Albion App Focused on Student Needs

First-year Aubrey Hemstreet, sophomore Katie Davis and first-year Caroline Manning (left to right) scroll through the Albion College App.

It’s simple. First, download the Albion College App. Open it up; tap on “Current Student,” “Faculty/Staff” or “Visitor.” Enter your Albion email, your password, your name and your place on the gender spectrum. Respond to a quick verification email and the app is at your whim.

From there, you can tap on a number of icons on the home page –  like “Events,” “ACIS” and “Campus Services” –  to receive updates, contacts and general information. Tap the icon bar at the bottom to access your profile, your calendar and your personal messages from other users. A community feed is also accessed here. It’s a student and staff-only forum in a Yik Yak format with sub-forums like “Buy & Sell” and “Ride Sharing.”

The quick start-up, simple mapping and student relevance of the app was the vision of Albion’s marketing/communication staff. It was why they chose OOHLALA as their developer. It has created apps for over 180 institutions that are customizable, easy to navigate and designed with the students in mind.  Albion’s app was released on Sept. 6. As of Sept. 14, there were over 770 downloads, over half the student population.

“It’s for the students,” said Brian Coon, assistant director of digital media strategy. “It’s made for them. We want to make sure they have everything in one place, and we will continue to improve it daily to make sure that they’re satisfied.”

According to Coon, the app makes it easy to access everything an Albion College student might need. Direct links to ACIS, campus services or course lists make for a quick search. A map can provide first-years, visitors or sleep-deprived upperclassmen a sense of direction. The student feed can create great communication between students, from fun social media-esque posts to a lost and found forum.

Much of the motivation for creating the app stemmed from the fact the college’s website heavily focuses on prospective students, rather than current students.

Communications Professor Andy Boyan set down his cup of orange tomatoes to show me the bottom right corner of the Albion website’s homepage on his office computer’s screen. “How you get to what students use is here. Here’s your email, Courseweb; it’s these little things.” He scribbles his cursor around the number of tiny cluster of purple links, then goes back to the general site. “This isn’t for us.”

Boyan is the self-proclaimed “cheerleader” for the app’s release. Because he teaches a social media class, the marketing/communications department reached out to him to be one of the its testers. He stays active on the app too. Look for his posts; each is a clue that leads to an unknown location. The first to figure out where that location is wins a prize.

Boyan sees the app as a “billboard” for students’ phones. “The Albion app is hopefully going to be really good at getting this [student] community a place to just have stuff,” said Boyan. “The people in my hometown don’t care about the ‘Lost and Found’ but if I lose my ID here, that’s a really important thing.”

A common theme among those involved in the development of the app was student evaluation. Coon said that changes are continuing to be made every day thanks to user advice and concerns.

“We really encourage current students, if they have any ideas or want to see anything added on the app, to please reach out to myself [] or anyone in the marketing/communications department,” said Coon.

He is not bluffing. At the end of our interview, Coon asked me if I had any suggestions for the app. I hoped for a menu to Baldwin, which was something he said students recently asked about. The next day, a link to Baldwin’s menu was on the home page.

What students have to say about the Albion College App

“It brings us closer as a community and it’s a super fun way to connect with other classmates.”

–  Braeden Vandenbelt, first-year from Essexville, Michigan (via Albion’s app)

“It’s got everything that I have eight different apps downloaded for me to deal with.”

–  Connor Healy, sophomore from Troy, Michigan


Photo by Beau Brockett Jr.

To see more articles, check out our link on the Albion College App’s home page.

About Beau Brockett Jr. 76 Articles
Beau Brockett Jr. served on Pleiad staff from Sept. 2015 to May 2019, serving as editor-in-chief his senior year. As of 2019, Beau is continuing his journalism career as the lead reporter for Niles, Michigan, for Leader Publications.

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