ND launches mobile app
Meg Handelman | Monday, April 14, 2014
Notre Dame students will soon be able to check dinner menus, find the nearest ATM, look up their accounting grades, confirm what time the basketball team is playing and even check if washing machines are free to use in their dorm with Notre Dame’s official app, MobileND, available for download now.
The main goal of the app was to bring users what they needed quickly and easily, Matt Willmore, MobileND program manager for the Office of Information Technology (OIT), said.
“We know that students have their smartphones with them 24/7 and want information quickly and often, and we have worked to deliver that to students,” Willmore said. “We also know that if the app isn’t useful, students won’t use it. Everything we build into the app is driven by the same question: How useful will this be?”
Notre Dame partnered with Modo Labs, which has built similar apps for Harvard University and Princeton University, to design the app, which launched April 11.
“Working with them allowed us to focus on the content and to bring this to campus much faster than building it from scratch,” Willmore said. “It also meant we could deliver the same experience for iOS, Android and to m.nd.edu simultaneously.”
Willmore said usability was the priority when designing the app.
“Things like how many taps it takes to get some information are really important for us, as well as how the app is arranged,” he said.
At the bottom of the screen, app users can select their “edition,” and there is an edition designed specifically for students, Willmore said.
The app opens to a menu page that links students to campus maps, dining hall menus and hours, news sources on campus, information about every athletic team, a campus directory, weather updates, a campus calendar and more.
Willmore said the app will help improve the lives of students by helping to answer questions that come up throughout the day, such as “Where can I go study right now?” or “What’s happening on campus tonight?”
“The most exciting feature to me, though, is the flexibility of the app’s platform,” Willmore said. “As the needs of campus change, the app can change with it. We can add modules for campus events like back-to-school just when they’re relevant.”
Although there is a large array of options, Willmore said he hopes everyone on campus will make use of at least one feature within the app, especially since people’s needs vary over time.
Much of this information is now scattered across webpages, but Willmore said he envisioned aggregating the information in one place that is “built for convenience.”
“I can say from personal experience that an app like this would have been amazing when I was in college,” he said.
Willmore said any cell phone with Internet capabilities can access the content on MobileND. While the app is mostly geared towards students, he said Notre Dame anticipates people using the app when they visit campus. To accommodate those interests, the app includes a visitor-parking map. He said MobileND plans to add content to enhance campus visits in the future.
Visit the AppStore to download MobileND. Feedback about improvements and content can be mailed to [email protected]