The UIndy App recently changed from multiple channels to one channel in order to make the app more user-friendly, according to an email from Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli. Before the change was made, there was a lost and found channel, marketplace channel, news and politics channel and the campus feed, according to Senior Director of Information Technology Amber Weishaar. People were mostly posting in the campus feed, leaving other channels practically unused, Associate Dean of Students in the Office of Student Affairs Steven Freck said.
“When we first launched the app, we had the general campus feed, and then we tried to introduce a couple of additional channels…,” Freck said. “When we looked at the usage of those other channels—not the campus feeds, so the marketplace and lost and found—there was very little traction in those channels.”
Weishaar said confusion and lack of usage of the multiple channels is what led to the change on the app to one channel. This concept makes the app more user-friendly because it is easier to figure out where to post and not be a part of a conversation you do not want to be included in, she said.
“There was a little bit of confusion between ‘Where should I post my message,’ for those that noticed and paid attention that there were several channels. ‘Do I put my lost and found item in the main feed where I could see there’s a lot more activity, or do I put it in the lost and found channel where it feels like I’m probably supposed to put it because it’s labeled that?’” Weishaar said. “We’ve taken away that indecision and I think that is more user-friendly to streamline it all into one place because it’s clear if you want to post something that’s where you do it.”
Before the app was changed, users were able to turn off notifications, Weishaar said, but now if users do not accept the invite to the channel, users will not receive several messages they do not want to see.
“People who don’t want to be part of the conversation don’t have to be, and I think this invite-only concept makes that more obvious,” Weishaar said. “That’s some feedback we’d heard from students in the past because ‘I don’t want to see that conversation, I don’t want to be interrupted with it.’”
Another change that will be coming to the app is more native content, Weishaar said. This means that people can create links within the mobile app that stay within the mobile app, so you don’t necessarily have to click out onto a separate webpage, she said.
“They [Office of Student Affairs] are always working on new features …,” Weishaar said. “Something in the recent past is that they introduced a way for us to present more mobile-native content, so we can create links within the mobile app that stay within the mobile app, and we don’t have to necessarily click out to a separate webpage.”
So far, there have been about 1,100 people who have accepted the invite to the new changes in the app, according to Weishaar. With the new changes in the app being well-received, this proves that the data was correct and people are finding the new changes to be more user-friendly, she said.
“We’ve been pleased with that response, especially given that we’ve only sent emails and posted things within the mobile app to let people know about the change, and so I think that drives home the information we have about usage, [which] seems to be showing that people, but especially students, are using the mobile app and are finding the mobile app useful,” Weishaar said.