and even harder to navigate. Users get frustrated. For schools, that can mean losing your audience (whether it be prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty) before they even dig into your content!

Among adults 18 to 34 years old, 89% use smartphones and 63% own tablets, according to Frank N. Magid Associates. And 85% of cell phone owners 18 to 29 yeards old use their phones to go online, according to Pew Research. Among tech-savvy young Americans, these trends are only going to grow.

Colleges and universities need mobile products now. If your school launched one a few years back, we applaud that. Now, consider updating your offerings. The good news is that you don’t need a completely new website to deliver mobile products. Sanmita can help!

Schools have several options to deliver mobile-friendly content. If a website redesign is in order, consider building a responsive website, which automatically adapt to any screen size, including smartphones and tablets. Dedicated mobile sites offer the ability to tailor content for mobile use, including only the most important information in a clean, streamlined design. Mobile apps are a way to deliver a lot of deep, rich content (although users will need to download and install these apps). Sanmita can create any of these mobile solutions for our higher ed clients.

We offer another attractive option: Sanmita’s exclusive Smart Filter tool. With our exclusive technology, Sanmita can take any website and make it responsive.  It works with any CMS and can be hosted on our servers, or your existing server. Our Smart Filter solution costs one-third less than building a new responsive site and can launch in one-third of the time.

The College of Saint Rose is using our Smart Filter for its new mobile site. We’ve also created mobile sites for other major universities, including Tulane University; University of North Texas, Dallas; and Texas Wesleyan University. Contact Sanmita to see how we can help your school with its mobile strategy.

 

 

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