SHUgo (Playstore, Appstore) is a mobile app (iPhone/android) designed for Sheffield Hallam University (SHU – UK) students to aid their university education and experience. The app allows students to have access to their emails, Blackboard (module/assignment materials, or top up their SHUcard (student card payment for cafes or printing). SHU students have mixed opinions on the app; however the feedback we gathered via market research (SurveyMonkey questionnaire, full results in pitch) suggested that improvements could be made. In particular, that the design was out of date (as images show), and functionality was seen as problematic.
The User experience (survey responses) of SHUgo was our main reasoning behind the development of SHUHUB- a virtual hub for SHU students.
To develop the prototype app, we used prototype creation software called Justinmind. Using Justinmind made the app development process a lot smoother and simplistic, as we have little programming expertise. We concluded that there were some main issues with SHUgo which needed to be solved by SHUHUB. For example, the design needed to be more friendly and modern. For example, the colour scheme needed to reflect the users – SHU students. (Ginsburg, 2010)
Secondly, and arguably most importantly, the reliance on Blackboard (external module information app) needed to be solved. Therefore, we developed a prototype which would incorporate a student’s module information within the app itself. We felt less redirections were needed, and therefore tried to incorporate as much into the prototype as we could; without the need for redirections. The USP of SHUHUB is undeniably the design changes, and the removal of Blackboard from the app. This is demonstrated in the presentation design slides of the pitch.
After development of the app, marketing of SHUHUB was considered. Due to the target audience, the best marketing techniques to use are those in which SHU use. (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, E-mail updates, Shuspace, and flyers/posters). Using SHU resources to promote SHUHUB keeps the tone and brand of SHUHUB relevant. (David and Murman, 2014)
Place in the Media World
For example, SHUHUB enhances and augments skills of productivity – including organisation, time management, and navigation. SHUHUB retrieves planning and organisation assistance, like that of a PDA or diary; as well as retrieving the navigational assistance of a map. SHUHUB makes Blackboard obsolete from the app. However, when flipped, SHUHUB can be said to be electronic waste; is it really necessary. As seen from the Tetrad, SHUHUB fits well into the technological media world. SHUHUB successfully does all things any media should do, as said by McLuhan.
SHUHUB development and maintenance would require resources and funding. However, the University has access to many resources. For example, SHUHUB development, maintenance, and marketing would be conducted on a voluntary basis by students and staff wanting to contribute to the university, and to gain experience. Office space is also provided to SHU students/projects for free (The hatchery). Although, some costs are inevitable. The Apple Developer Enterprise Program and Adobe Creative Cloud annual memberships add up to £789.62.
The Development of SHUHUB meets the needs of the users – SHUgo currently does not. SHUHUB is an app which, if developed, matches the brand of the University much better than SHUgo, through its student involvement. The prototype developed is an insight into what a SHU app could be, and should be.