Keynote: Past, Present and Future of Mobile


  • Andrew Yu, Modo labs

The Mobile Born Generation

  • Andrew shared photos of his two young sons (2 years and 4 months) playing with mobile devices

The Changing Environment

  • In 2007 MiT worked on building their mobile web.  At the time, their CIO cautioned that “the iPhone can’t do it all.”
  • There was no app store for the iPhone until 2008
  • In 2008 everything we did was mobile web; only 1% of the traffic to the web site was from mobile.
  • 1st Gen:  Transit Module
  • 1st Gen:  Mobile Analytics
  • Student Reactions to our first app at MiT were very positive!
  • There’s often a BIG difference between what people are looking for on a university web site versus what’s actually there
  • First mobile app class was a big success, but joining with the Sloan Business school the second year made it sustainable and brought big and positive changes.
  • MiT president saw Stanford’s “iStanford” app and told us:  “we need an app”
  • We need to deliver an iPhone app 1/2010
  • We set up push notifications for transit
  • We set up a lot of custom features!
  • Covering all the bases at that time was not easy; smartphone penetration was only about 30% .  So, we had to use methods like shortcodes for SMS messaging to reach people with non-smartphones.
  • Target:  Mobile Experience in 2010 – you could not know if the product you were looking for was in stock locally.  Today, not only can you access stock “in-app,” it’ll tell you where it’s located in the store.  Target now has “you are here” signs up all over the store.
  • We’re very close to a “walletless” experience, where you can use your mobile phone for pretty much everything.
  • Video broadcasting anything:  Periscope, VR, short-form video like Vine
  • Snapchat:  gesture based UI; use of QR codes for reporting maintenance / housekeeping issues
  • 2014:  “Mobile is Dead”  Matias Duarte
  • The concept of easy needs to translate into everything that we do with mobile:  i.e. get info without opening the app (widgets, live tiles, etc.).



Mobile Analytics


What to measure, how to measure it and what to do with this critical information.

Trends in Mobile Engagement

  • Mobile use grew by 58% in 2015
  • 90% of time spent on mobile is in apps, 10% in the browser
  • 68% of marketers say personalization based on behavioral data has a high impact on ROI
  • 27% of all new devices activated for Xmas were phablets, and 50% of Android devices activated during that time were phablets (phablet users consume data differently – aggregation and data-focused)

What’s Different about Campus apps?

  • Many existing app analytics models are around a  commercial conversion event
  • Majority of campus app use cases, the user has already “bought.”  Retention is a key issue for many schools today.
  • Quality of life measurements:  student life experience during academic career; employee or faculty member’s day to day activities.
  • Admissions, alumni have more traditional paths:  convert to a student, reduce melt; development giving events to meet fund raising goals.
  • Rapid & frequent engagement with devices and information
  • Defining a conversion or goal for different audiences:  a conversion for a student applicant or alumni may be more traditional; what are the conversion events for the student, staff or faculty?  Transit vs registrar vs dining vs social events, etc.
  • Do LTV, CPI and other traditional commercial metrics have value for the campus app?

What you can do today

  • Connect to Google Universal Analytics
  • Provides visitor counts, using traditional session definitions:  page views, popular URLs, demographics
  • What’s missing?  URLs for what is being viewed are raw and require human deciphering; no way to easily segment locations or personas; no site search info; no ability to capture events such as authentication, bookmarks, favorites, etc; not micro-site aware.

What’s coming in Modo Analytics

  • Contents here are subject to change
  • Aggregates many different data sources within Kurogo environment:  session info, actions taken, config data, notification and message performance data, timers for performance
  • Dashboard designed to help answer “what is my app’s engagement?”
  • Sessions:  how many, unique sessions, screen views, modules viewed, duration, trends; Flow:  what were the paths taken during the session?  Where do most session start/end?  Module:  page views within a module; specific feed detail:  which exact news article.  Segmentation:  by location, persona, device type, visitor type (anonymous, authenticated)
  • Actions:  answer what people did, such as logins/logouts, bookmarks, favorites.  Content sharing (and via which mechanism, FB, Twitter, what was shared); Search:  which terms are most searched fro at the site level?  Which terms are searched for most within each applicable module?  What terms are searched for by time of day?
  • Demographics:  who is using the app?  Devices (OS, version), page type, etc.
  • Messaging:  how effective was my push notification?  Number of devices sent to; number of users who tapped on the notification, viewed it, followed the call to action.
  • Reports:  answer what happened in my app in the last week; email summary of trends; export data for 3rd party tool processing.
  • Benchmarking:  how am I doing relative to my peers?  Aggregate high level data from multiple apps; segment by school type (Carnegie).


