Wired for engagement – the Schoolwires blog

Websites not mobile-friendly can expect 60% less visitors

Posted by Debbora Woods on 4/17/15 11:00 AM


Have you heard? Websites that are not mobile-friendly can expect to receive 60% less visitors starting April 21.


Why? Google is making mobile-friendliness a ranking signal so all search results are optimized for all devices. That means if your K-12 families or community members are searching for your district or school websites on a smartphone or tablet, and you don't have a mobile-friendly responsive site, your K-12 websites won't appear in their search results.


But don't worry! We have you covered with mobile solutions that please all your audiences, even Google.

Download Free Infographic >>


Topics: Responsive Web Design, K-12 Websites

Does your K-12 district need a responsive website AND a mobile app?

Posted by Debbora Woods on 7/24/14 9:00 AM


If you’re like many K-12 district leaders we’ve chatted with, you struggle with whether your district and schools should design a responsive website that works across multiple devices – such as desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone – or focus on building a branded, native mobile app. It can be a difficult choice to make, but here’s something to consider. Two very popular social media sites, Facebook and LinkedIn, feature responsive websites that render well on multiple devices. And millions of their users choose to access their accounts via their mobile apps too because it’s quicker and easier to get the information they’re looking for while on the go. Both options are important and available to their users.

The truth is your district has different audiences that access your website content for a multitude of reasons. For example, internally you have various website content editors, such as teachers and school administrative assistants, who update their web pages on a daily basis in order to keep parents and students informed with announcements, events, homework assignments, test dates, etc. Externally you have community members who may be new families looking for the right school for their child – yours, of course! Or, voters that you want to update on the latest bond needing their support. In essence, they are all your “consumers” needing access to your content. So in this constantly connected world, what do consumers say about their web browsing experiences on mobile?

According to this Google blog post:

  • 67% of website users state, “A mobile-friendly site makes me more likely to buy a product or use a service.”
  • And 61% state, “If I don’t see what I’m looking for right away on a mobile site, I’ll quickly move on to another site.”

Let’s stick with this “consumers” analogy for a bit. As mentioned above, you have internal and external consumers as unique audiences with diverse needs. Here’s how both a responsive website and a branded mobile app provide the access to your website information that they need…

Native Mobile App. A native mobile app is software developed specifically for mobile devices that users download from an app store, like iTunes or Google Play, and install it on their mobile device. Your district serves loyal “customers,” also known as parents, students, teachers, and staff, who want to be able to quickly access the information that’s important to them while they’re on the go, such as school closings, weather notices, and more. A mobile app keeps your district family informed and up-to-date with alerts and access to information from their smartphones. And, the Schoolwires Mobile Communications App allows your website content editors to update and publish content straight from their smartphones, including photos, podcasts, alerts, and more!

Responsive Web Design. In order to capture the attention of your entire audience and give them an optimized experience no matter what device they’re on, a responsive website delivers. Want to grab the attention of new families or potential staff in your district and ensure they have complete access to the information they need, no matter what device they’re on? A Schoolwires Responsive Web Design displays properly on any device or screen size and helps to promote your district’s brand.

As you can see, both options play a critical and different role in your district’s mobile strategy. So, why choose between one or the other? Consider both to provide the ultimate user experience! Check out our latest informational document hot off the press this week: Why your district needs a Responsive Web Design AND a Mobile Communications app.

Topics: K-12, Mobile Communications App, Responsive Web Design

Mobility Series: Part 3 – Don’t Settle When Choosing Engagement Sol'ns

Posted by Debbora Woods on 7/8/14 9:00 AM


This is the final post on our Noblesville Schools story. We definitely saved the best info for last!

So, did they find that perfect mobility package they needed for K-12 community engagement? We can answer with a resounding, YES! The third website and mobile solution was the charm. Here are just a few of the results the district is ecstatic about:

  • They’ve received numerous compliments on their responsive website
  • Site traffic is averaging nearly 120,000 views per month on the main page – with no stability issues
  • Staff members whose trust and confidence were lost due to past issues from previous providers love how easy it is to manage their content
  • They can proudly say they are among the first in Indiana to have their own school mobile app available on both Apple and Android devices

Noblesville Schools is coming up on their one-year anniversary with Schoolwires. Teachers are sharing content with parents and students through their teacher pages. Students and parents are downloading the mobile app to stay informed and engaged with their schools and the district. And the community comments about how they love the new solutions and how easy it is to find the information they need, when they need it. It just doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Want to learn more about our “mobility” solutions for your K-12 community? Visit our website today>>

Topics: K-12, Mobile Communications App, Community Engagement, Mobility, Responsive Web Design, Communications

Mobility Series: Part 1 - Challenges On The Journey

Posted by Debbora Woods on 7/1/14 9:00 AM


Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Andy Swickheimer, Director of Technology, and Michele Turner, Data Integration Manager, from Noblesville Schools in Indiana. We spoke about the importance of “mobility” – not physical movement, but ensuring web content is mobile device "friendly" for K-12 districts.

The district has been on an interesting journey over the past several years searching for the perfect solution for communications and community engagement. They shared with me the challenges they faced with previous websites – maybe some of these sound too familiar to you?

  • Significant downtime with websites often crashing due to traffic volumes
  • Slow hosting because of hardware and server issues
  • Vendor was bought out by another company that no longer supported their website
  • Unable to translate languages to accommodate the diverse demographics of their community
  • >Website content was text-heavy since systems couldn’t house engaging photo content

Their story doesn’t stop here. They also shared the goals Noblesville leadership has to provide a forward-looking communications and community engagement solution to their K-12 students, parents, and staff. Here’s a sneak peek – there was a focus on mobility, especially since they are an eLearning and 1:1 district. Their goals will be covered in our next blog post, so make sure you come back to learn more!

In the meantime, visit our mobile solutions Web page to learn more about our Mobile Communications App and Responsive Web Designs for K-12 school districts.

Topics: Mobile Communications App, Community Engagement, Mobility, Responsive Web Design, Communications, Website Hosting

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