You can only carry so much information about UVA in your head.
But you can carry quite a bit in your hand now, thanks to a free mobile application developed by a team at the University.
News, notices, calendar events, library listings, athletics—even recorded versions of “The Good Old Song”—are a finger tap away for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users.
“This new app has something for everyone—students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and anyone interested in the University,” says Teresa A. Sullivan, UVA’s new president, in a text greeting on the app.
Launched in late August, the application was developed by a group representing University interests ranging from admissions and student affairs to athletics and the Alumni Association. The University contracted with WillowTree Apps, Inc., of Charlottesville to help design and build the app, which includes two dozen subapplications and innovative offerings. Students can track UTS buses; sports and news junkies can get instant results and alerts.
Pointing a GPS-capable phone at a building on Grounds will cause its name and a brief description to pop up on screen.
“That feature on the interactive map isn’t found on most university apps,” says Zachary Wheat, UVA’s director of interactive media.
The app also is notable for its extensive alumni focus, says C. Thomas Faulders III, president and CEO of the UVA Alumni Association. “It provides a mobile platform for most of our alumni engagement efforts, including Reunions, Homecomings, UVaClubs and the Alumni & Friends calendar.”
The athletics subapp was designed not only to bring the online VirginiaSports.com experience to iPhone users but also to include video, stats and sounds from athletic events and ways to purchase tickets and merchandise, says Todd Goodale, associate athletics director for marketing and video services.
“Providing live stats and live scoring was important to us,” Goodale says. “We had not seen that on other university apps.”
The UVA app created widespread buzz—within the University community and beyond—almost immediately after its launch, and nearly 7,000 people downloaded the app in the first month. A big question among non-Apple users has been when the application will be available on other phones.
“There is a lot of interest in an Android version, and that is the fastest-growing platform, even more than Apple,” says Wheat. “There is no timetable on that yet, but we expect to decide about moving forward relatively soon.
“The cost for doing a version enhanced for iPad seems to be reasonable, so we’ll be looking at that as well. Regarding Blackberries, we haven’t seen much demand yet, though that remains the dominant platform,” Wheat says.
Faulders notes that the architecture of the Good Old App, as it’s informally called, allows organizations around Grounds to add subapps and update existing information. In addition, it shortens the information loop—users don’t need a computer and they don’t need to click through several layers of links.
“It’s all right there,” he says, “and that’s what I like about it.”
To get the UVA app for the iPhone, visit www.virginia.edu/mobile.