Reading this on an iPhone? Consider going to the App Store icon and downloading the new free BU Today News & Events app.
The app offers current and archived campus news, feature stories, and multimedia content from BU Today. It includes the University events calendar, social-media sharing of articles, and other features, among them comments on stories and BU Alerts about campus emergencies. And it’s optimized for fast downloading and improved presentation on the small screen.
“We want to make sure that people always have instant access to news and information coming out of Boston University, whether it’s about weather delays, arts and culture, athletics, or research breakthroughs,” says Stephen Burgay, BU senior vice president for external affairs. “This app gives people that access in a way that’s simple, easy, and portable. We hope the BU community likes it and uses it.”
Jon Brousseau (CFA’08) and Dakota Chichester, associate creative directors in BU’s Marketing & Communications (MarCom) Interactive Design, created the app over the last year with help from Robert Fera (CAS’12), Raymond Swartz, and Inderpreet Singh of Information Services & Technology.
Focusing only on BU Today content allowed them to deliver “a much more targeted, rich experience for the user,” says Brousseau. “This is our first fully customized, ground-up experience with an app. We built this from scratch.”
The creators hope that the app will be used not just by students, faculty, and staff, but also by parents and alumni who want to keep up with what’s happening on campus. “It was aimed at an audience that extends beyond the borders of the campus,” Chichester says.
The existing BU Mobile app—which includes some BU Today content as well as transportation information, the BU directory, course descriptions, and other information—continues to function. That app was created a few years ago, “in a time when the kitchen-sink approach was common for apps,” says Brousseau. “That means we had a lot of services in the original application, meshed into one. The general trend for applications has been to become more focused, and we recognized the benefit in being able to target our audience in a more focused way.”
More stand-alone apps are likely coming in the future, he says.
Although iPhones still predominate on campus, Android use continues to grow. Creating a version of the app for that platform seems to be a question of when, rather than if, says Brousseau.
Users of iPhones can download the new app here.