Mobile Apps vs Mobile Web

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Power and I were approached to cover Anthony Doherty’s workshop Mobile Apps vs Mobile Web.  We spent a week working through some ideas then finalised what we were talking about on arrival in Sheffield on Monday afternoon.

After the session, Kirsty Pitkin collared me to record a short piece to camera about what we covered:

[Aside: Bath’s Phil Wilson described this as “best. still. ever.” You can see and hear Phil laughing like a girl in the background of Adrian Tribe’s Take Away video. :-D]

Many thanks to Jeremy Speller from UCL for demonstrating their implementation of campusM and to everyone in the session for taking part in what I hope was an interesting discussion. There was quite a lot of Mobile Apps/Web talk throughout IWMW this year so I was a little worried we’d be repeating what everyone else said but I think it’s important for institutions to have the debate over what approach is best for them, whether that is buying in a native mobile app, deploying a mobile web app framework such as Molly, or building mobile versions of their website.

Finally, to make this post a bit more useful than just things you can find elsewhere, here’s a list of some mobile websites I may have demonstrated:

Additionally, check out the following universities in the iTunes App Store:

  • Stanford (Blackboard)
  • LJMU (campusM)
  • Trent Valley University (iUni)
  • UCL Go! (campusM)
  • UCLan
  • MSU Mobile

New even tastier delicious.com

Some websites like Google become so ingrained in how you use the web that you almost forget they’re there. For me del.icio.us – the social bookmarking service – is one of those sites. Last week, after a very long wait, the brand new version was launched and it’s looking pretty good. The first change you’ll notice is the name – the dots are gone so del.icio.us (probably the most well known site to use the .us TLD) is now delicious.com. The visual changes can be seen in this video:

But that probably doesn’t help if you’ve never come across Delicious before, so what is it and how can it help you? Here’s how they describe themselves:

Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. With emphasis on the power of the community, Delicious greatly improves how people discover, remember and share on the Internet.

Let’s break that down a bit!

Centralised. Instead of storing bookmarks on your own computer, they are stored on Delicious’ servers so they are all available anywhere you have a connection to the internet.

Tag don’t file. Normally when you save a bookmark you put it in a folder to help you find it later. Actually, if you’re like me, you don’t put it in a folder so you have one big long list of favorites [sic] and can’t find the thing you’re looking for. Delicious is different – instead of putting it in one folder you give it one or more tags. When you come to find a bookmark later you can filter down by tags.

It’s social. This is the key part to a service like Delicious. Social bookmarking sites allow you to be part of a larger community. In a purely selfish way, this saves you time by suggesting tags that other people have used when adding a bookmark but there’s much more you can get out as well. You can build up a network of contacts and see what pages they save. You can browse by tag across your contacts or the whole community. You can recommend a page to other users by tagging it for:username.

For an overview of some of the features of Delicious, check out this video from Common Craft:

To make using Delicious even easier, check out the toolbars available for Firefox and Internet Explorer. They integrate Delicious right into the browser and mean you rarely have to visit the site – it tells you when people in your network have bookmarked pages or recommended you a link.

Another useful feature of Delicious is feeds of everything. Subscribe to what people in your network bookmark, a private feed of the pages people have tagged for:you, or if you’re feeling adventurous, how about a feed of all the bookmarks with a particular tag! This also allows you to pull information into other places such as your blog (we’ve got the latest bookmarks tagged for:ehu_webteam in the sidebar), or into the GO portal.

So sign up, start bookmarking and explorer the community! And if you really want to know what I’m interested in, my username is mikenolan.

Vacancy: Head of Web Services

I will be leaving Edge Hill in the New Year to take up the position of University Web Manager at the University of Bath and as a result a vacancy has arisen for a new Head of Web Services at Edge Hill.

Full details can be found on our website however I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some key facts about the position and provide some background.

In the last twelve months it’s fair to say Edge Hill’s Web Services team has had some good press. The Hi applicant site was a huge success (soon to be featured in UCISA’s Best Practice Guide for Communicating with Users) as was the Go portal developments (designed for our students). We’ve also been talked about in HE Web circles and peers are interested in our vision and approach.

More exciting projects are imminent. The Corporate Website is currently getting a re-vamp to ensure we utilise new technologies to communicate key messages to our prospective students and we’re building in more functionality to key applications such as the eProspectus (course search) and News and Events.

So there is a lot going on and the successful applicant will get to work on a variety of exciting projects and with a talented and committed Web Services team.

I have been incredibly proud to have worked at Edge Hill University and seen it’s growth and success over the last few years and I look forward to hearing of it’s continued success in the future.

If you’re interested please don’t hesitate to contact me for an informal discussion on 01695 584780 or email alison.wildish@edgehill.ac.uk.

Work with us…

We are currently looking for a Web Applications Developer to join our team.

Full details about the post can be found on our website but I just wanted to add a few words about Web Services and where we are going.

Why join us?

At Edge Hill we’ve taken an innovative approach to Web Communications and our sites reflect this. The Hi Applicant Community website demonstrates our use of web 2.0 technologies and our commitment to opening up communication with our users and keeping informaton clear and simple.

We’re also committed to developing services based on user requirements and our Go portal (to be re-launched later this month) reflects this. Students (and staff) will control the information in their own portal based on user preferences.

Why do we want you?

Our applications team is growing. Under the leadership of the Web Applications Project Manager, Mike Nolan, the team will be re-developing our corporate website in coming months to create a much more functional and usable interface for our users. Building on from our experiences with the Hi site we want to ensure that we can serve information to the user dynamically and position our website as the best in the sector.

We are looking for a strong, creative developer to work on these projects to ensure we can meet our targets. Our projects are creative and innovative – we are quick to adapt and flexible enough to change when required – we want someone who can work with us in this fast paced environment.

Why Edge Hill?

We’re the fastest growing University in the Country. We are flexible and innovative and when it comes to the web we’re doing some really exciting stuff. We’re a growing team and we have a clear vision of where we want to be.

If this sounds interesting to you then read the job description or contact me for further information.

Alison Wildish, Head of Web Services – alison.wildish@edgehill.ac.uk

Online Excellence Scholarships

This year we’re launching our first “Online Excellence Scholarship” in a bid to reward students who are excelling in the construction and creative and interesting use of new media. Successful applicants could be upwarded £1,000 over 1 year (for PGCE students) or £2,000 over 3 years (for undergraduates) an attractive bonus for any student.

So how will we judge “excellence”? Well we’re particularly interested in the richness of content, creativity, innovation and/or technical accomplishment shown in the work and whilst most people have a MySpace page or a blog somewhere or other we’ll be looking for things that stand out from the crowd.

With all the web 2.0 technologies and sites available it’s easy enough for those creative and innovative individuals to really make their mark in the online space and we’re looking forward to seeing some of the best examples and awarding the scholarship to someone we feel can really add value to the growing online community. 

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