The age of struggling to navigate Pipeline on a mobile browser is over. The era of the app has begun. That’s right, Information Services and Technology (IS&T), the Student Association, the Office of University Communications and Marketing and a committee of various faculty and staff are hard at work on the development of a Harding University mobile application that will be available to download on all Apple and Android devices.
“We want to make sure that anything you can do on your laptop, you can do on your phone with the app,” Hannah Owens, director of Digital Media said. “Right now there are limitations with some of the things that we have that make it difficult to use on a mobile device, so we want to make sure that what you’re carrying in your pocket can do most of what you can do on a laptop.”
Owens went on to say that ease of use is a huge factor, and the goal is to be able to streamline all the capabilities that students need in a single, accessible space.
The app is still in the early stages of development, and the search for a platform is the current goal being pursued.
“We are going to, hopefully, within the next three weeks, send out a request for a proposal to some vendors we have identified as being likely candidates for a platform and get them to send proposals back as to what they can do and get some ideas about functionality and security,” Assistant Vice President of IS&T Mike Chalenburg said.
As for the specific features and content within the app, IS&T has some ideas, such as Pipeline integration, a customizable notification system, campus news and the ability to smoothly transition to other apps like Canvas, but it is largely up to the students. A survey was sent out and posted on Pipeline on March 1.
“This is the most exciting part because there are so many opportunities that we are looking for and there are a lot of different directions that we could go in, so that’s what we are trying to identify,” Owens said. “We hope that when people take the survey, they say things like, ‘I am in a social club. I want to be able to customize my experience based on this club that I’m in,’ That’s the kind of stuff that we want to hear about.”
Chalenburg added that they still have a lot of questions to answer.
“If you have push notification functionality and students are getting 10 to 12 notifications a day that don’t relate to them, they’re going to quit using it,” Chalenburg said. “I don’t blame them. I would too. So there are things like that as well as what content should be displayed, and that’s where we will look heavily at the ideas that came up in the survey and decide how best to implement those.”
Chalenburg said that there will be a pilot period during which a number of students will be asked to test the app and provide feedback before it is released to the public. The app is currently set to release in November 2017, around Thanksgiving Break.
To help shape the final build of the app, follow this link and vote for what features you think should be included: http://bit.ly/App_Survey.