UNA app, new website unveiled during summer

The UNA app for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry smartphone users was launched July 9, in conjunction with the university’s website redesign, launched July 20.

The UNA app, available for free, features sections for student courses, events, quick call numbers, news, a campus map, a student directory, videos, contacts, and athletics.

The app saw record-setting launch download numbers during its first week.

“The first week that we launched we had 2,100 downloads,” said Jeremy Britten, Web communications manager. “The company that produced our app has never seen numbers that big for the first week of a launch, so we’re the record holder for that.”

The app has 3,100 downloads, as of the week of Aug. 6. Britten said he expects downloads to increase with the start of the new school year.

Out of the seven schools currently competing in the Gulf South Conference, UNA is the third to launch a smartphone app, joining Delta State University and West Georgia University.

Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields said he loves the app.

“I think it’s a great and quick way for students to get information,” Shields said. “We’ll continue to have it evolve as students share information about what they want and they give us feedback.”

Students said they have mixed opinions on the app.

“I love the new app,” said senior Abril Agnew. “I like being able to look up people’s emails directly and access my courses.”

Senior Mollie Malone likes being able to access course information, too, but wishes email was available through the app.

“I like being able to see who’s in my classes,” Malone said. “I hated going on Outlook to look up email addresses, so I’m happy that’s on there, but I wish our email was actually on it.”

Email access is the biggest feature students are looking for on the app, but native email apps are much easier to use on each phone, Britten said.

Officer and student Romeo Gillyard said the app is OK, given the fact that it is still in its infancy. He also said there are other things he would like to see added in the future.

“I would like to see a bus tracker,” Gillyard said. “It depends on funding and other logistical things, but it would be cool to see. The app is OK, but if it’s done right, it has the potential to be great.”

UNA’s website was also redesigned and launched on July 20.

“Our hope with the website is that it will be more timely and effective with students,” Britten said. “Our popular links will change based on analytics and what 10 links are being searched for the most.”

Each department will now be responsible for content management and updating their own pages on the site.

“We trained over 100 people on campus as Web Lions this summer,” Britten said. “These people will be responsible in their department for the content on their pages.”

Google Maps visited UNA to map out the campus over the summer, although there has not been a specified launch date set yet, Britten said.

Britten is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to submit their feedback for the app and the website, so that changes and updates can be made accordingly. Britten also encourages the campus to take advantage of the university’s social media outlets, which can be found on the university’s website.