The LehighU Live app has transformed into the Ellucian-run Lehigh University Mobile App during fall 2019. The goal is to create a more connected campus. (Shana Lichaw/B&W Staff)

Lehigh University Mobile App reinvented to improve success, usability

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The LehighU Live app has transformed into the Ellucian-run Lehigh University Mobile App during the fall 2019 semester. 

Erica Douglas, a senior database analyst at Lehigh, and Ashley Ryan, ’14, a senior developer in web and mobile services, both worked with Library and Technology Services and University Communications to reinvent the success and usage of the app.

Douglas and Ryan said prior to the improved version of the app, most of the app designer’s attention would go towards the upkeep of the app, rather than actual updates. However, the designer was no longer available to keep the app up to date.

“It was a custom-built app that he (the designer) had done,” Ryan said. “A lot of his development time was maintaining the app — updating it to be in compliance with Google’s service terms for the store — for Apple’s as well.”

The solution to this issue was to take advantage of Ellucian GO, a company which offers applications that are able to be customized to various schools’ preferences. 

With Ellucian GO handling the maintenance, there was more time to focus on the app in a different way, Ryan said. 

“So we decided if we use that, then that’s less maintenance time that we have to spend, and then the focus is that we can add functionality in the future,” Ryan said. “You have time to actually work on content, instead of just upkeep.”

Gaby Garcia, ‘23, said she did not experience many troubles with the original LehighU Live app, besides it bringing her back to Safari and opening a new tab.

So far, those in charge of recreating the app have moved all the content of the original app into the newest version. 

Additional updates are in the works, but they may not be available until summer or fall 2020. Student Senate has reached out to the team multiple times with suggestions for the mobile app, and those changes may surface as well.

“Think about all the things you currently do in Banner,” Douglas said. “The intent is that you’re gonna be able to — or they intend to — continuously add that kind of integration into the app.” 

The latest version of the app made slight improvements to its precision, said Mayra Perez, ‘23.

“I actually like it better than the last version, because recently I’ve been using the app every time I get out of work and it’s actually live,”  Perez said. 

Even in its early stages, the app received positive responses, which is a step in the direction that Douglas and Ryan are working towards. 

“There’s a contact section within the new app and people can reach out if they’re any problems,” Ryan said. “We’ve asked people to report any bugs or anything that they find and we haven’t heard anything.” 

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