Any colleges or universities out there have serious plans to put as much of their website as possible in a mobile format? I've noticed in the brief time I've spent researching the subject that most colleges/universities either only offer up a couple of sections/apps such as Library, Directory and Athletics or if they do have a few pages in a mobile format (such as Notre Dame's mobile site - m.nd.edu) they only go a couple of links deep and then let everything switch to the full site.
I was wondering if most colleges/universities just don't have the time or just haven't wanted to put in the time to "fully mobilize" their sites?
I think mobile portals a la m.nd.edu are just the first step most schools have or will make (outside of just hiring a vendor). It's easy to get your feet wet with products like Kurogo or the Molly Project while at the same time delivering info you know folks want/need. The next hot step will be responsive web design for some of the less popular content. At the moment I think it's just an issue of time and knowledge but that will change quickly.
At West Virginia University we're doing more and more with responsive web design to try to take a lot of the traditional stuff we offer and make it mobile-friendly without investing a lot of time and resources. It's not the best solution but it's something. Examples include our Student Affairs website (http://studentaffairs.wvu.edu/) and our Welcome Week website (http://welcomeweek.wvu.edu/). The latter will be linked from our mobile portal at the beginning of next week.
I just found Stanford's Mobile Aware Web Project today which is a good step towards showing other schools what they can do from a RWD perspective. http://www.stanford.edu/dept/its/projects/mobile/aware/info/index.html
You may want to tune in to this Sunday's (Aug 14th) episode of Higher Ed Live which will be covering Mobile in Higher Ed
Ok thanks for the replies both of you and I will check out that episode Sunday. My university just finished a redesign of our site (we released June 9th) and we're moving forward and one of the new things has been a mobile site. I've seen Kurogo and some of the other mobile frameworks people have been using. We use Cascade for our CMS and we've been thinking of just using some XML and CSS to convert the pages to a mobile format that we set up instead of using any of the mobile frameworks out there.
We're going to test this out over the next week or so to see if it's going to be a headache and a bad idea or not. I don't know enough about mobile frameworks to know if the reason why most universities using them weren't able to fully make their site mobile because the mobile frameworks weren't built for that.
Something like Kurogo is built specifically to offer a very focused, high quality mobile experience for select services. They don't offer a... proxy service, I guess, for turning normal content into a "mobile template." Some things, like a campus map, really benefit from this approach. Frankly, you'll see schools, like us, offering a bunch of mobile solutions. From apps to dedicated mobile sites to templates switched based on user agents to simple CSS/RWD solutions... it's sort of overwhelming once you sit down and see how it all falls out.
And fair warning, you're just going to end up listening to me on Sunday ;)
Like Dave, the new templates that I am about to launch are meant to adapt to different devices. We have a small, dedicated, action driven mobile site now, and the normal site will use mobile styles and media queries to adapt appropriately to small screened devices. Just takes some planning and forethought when you're building out templates so that you account for such realignments.
I've just started working at a new school, and one of the things i've been asked to do is move more and more content to be mobile friendly. And thankfully the system I've walked into makes it easy to do this. All of the content is stored in a database. There's a true separation of content and design. I have been able to make a 'template' for the mobile content and then pull in that same content that's on the desktop version of the site, and away we go.
This would never be possible (or this easy) on some sites I've worked on because all of the content is embedded in the actual code and there's no way to easily pull it out. And then you end up with redundant information.
Due to time, and other projects,I haven't been able to fully convert everything over yet, so I still have a few "go to the full site" links out there. Different parts of the site call for different design attributes that need to be converted with the right css classes and ids.
When we first built m.nd.edu, our main site wasn't very mobile friendly and the flash-based carousel that was the feature of the homepage was a big offender. With our recent redesign, we switched to a responsive design. Some relevant stats include:
Old design: 2.7MB with 47 http requests
New design: 348KB with 33 http requests
In my view, m.nd.edu is simply a mobile "portal" meant to provide visitors quick access to information they may need. Mobile visitors to our main site will only get redirected to the mobile portal if they visit the homepage. Any visits to sub-pages do NOT redirect (personal stories filled with rage omitted at this time). However, there is always an option at the top of every page (for small screen sizes) that links to m.nd.edu. Also, if a visitor to m.nd.edu selects the Main Site link, we set a cookie so they won't get redirected from the homepage for a while.
My intent is to make ND.edu as mobile friendly as possible. It's not quite to the point I'd like, but it's much better than it was. We're still learning lessons about how best to treat our "mobile" users, but I like the direction it's going. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is to remain cognizant of how media queries work. If you use a large image in your css and then over-ride it in your media queries, the mobile device may download both (depending on your setup).
For fun, visit ND.edu in Safari, Chrome or FF and play with the browser width. Feedback is always welcome. I do intend to do a write-up on lessons learned during out transition to RWD, hopefully in the next week or so. I'll drop a note on this board when it's up.