DubLabs recently hosted a roundtable with several customers discussing how to engage students to assure that their team creates the best campus mobile app for their individual school. Bridgewater State University has shown considerable success, and shared their experience with the group.
During the roundtable discussion, Bridgewater shared several of the key factors in their success:
- Build your app based on what students want, not what IT or the administration thinks will succeed. Students often clamor for functionality that may not be intuitive to IT leadership. For example, one school chose to include access to the school’s email system, although students had mobile access through other channels.
- Start with a small group of core capabilities – the ones students are clamoring for – and build on their success. Keep asking students what would make the app more effective for them.
- Introduce the app with a strong marketing program. And promote it regularly, not just when you launch it. Promote it at campus events and in social media and via posters, and encourage faculty to spread the word. Include discussion of it during any technical orientation sessions, or even consider making it mandatory for freshmen.
- Make sure your most-used capabilities are working as expected (for most apps, it’s the Courses module). Assign staff and student volunteers to monitor and test on a regular basis, or when new functionality has been added.
- Keep your app vital and responsive to student interests and use patterns, even removing modules that aren’t used. Just because it was the best campus mobile app yesterday, doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved tomorrow.
These tips have provided great dividends for BSU. Debuting their campus mobile app in 2014, they started with core capabilities that included a robust Courses module.
The app’s usage stats for the two years since its introduction tell the rest of the story story:
- Users have spent 21,859 hours in the app, completing almost 12 million activities
- 98% of app users are return visitors
- 46% of students use the app several times per day
- The most frequently used mobile app feature is Courses, which combines content from the SIS & LMS in one place
Interested in learning more? We shared additional background about BSU’s mobile engagement in a post in May, including a closer look at their metrics.