University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Using Google Analytics I have been monitoring the trends of visitors using mobile devices to access our website. Looking only at stats for the first week of the semester, mobile access has increased from 1.4% in Fall 2009 to 5.2% in Spring 2010. We do not have a mobile app nor do we have a mobile site so these are mobile browser users. The most popular devise is the iPhone, followed by Android.


Is this similar to trends you are seeing at your institution?





Views: 100

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Dave

I used to be the Web and Publications Manager at Derby University in the UK until Nov 2010 and yes, this is very similar to what we were seeing. Last analytics showed mobile access made up 6% or all visits, compared to just 1% 6 months earlier.

And yes, iPhone first (way out front), then Android, then iPad.

Like you, we did not have a mobile site or app.

But it's pretty compelling evidence to create one I feel, don't you?


Lucy, Given the budget constraints we are facing, I don't think 5% or 6% browsing via mobile device justifies the rerouting of resources (time, staff, and $$) to develop and maintain a mobile dedicated app or site. I do think the increases justify more clarification, for example; Are all the current mobile users satisfied with their browsing experience?; and How many mobile owners don't visit the website with their devise becuase there is not an app, or mobile site?





Yes, fair enough Dave. I must admitt that I did have one rather astronomical quote for a mobile version of key aspects of the site, so our next steps were going to be to do more research into just who was browsing by mobile and what they were looking at, who might consider browsing by mobile in future etc, to see if marketing spend on an app or mobile site for potential students would be justified.


So perhaps "compelling evidence to investigate further" would have been more apt phrasing!



If your primary content is fairly portable, you're talking about one-time setup with intermittent maintenance. By portable, I mean that the mobile version could feed off RSS, XML, and API data so that the content is automated.

Note that because GA uses JavaScript your mobile numbers may be a little bit low. Some mobile browsers don't handle JS at all. I doubt it'll make a huge difference but you never know.


We've seen a similar increase though we have a mobile website. To open our Spring semester our mobile site saw 11% of the traffic our home page did. Android has been beating out iPhone on our campus but not iOS total. For what it's worth the calendar and campus map account for most of the usage of our site. I wrote up a decent blog post at the beginning of the fall on our usage patterns. I really should revisit that data this week.

Dave Olsen - Are you using GA or another program to get the mobile info?


Our top content accessed during the first week of the Spring 2011 semester was Fee payment info, Academic Calendar, Campus Map, and Student Club info. I don't know yet if this mirrors the top content for mobile users.

The JS issue is one that concerns me as we look to incorporate more JS within our site. I predict the direction we will eventually all be going is one where we adapt a universal design approach to website development so that one site can accomodate the various platforms, browsers, and devices of the users (similar to one website accomodating screen view and print by tweaking the style sheet). Dave Mulder, your comment about portable content may be hitting on this.

I think apps are great for specific purposes, but in my opinion an edu site supports too many specific needs to rely on an app to take care of them all.


We record all page views for our mobile site in a database. It's the easiest way to get correct information because of the non-JS issue. There is also GA for mobile sites if you're ever curious: But in general I don't trust GA to be accurate. It's good for general loyalty and what not but using a database or log file is the best way to review mobile usage data.


I think the notion of universal design with respect to mobile is a bit of a myth. At least for complicated services (e.g. campus map or calendar). When I first started down the path for mobile I thought it was going to be that easy but, as I've found, the best solution, as annoying as it sounds, is really providing a completely different view for users based on device class. Context and functionality differ so much from a desktop environment to a mobile environment that it's tough to have one set of data only be modified by a stylesheet or media queries and still supply quality information.


I do agree with Dave M's notion of portable content but I think that comes at an API level. Or maybe that's what you meant by "one site." At some point their will have to be a prioritization of which services get "mobilized." I don't think a school will ever be able to make everything mobile-friendly nor should they. 


And not sure if it's helpful but I wrote up a blog post on what I thought was a reasonable approach to a progressive mobile strategy. I talk a little bit more about the importance of APIs in it.

This is a good read, thanks.

We don't use GA directly on our homepage because of privacy concerns, but we do use it on our search site and that has seen definite growth in over the last year in mobile browsers hitting it. It's up to 3% on that site.


I suspect, though, that a lot of mobile folks are turned off by our weighty homepage which takes a while to load over 3G connection. So our 3% must be a bit low.

We don't use GA directly on our homepage because of privacy concerns


Just curious, what privacy concerns do you have with GA?

Mostly, the concern has been data ownership by a third party. If some organization (government or otherwise) wants this data, it's beneficial for the decision of releasing it to belong to you. When you run GA, you are giving away the right to make that decision (Google makes it for you).


We are moving toward endorsing GA use on our campus by writing a privacy policy, which GA requires its users to post.



Latest Activity

Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Here’s an outline of everything you need to know about OCR compliance, including what it is, what your college or university can do to stay compliant, and resources for OCR compliance. #accessibility"
17 hours ago
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with April Buscher from Montana State University Billings to learn how blind readers and people with hearing impairment view and read your website and how you can make it accessible to them."
Aug 14
Amanda Lawson joined Lynn Zawie's group


Share your experiences using OmniUpdate CMS
Aug 9
Amanda Lawson posted a photo

Amanda Lawson

Amanda Lawson, Web Content ManagerCommunity College of Allgheny County
Aug 9
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"High schoolers spend more time on their digital devices than they do sleeping, doing homework, or participating in extracurricular activities. So how do you make your message stand out to them? #eexpect"
Aug 8
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Want to increase digital engagement with high school juniors and seniors? Join our next webcast with Stephanie Geyer from Ruffalo Noel Levitz as she shares new data from the 2019 E-Expectations Trend Report on email, paid media, and social media…"
Jul 31
Charlie Holder joined DNI's group

Cascade Server CMS

For folks who use (or are interested in) Hannon Hill's Cascade Server CMS productSee More
Jul 26
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Is your website in compliance with the new WCAG 2.1? Join our webcast to learn various accessibility guidelines, what’s new in 2.1, and more!"
Jul 22
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Even though GDPR has been in effect for over a year, many U.S. colleges and universities are still struggling with how best to implement the rules. We’re here to help."
Jul 18
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Does your college or university website meet the new WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards?"
Jul 12
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Eric Turner from Mt. San Antonio College, who will share easy steps to make your website GDPR compliant."
Jul 10
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"It is always important to make a good first impression! Join Aaron Blau from Converge Consulting as he covers ways to make your web content attractive to your target audience and create an authentic brand message."
Jun 19
Jon Shaw posted a discussion

email obfuscation

Anyone using a javascript or php email obfuscation library that is effective for spam defense?See More
Jun 11
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Kelly Bostick from University of Arkansas who will provide some great tips on ways to ensure that all of your digital content is accessible."
Jun 6
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Creating and producing website content is just the tip of the iceberg. In our latest white paper, learn how to manage that content to help your website reach its fullest marketing and recruiting potential."
May 30
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"A college or university website redesign is the most effective and cost-efficient way to attract and recruit new students. Download our ultimate guide to get started on your redesign today!"
May 28
Cody Bryant is now a member of University Web Developers
May 20
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Rachael Frank from Gravity Switch to learn how to organize your content and messaging for a website redesign."
May 16
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Capitalize on content by creating an editorial calendar for your college or university website. Here’s how:"
May 9
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"A soft launch of your website redesign is well worth the extra time. Find out why."
May 2

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic


© 2019   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service