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 ( 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 1, 2013

Tragedy of the Commons


A recent EDUCAUSE Center for Research and Analysis (ECAR) report cites a tragedy of the commons playing out in the ether of university wireless networks. It seems that the number of “Internet capable devices” is increasing at a steep rate among campus humanoids, most sharply among students. In fact, the prediction is that there will be four devices per student on Doctoral/Research campuses by 2014. At Texas A&M University, that translates into more than 200,000 devices, and that doesn’t even account for faculty, staff, administrators and visitors. What’s frightening is that the curve doesn’t appear to be slowing. While we have yet to see saturation of the campus network, the theory of the tragedy of the commons would posit that this condition will eventually lead to a depletion of the common resource (e.g., bandwidth, network nodes, addresses, etc.).

How will individual digital behavior and habits impact the collective commons of shared networking space? Will the current adequacy of the resource eventually move to scarcity, and how can we avoid it? Perhaps setting some bring-your-own-device (BYOD) guidelines are in order. The report goes on to talk about the federal government’s BYOD Toolkit with a set of pre-canned policies that could serve as a starting point for our own discussion. ECAR reports that 47% of institutions are developing comprehensive mobile device strategies and consider it a high or essential priority. The most common policies are acceptable use (89%), employee privacy (79%) and security requirements for data (75%). The least common policies are limitations of liability (32%), permitted/allowed apps (40%) and ownership of provisioned apps and services (43%).

Back to the BYOD proliferation issue. If the trend of (roughly) doubling devices every three years continues, we may not be able to keep up in the future. Now is the time to start a discussion on mobile proliferation.


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: Hurry! Enrollment is limited to 20 seats per session.

See the training agenda and schedule. Please send questions to

Aug 30, 2013

Wi-Fi use sets new record

Manager Resource Center

August 28,2013 was another record day for Wi-Fi use at Texas A&M University. Networking & Information Security reported a new record of 68,108 unique users in a 24-hour period. Last Fall semester’s record was 61,736, set on November 28, 2012. Yesterday’s peak usage was 30,733, just short of last Fall’s record of 31,013, also set on November 28. So far this semester, user sessions in a 24-hour period have been averaging about 1.1 million sessions. The current record for user sessions in a 24-hour period was set last Fall semester at 1,618,420 on September 19, 2012.

Aug 1, 2013

New report on high school students, use of mobile devices in college search

Communicator Manager Resource Center

The latest E-Expectations report from Noel-Levitz, The Impact of Mobile Browsing on the College Search Process, is available at It provides new data about mobile usage by college-bound high school students. University communicators take note: there’s a list of top 10 content priorities when browsing college sites via mobile devices.