What the ASU application lacks

What do you expect when you open a recently downloaded app?

My answer is very simple: self-containment. When I downloaded the Facebook app from the Apple App Store, it was not because I wanted it to give me a link that would open Safari. I wanted to open the Facebook app without the hassle of having to go through my browser.

The opening screen to the ASU app. The opening screen to the ASU app.

That is why I was very surprised to see how the Arizona State University app works. Opening the app, one finds that there are five categories to chose from. Unsuspectingly I opened the very first link, the MyASU link. Having heard that the university invested millions on the easy-to-use, and to-the-point website I was excited to see what was in store on the app.

I had goose bumps as I opened the link in an app to a very expensive website from a university that had an acclaimed engineering college. I was more than curious, I was fascinated, to see what ASU had done to compress all of the processing power of MyASU down to a mobile version. Perhaps pop-up menus? But no! Alas, I nearly cried at the sight of the app closing and Safari opening.

My greatest fear came true: the app had not been self-contained. Instead, it had been a series of links to Safari.

The main navigation screen on the ASU app. The main navigation screen on the ASU app.

As I clicked on each category I saw the horrors in store. Only two of the categories had been entirely self-contained within the Arizona State University app: the directory and the events calendar. The easy-to-use directory only requires that one searches whom they wish to find and the app brings up their department, phone number, email address, and mail code. Way to go ASU! Clicking on the calendar link, one can see events chronologically listed down the page, as far as May of next year.

Unfortunately, the other sections-- campus maps, future students, athletics, library, alumni, sundevils count, and safety alerts-- were not entirely self-contained and lead me to Safari. Because the app is not at least 50% contained, I am forced to award it a 2.8 of 5 rating.

The app is very user-friendly and a great app if you do not want to go through the hassle of bookmarking several pages in your browser. However, the app was not up to par with the reputation I expect for ASU. If the ASU staff were to add a self-contained MyASU link, the rating could easily skyrocket from 2.8 out of 5, to a 4, or maybe even a 4.5.

Best of luck and download wisely.

Reach the columnist at rcalvar2@asu.edu or on Twitter @Professor_Boby.

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