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OSU Mobile Website

In early July Ohio State launched a brand new Web site, m.osu.edu, which offers a multitude of services to students from the palm of their hands.
The mobile Web site has actually been around for close to five years, but this summer the school launched a version that is optimized for the newest technology in handheld devices, such as the iPhone and Blackberry devices.
“The mobile site is just an extension of the main Web site, osu.edu, and it’s another way to think about the content that we post to osu.edu,” said Ted Hattemer, Director of New Media, University Communications. “It is optimized for the type of devices that students might be using to view that same content.”
However, it isn’t just a modification of OSU’s main site, there are many added features on the mobile website that take advantage of the features that the iPhone and Blackberry devices have to offer.
Because many iPhones and Blackberrys are geo-location aware, meaning that they can pinpoint exactly where they are on the globe, the new mobile site has a component that is called “What’s Close?”.
“We can offer certain specialized services like what’s the closest bus stop and when will the bus arrive at that bus stop or what’s the closest website that takes BuckID” Hattemer said.
The mobile site continues to offer the services that have been available in the past, such as “find people,” a campus map, and new and information.
“Students will have the opportunity to look someone up from the site and then email them directly from their iPhone or smartphone. Or actually clicking on the phone number and dialing that phone number,” Hattemer said.
Similarly, the site continues to have available ringtone and wallpaper downloads, but those too have seen an upgrade for smart phone devices.
According to Hattemer, iPhone sales have increased 500% over the last year and because they are becoming more and more affordable, they expect to see an increase of students with these devices on campus.
James Walton, a systems manager within OIT Administration, said in an email that they estimate that around 50% of upperclassmen at Ohio State have smartphones. He also said that although they believe that only about 5% of freshmen and sophomores have smartphones, most newly purchased phones are smartphones, so they expect that number to steadily increase.
The site has been online with very few problems since it’s launch in the middle of the summer, but they haven’t seen nearly the traffic that are expecting during Fall quarter, said Hattemer.
“We’re kind of in a lull right now and our big traffic day is move-in day,” Hattemer said. “When all the freshman and returning students move on campus, traffic to the Web site, and now the mobile Web site, will spike tremendously.”
Their main challenge now is working on getting Buckeyelink and the Student Center optimized for handheld devices.
“The next thing that we are going to be looking at is optimizing Buckeyelink and the Student Center so that you can do things like register for classes or check your grades,” Hattemer said.
He said that currently, they are working on perfecting the security piece so that students can conduct university business without worrying about having their personal information online without a security certificate.

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