UVic Mobile app still has a ways to go

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Stock image via pexels.com
Stock image via pexels.com

This summer, UVic released an updated version of their mobile app that connects new and current students to campus life. After the latest update in 2013, students have been waiting for a new way to check their My Page information on a mobile device that doesn’t leave stuff cut off with the screen. And for the most part, the new app delivers.

The Good

The app is somewhat aesthetically pleasing, as it opens to a picture of two students sitting by Petch Fountain. A tiny icon allows users to access a pulldown menu where they’ll find the real meat of the app: the features.

The app lets students access  ONECard funds, tuition and finance information, and timetable, all in one place. As well, students can find safety information, including campus safety bulletins, and search news and event listings to find out what’s going on around campus.

As of Sept. 13, 4 236 unique users have downloaded the new app since it went live — almost as many users who downloaded the old app over its three-year lifespan. The app is especially popular among first-year students, if the “My First Year at UVic” Facebook page is anything to go by, but many students are experiencing difficulty in accessing their My Page information without having to log in every damn time they open the app.

“We are currently investigating options that balance security and usability. However, we do not have a current timeframe for improvements in this regard,” said Garry Sagert, director of UVic Online, in an email interview. So, it looks like we’ll have to deal with it for awhile.

The Bad

The finances page only shows the recent activity of a student’s tuition account, and lacks a complete rundown of how much a student is still owing on their account. In addition, some buttons link back to pages on the browser version of My Page, which is a bit of an information overload for a mobile screen.

Worst of all, it seems the new update got rid of the old app’s most important feature: the campus dining feature that told us what was in the caf.

So far, there’s only one official review of the app in the app store.

“The maps and buildings section is good, but should include Food Services information like outlet locations and hours,” said user cjckckjcjcjckckckcjcjkccjcjcj.

In Review

Overall, this version of the app has the potential to really help out UVic students with finding classes, checking (some) finances, and memorizing their timetable, especially at the beginning of the year. However, once the students get that figured out, the events page and important phone contacts list might be the most used features. In that respect, here is a list of apps that would be a lot more useful than an updated UVic Mobile app:

  • A CourseSpaces app
  • An app that tells you how full the bus is
  • A readable version of My Page on the mobile browser version
  • Anything else ever
  • Here’s the good news: UVic actually plans to address suggestion number three.
  • “There is a project underway which should make the mobile browser version of My Page more readable on smaller screens, with the go-live in mid-November,” said Sagert. “However, this will not improve student registration on mobile devices. We are expecting to launch mobile improvements to the course registration portion of My Page sometime next year.”

    Why this has taken so long, one can’t be sure, but at least your children will be able to see their whole My Page on their phone by the time they graduate.

    To see what all the fuss is about, you can download UVic Mobile for iPhones from the iTunes Store, or for Android at the Google Play Store.