Is a mobile version a prerequisite for a great website?

April 8, 2010

iphone picOver the last few days I was thinking about what makes a great website in 2010. Among many things, I thought about a mobile version of your website. Is a mobile version a prerequisite for a great website?

A great website meets the needs of the audience. Is your audience searching your website with mobile devices? To know the answer to this question you need to be measuring traffic to your site. (another thing that makes a great website)

I thought I would share some data from www.gettysburg.edu. Using Google Analytics I looked at mobile traffic in three segments listed below.

November 3, 2009 – December 31, 2009
6,313 visits

January 1, 2010 to Feb 28, 2010
7,520 visits

March 2010
4,364 visits

About 2/3 of the visits are from external addresses and 1/3 are from a campus address.

This data tells me that at least initially that mobile traffic is increasing to the site. However it still only represents about 1% of the total visits to the Gettysburg website. Is that enough to spend resources developing tools for users on mobile devices?

The truth is that I don’t know. Will we someday see 50% of the traffic to Gettysburg from a mobile device? Maybe. Maybe not. But here are a few facts to help you decide:

  • More than 300,000 iPads have been sold in America since last week’s launch
  • CNBC Mobile’s Web traffic has grown more than tenfold since its June launch. The site’s traffic went from 2.7 million monthly page views to more than 30 million monthly page views.
  • Last year, for the first time, notebooks outsold desktop computers

What do you think – are there other links and resources that you would suggest?


Gettysburg College launches iphone app

October 24, 2009

At Gettysburg College today we were pleased to announce the launch of a free iPhone application for the  iPhone or iPod Touch. The app can be downloaded at www.gettysburg.edu/app and is part of a broader mobile strategy for the college

The project started in May and was coordinated by web communications. We worked collaboratively with admissions, public relations, and IT and used a vendor GeoNova Publishing, they are historically a mapping company but are branching out into mobile devices.

We targeted the iphone/itouch for a number of reasons. We saw it as an opportunity to start working in the mobile world and thought that there was a good base of apps already for the iphone. In the future we may have to develop across several devices but we will wait and see if one emerges as most popular.

The app was designed specifically for the external audiences of the College including prospective students and their families, alumni and parents. It provides mobile access to an interactive campus map, information, photos, videos, and campus directories


Is mobile the next trend?

July 8, 2009

Recently I have noticed an “uptick” in the chatter of the  higher ed community about mobile sites and mobile apps for institutions. One year from now I wonder if the dominant conversation in higher ed turns from “social media” to “mobile”? With the speed at which some of our institutions move maybe that will be in two years.

With the current economic climate at most institutions there will be a focus on enrollment and admissions. According to most of the research that I have seen one of the largest “drivers” for a student to apply is the visit to campus. With Apple cutting the entry point for iPhone users to $99 more and more of our visitors will be carrying these devices in the next year. Wouldn’t higher ed be well served to meet the needs of prospective families visiting with mobile sites and apps aimed at these visitors?

There are over 25,00 apps in the Apple app store but my best count only 5 are from higher ed. What will that number be one year from now? 25 …50…100?


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