Dec 6, 2013

Sign up for no-charge, responsive web design training

Communicator Designer Developer Manager Resource Center

Due to high demand, the Texas A&M Mobile team is providing another session of the hands-on responsive web design workshop. This training is offered at no charge to A&M System employees. Lunch and training materials will be provided. Please bring your laptop.

When: January 27, 2014, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: General Services Complex, Room 101 B&C

Register: https://secure.touchnet.com/C21490_ustores/web/store_cat.jsp?STOREID=190&CATID=341.

Hurry! Enrollment is limited to 20 seats.

See the training agenda and schedule. Please send questions to it-coms@tamu.edu.

 

Download the resources needed for the class: RWD Workshop Resources

Dec 2, 2013

Convincing your boss to go mobile: Sometimes the truth hurts

Designer Manager

The Go Mobile team’s recent focus group and survey revealed making departmental websites mobile friendly is not a high priority for management. A respondent said tools were needed to “help convince my leadership that this needs to be done now and not just soon.” Here are a few ways you might approach this problem.

“[Insert name of top competitor]’s website is already mobile friendly”
Look at peer institution websites (vision2020.tamu.edu/peer-institutions) to see how far along they are in going mobile. If your top competitors are already mobile friendly, your department is falling behind. If many aren’t mobile friendly, your department has an opportunity to become a leader in this area.

“Students hate our website”
Survey students within your majors about whether the current site adequately supports access from mobile devices. Take the opportunity to find out what content is the most important to students, which will be helpful when redesigning your site.

“The latest website redesign was in the last century”
A Chanel suit is timeless. A website design, not so much. In your survey, ask students about how they feel about the website’s design. Results may help your leadership understand an outmoded, poorly designed site speaks more powerfully in a negative way than they thought.

“Faculty hate our website, too”
This could pose some difficulties in obtaining information, so you may need to be a bit “sneakier.” For example, if your department is conducting a job search, ask the committee chair if the website shows the department in the best light. The current site may not be meeting faculty needs for reasons other than lack of mobile friendliness.

We know having a great website isn’t one of the metrics by which your department is assessed. However, it is a very important tool that helps departments achieve their goals.

Nov 21, 2013

Why mobile first?

Designer Developer

If you’re new to the concept of mobile first, its simply the practice of designing and developing websites starting with the mobile experience.

Hearing the term mobile-first a couple years ago, I thought how dumb, web surfing is best done on a huge monitor!  We should just give the one or two mobile users out there separate mobile sites.

Two years and several responsive sites later, I get it.

The growth of mobile has been discussed before, so lets cover other benefits.

Using a mobile first approach improves:

  • Mobile experience (duh) – mobile becomes first priority instead of an afterthought
  • Content – the small screen compels us to write concise content that is focused on user needs
  • Accessibility – screen readers and mobile browsers thrive on clean, semantic html
  • Usability – simplifying our interfaces and prioritizing content over navigation leads to sites that are easier to use
  • Speed – the constraints of mobile bring us to remove unnecessary cruft; reducing ornamentation, graphics and fancy javascript makes everything faster
  • Development time – starting small and adding features for larger screens results in leaner code

Where to go from here

We have a few points on how to think mobile first under the Go Mobile strategy page. Then definitely read Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski. Everything here is rehashing ideas from Luke’s book.

Sep 2, 2013

On-campus responsive web design training at no charge

Communicator Designer Developer Manager Resource Center

Join the Texas A&M Mobile Team for a practical, hands-on workshop on implementing a responsive website. The no-charge one-day course will be offered on two separate days to accommodate interested participants. Please bring your laptop. Lunch and training materials provided. Training is open to members of The Texas A&M University System.

When: September 19 OR October 23, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: General Services Complex, Room 101 B&C

Register: https://secure.touchnet.com/C21490_ustores/web/store_cat.jsp?STOREID=190&CATID=341. Hurry! Enrollment is limited to 20 seats per session.

See the training agenda and schedule. Please send questions to it-coms@tamu.edu.

Jul 10, 2013

Mobile-first redesign of Security.tamu.edu

Communicator Designer Developer Manager Resource Center

Texas A&M Information Technology recently redesigned Security.tamu.edu thinking mobile first. Our team worked to streamline and reorganize the content to improve readability. The site is divided into articles on big topics like identity theft or protecting confidential information. Each article has an introduction paragraph and sections with clear headings to make the content easy to scan. On mobile devices, the body content is converted into an accordion, which keeps scrolling to a minimum and allows readers to select the topics most relevant to them.