University iPhone App – The Essentials

university-student-iphone
Posted under: Uni iPhoneApp Reviews 13th of July, 2012

Essential features of University iPhone App:

As a university student, there are some functionalities that I believe a university app needs in order to be useful.

These are:

  1. a good layout
  2. news feed
  3. maps
  4. timetables (classes, buses, exams)
  5. Staff Directory / Phonebook.

 

Layout

The layout needs to make sense; students and staff alike should be able to open the app, and know that a phonebook icon will probably be the Directory, a calendar icon will have something to do with timetables and schedules for Uni.  Another example, the A+ symbol, though irrelevant since most universities’ use the 1-7 grading system, is still recognised by users as where results for assessment can be found.

News Feed

The news feed serves as the main source of information about current events and “going-ons”, as well as alerting students to any problems or issues that have arisen on or off-campus.  It can have categories for different types of news; some examples include:

  • administration – “Photo ID’s being taken at <insert name> building.”
  • maintenance – “RoomS203 is closed, due to faulty cable.”
  • recreation – “Happy Hour at Student Guild Bar, 2 drinks for 1.”
  • studies – “Researchers have begun studies on …”
  • sporting – “Basketball game 2pm in gym, open to all.”

It should be the first “place” that students look for information. News articles can expand and  provide link to the full article on the university website, much like they do on Twitter.  Students can also have the ability to connect to specific ‘feeds’ set up by their tutors.

 

Maps

The maps on-campus are nice, and are generally descriptive enough to help you find the building you want to get to.  Suppose while walking there, you get distracted thinking about what happened on MasterChef last night,  and you forget when you were suppose to turn left? Do you go back and double  check the map or do you keep walking and hope to find another one of those big boards with the maps again.  Now you regret not grabbing one of those brochures with the maps on them, then all you’d need is a camera and people might think you’re a tourist looking slightly lost.

OR you could just pull out your iPhone or Android and use the app’s map feature to locate the building and your relative location using the phone’s inbuilt GPS. It can even load the route you should take to get there 30 seconds faster than you thought possible!

 

Timetables

What time is my class? Was it a lecture or a tutorial? Why is my handwriting so bad, that my n’s look like r’s, was it room N203 or R203? All these questions can be answered by a simple timetable provided to students, and staff, with their weekly schedule.

BUT WAIT

Surely thats not the only thing a student would need a timetables for, is it? Having access to the timetables of buses that travel intercampus as well as the public service buses that pass the university campuses will aid students in their daily commutes.

Perhaps adding the ability to be connected to the iPhone’s calendar app or the Android’s calendar.  This would allow students to plan other events around their study commitments.

Staff Directory/Phonebook

You know our tutor, old whats-his-name? Started with a P or something, right? I can’t remember where he said his office was?  Why not just have a look at the on-hand staff directory in your application to help you find that one name, that’s sitting on the tip of your tongue.  Following that, with a single click you could gain access to their full name, as well as, their office location, opening hours, phone number, and email address.  Integration into the map function to show you how to get to their office would be a handy addition.

Suppose there’s an emergency, you’ve got an assignment due today(legitimate emergency, yeah?) and you’re not sure what time the office closes? University services will also be in the directory, and much like the Staff directory, there’ll be access to the office location, phone number as well as open and closing times.

 

 

A university app would still be use-able if it included any of the features mentioned in this blog.  This is because, a minority of users will find that particular feature useful for a specific purpose, but will rely on other means to handle other aspects that could be handled by the same app.  Therefore, a better university app contains most, if not all of these features, neatly arranged in a compact, user-friendly layout.

 

Disagree? Some other feature that should be added that I missed? Leave a comment and let me know.

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