  • External device triggers:  QR codes, beacons, NFC
  • Geolocation


  • What are the conversion events that are meaningful for student life engagement at your campus?  Is it diff for commuter schools vs heavy residential schools vs online only?  Conversion events fro different communities:  admissions, alumni, faculty, staff?
  • What conversion events for students correlate with improved retention?

Creating Feature-Rich Mobile Experiences with Kurogo Publisher and the Collage Screen Type


  • Eric Kim, Modo Labs

Using Kurogo Publisher and the Collage screen type, create beautiful feature-rich mobile experiences that incorporate live external web pages, web applications, data feeds, tables and much more.

What is Publisher?

  • Browser-based CMS for creating & updating screens in the Kurogo Mobile application

What’s New?

  • There are now thumbnails available to allow you to easily select a template to use
  • Screen Editor shows you which screens
  • Improved main screen editing and the editing panel itself
  • Lots of UI cleanup
  • Visibility scoping:  you can create a navigational structure that’s more nuanced whether it would be viewed within a mobile-responsive view or within the native application only
  • Custom CSS within collage screen type, scoped at a block-level (with selector classes and DOM selectors); also supports media queries
  • New styling options for Spectra

Collage is the Biggest New Addition

  • Philosophically a new way of building buckets of content and functionality within the framework
  • Specific look and feel for specific sections
  • No fixed positions or patterns
  • We’ve nearly doubled the number of block types available since Summer 2015 (too many to list in the slide, but including:  hero block, heading, text/html, feature box, Image & HD image, links, pull quote, Twitter post, video, carousel cards, External HTML, form, iFrame, Map (editable), Map (external data), slideshow, table (editable), etc.)


  • HTML 5 components (i.e. <aside>)
  • Media queries for pull quotes and a range of other elements
  • Ability to add maps, you define entirely within Publisher itself; you can also show a pin at the location, using our own icon, or you can upload your own pin icon.  You can pump an external map datasource into the widget itself.
  • Complete table editing section for tabular data, including summary, table heading, column headings, etc.
  • iFrame:  some folks were already doing this, but we decided to build this in as a native widget.  The iFrame can be sized as needed.
  • External web content:  a cURL-like request to pull information from an external URL and inject it into your screen.  Coming soon:  ability to use content provided by CMS’es that implement content-as-a-service.
  • Forms have the option of being collapsible content blocks (they can use external HTML blocks, blocks from inside Publisher, etc.)
  • Tables with external data:  can pull tabular data from (for example) Google Sheets, including graphs.
  • Kurogo Publisher Showcase (download the Kurogo Preview App and use the code “SHOWCASE”) was demonstrated to show what it can do.  The demo app has a button for each page that explains exactly how to build it.

We want you to experiment and have fun!  Collage gives non-technical people the ability to do creative things with little to no risk.


Advanced Communications and Messaging in your Mobile Application


  • Marshall Vale, Modo Labs

Modo Messaging turns your app into a powerful communication platform. Learn how you can drive engagement with messages to specific groups of users across multiple delivery channels.

What’s Going On In Mobile Engagement?

  • In 2015, enabling push messages lead to 3x more app launches
  • User retention is also 3x with push notifications than those who disable push
  • On average, engagement for push enable users is 88% higher

What Have You Asked For?

  • A way to see prior pushes
  • Way to send to individuals & groups
  • Want to delegate access
  • Improved metrics

Introduced Cloud Messaging

  • Major enhancement to our messaging capabilities
  • New GUI admin
  • New message center in the app to see prior push msgs and details
  • Approval process for message sending
  • New advanced targeting capabilities that can be added to your messaging package:  create personal channels with restricted audience lists to facilitate delegation

Let’s Send a Message!

  • Marshall gave a live demo of the cloud messaging tool to schedule sending a message to conference attendees

Messages vs Notifications

  • Base element in the system is a message
  • A message may have one or more notifications
  • Notification types include push, SMS, etc.


  • Enables other people on campus to leverage messaging model of mobile apps
  • Campus app becomes critical communications mechanism due to students’ behavior change away from email
  • Public (locations, personas)
  • Personal (overdue tuition, class of 1986, commuters)
  • Extends a variety of governance models to the whole campus (central approval, departmental approval, can roll out over time)


  • An institution will have a single organizational entry
  • Roles:  admin, editor, approver
  • Channels:  can segregate types of communications; filter messaging to different groups.

Personal Message

  • How do we connect a user to a device?  With authenticated users!  A single authenticated user may have multiple device identifies associated (iPhone, iPad, laptop)
  • Attributes are flat, no schema, and entirely definable by the organization.

