Technology, Communications Revamp PA Mobile Website

Athletics calendars and Paresky Commons menus are only a finger tap away for Andover smart phone users thanks to recent improvements to Andover’s mobile website. On February 8, Andover’s Office of Communications and Office of Technology jointly unveiled the site’s updated features and new, “mobile friendlier,” design. The changes to the site were implemented to give alumni, faculty, parents and current and prospective students easier mobile access to information about Andover. Mobile users can now directly access campus news, athletic calendars, weekly Paresky Commons menus, visitor information and alumni reunion information. The mobile site also links to the school’s photo galleries, videos and various social network accounts. The display also includes a “Donate” button, allowing donations to the school to be made instantaneously. The site’s information is now organized behind large icons intended to facilitate touch-screen browsing. The school initially launched its mobile site in May 2010. In January, a focus group of web designers and several student ambassadors met to brainstorm changes to the site that would be the most beneficial to the entire Andover community. The group agreed that the addition of an athletic calendar would be the most useful, not only to students but also to parents and alumni. The Office of Communications took to Andover’s social networks, including the school’s Facebook page, to spread news of the site’s relaunch, according to Tracy Sweet, Director of Communications. Before the improvements, the site received 10 to 20 views per day, according to Stephen Porter, Director of Public Information and Web Publishing. On February 10, after the Facebook post and a mention in the school’s e-newsletter, the mobile site received 650 views. The site is now getting over 250 views a day, according to Porter. “The word is out now, and people are beginning to use the site” said Porter. Development on the site started over the summer when designers from Andover’s Technology Office began looking at the mobile pages of various colleges, according to Porter. After reviewing the mobile sites of Boston University, Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Notre Dame, the designers decided to adapt Andover’s site for use on a smart phone display. According to Sweet, one concern of those involved in the site’s update was that it would be mistaken with iAndover, the mobile application created in September 2011 by Makenzie Schwartz ’14 and Gregory Hosono ’14. The iAndover app similarly offers users access to athletic calendars, campus news and Commons menus, in addition to a campus map and The Weekender, Andover’s weekend event schedule. However, Sweet said, “It seemed like [Schwartz and Hosono] had ideas that were geared toward current students, really useful for students that are here now, while the mobile website is geared more toward the broader public.” The school’s mobile website began as a spin-off of a mobile site designed specifically to coordinate alumni reunions. The reunion site was introduced in June 2009 and marked the Andover’s first venture into mobile communication. Andover’s mobile website can be accessed at