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.
Mobile-friendly sites create a more positive user experience through tailored design and content. With responsive web design, a web site adjust automatically to any screen size or type of device. In addition, content can be customized to each individual screen size (such as desktop, large tablet, small tablet, smart phone, etc.). So, for example, the menu for a smartphone can include the most essential sections, such as Admissions, Homepage, News/Events, Alumni. The larger the screen, the more expanded the offerings become.
On the technical side, mobile-friendly sites load more quickly and are much easier for users to navigate. No more zooming in to read the navigation! With an improved experience, it is more likely that a student will spend time on your site, exploring beyond the homepage and sending in their contact information. These factors are key to converting on digital recruiting.
At Sanmita, we are experts in responsive design. We have helped many higher education clients, including Tulane University, UNT Dallas and Texas Wesleyan, adapt their websites to be mobile-friendly. Most recently, our client the College of Saint Rose successfully launched a new mobile site. Contact us today to see how we can make your school’s website mobile-friendly.