Message Center

  • New place to see a list of all messages that have been received
  • Coming soon:  geo-targeting of devices (people at a football game); subscription channels (social activity groups); SMS notification mechanism

Available:  June 2016


3 Minutes of Fame


  • Various, see headings below…I hope I got everyone’s name right!  Hit me up for corrections 🙂

This is a session where selected attendees shared the unique mobile experiences they’re providing on their campuses.

Matt Bunch & Ryan Clemons, Arizona State University

  • 92K students, 25K faculty/staff
  • 7 campuses
  • 2 primary mobile applications:  main app, events app (ModoLabs)
  • Our group provides support for enterprise services
  • We have 116 apps in total across the organization at last census
  • Before ModoLabs, we had tons of different systems scattered across a range of areas
  • Kurogo fills the need of the university as a mobile CMS: we’re looking to expand the usage of Kurogo:  let our clients maintain their own sections, standardize on one platform for clients, standardize mobile design
  • Everything has to run through our group to be in our app store
  • 50K downloads of main app, 1K of Kurogo app
  • Where’s mobile going?:  leaving ideology of responsive, hybrid, web views, advancing towards IoT, sensor driven content, speedier transactions, and user specific driven design
  • IoT:  realtime parking lot availability.  We integrated into our primary maps solutions and will be consumed by our mobile app.

Adam from Dominican University

  • We’re using collage layout for home page, news on first line
  • Relaunching campus news and features
  • We had a homegrown faculty/staff directory; we used Publisher to consume titles, photos, etc.
  • Laundry resources tool has been wildly popular for our students; notification for this is big
  • Most popular modules are Canvas Course Integration, campus directory,  events
  • Next steps:  use beacons for notifications and wayfinding
  • Relaunching news & events, public safety and Rave
  • Inegration of Rave Guardian and emergency monitoring
  • Background notifications based on class schedule

Confessions of a Basement Developer, Phillip Templeton from Fresno State

  • 20K student enrollments, near Sequoia and Yosemite
  • 60+ areas of study for Bachelors, 40+ for Masters
  • Student Center implementation:  register for classes and management of financial aid stuff
  • Food security app:  student food donation; push notifications; user page modification (HTML template)
  • Analytics shows that the beginning of the year is where our app gets used most.  Slower part of the rest of the year gives

Chris Barros, NYU

  • We dramatically simplified our home page
  • We have an alumni day module to focus especially on alums (we call modules “feature” so as to not confuse our users)
  • Besides event schedules, we integrated the alumni Instagram account into

Jeff Delim from Sacramento State

  • 30K students; 7 colleges; 58 undergraduate majors; large commuter population; 23K downloads
  • Enrollment web services:  add/drop/swap.   This is by far the most used feature and has been used over 5 registration cycles
  • We use publisher as a container for everything that doesn’t go onto the home page.
  • 17% of all mobile traffic to PS is via mobile browser (the desktop version!)
  • Future plans:  more student center enrollment services (holds, to-do’s, personal info, financial aid, CashNet, contact info, etc.), parking availability, real-time bus tracking, campus tour, campus cupboard

Lance Smith, App Dev Manager from Sinclair Community College

  • Worked with Marketing to create custom icons
  • Custom .kml for Sinclair’s expansive campus map
  • Detailed building descriptions with images
  • Book list fed by data from Nebraska books
  • QR code generation for event registration; students able to quickly and easily check in to special sessions and events
  • Future: enhance design; smoother SSO; integration with Sinclair Tartan Card; way-finding improvements with iBeacons and indoor maps; campus tour

Victoria from CSU Stanislaus

  • Campus just went through rebranding
  • Two campus locations in Turlock and Stockton
  • App will choose what app is presented based on location
  • Most popular:  Blackboard; Peoplesoft tie-in;
  • Coming soon:  commencement module; virtual campus tour

For Those Who Couldn’t Attend

  • Harvard Shoestring:  built by students for students.  How to get by at Harvard on a shoestring budget.  This gets very positive user review.  They use the “Spectra” publisher screen type, abundant content for each topic making it very useful.  The entire app is done using only Publisher.
  • University of Kansas Academic Accelerator Program:  KU is part of the Shorelight International education program.  Designed for international students attending KU:  prospective students, plus current/new students.  Home screen is a nice summary of all the benefits of KU.  Smart use of social content to attract students.  Has a “before you arrive” feature.  Welcome feature with things like “tips on cultural differences,” extracurricular features, how to get a bank account, key people you’ll need to interact with, etc.
  • Qatar university:  unique challenges:  right to left Arabic, gender specific classes; my favorite splash screen; language selection screen.
  • MIT:  it’s where Kurogo all began; moved from highly customized app back onto the platform; MIT app is owned by the MIT News department; News module is prominently displayed as first icon on home screen; added an image multi-view for news; shuttle NextBus integration has a set alarm function; dining has both on- and off-campus selections, plus filters fro meal selection;