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MU works to update mobile app, fix bugs

By Cynthia Marcinek
On November 12, 2012

Miami University's iPhone app has been undergoing a makeover. The Miami app, simply called 'Miami University,' includes maps of the campus, sports news, dining menus, a directory and more. However, the app will soon be updated to fix two issues of concern: the sports section and the bus schedule, which have not been operating properly since this past summer.

The free app has been downloaded by almost 22,000 users, and there are approximately 7,000 active users.

With all the construction on Western Drive, students have noticed the changing bus route especially for the Orange and Blue buses.

The change in bus schedules has been detrimental for the app, which is supposed to provide a live bus route and tell students exactly where the buses are and when they will be coming. However, according to Jerry Gannod, professor of computer science and software engineering, this issue will be fixed with the newest update.

The sports section of the app ran into troubles this past summer when Miami athletics changed services. According to Gannod, when Miami athletics failed to inform the app team it broke a large portion of the app, but it was fixed and the changes will be made for their latest release.

Another big change users will notice is the change in the branding. Miami University has recently switched from the lantern as a logo to the block M. The splash screen will also be different; about a week and a half ago students had the opportunity to give input about what they'd like to see, through the Miami University Facebook page.

Gannod is one of the members of the team who developed the app and is working on the new update, which he said will be released around Thanksgiving.

"It takes a couple of weeks to go through Apple, but we'll be submitting it in the next couple of days," Gannod said.

Gannod's team has also been working to get the app released for the iPhone and for Android devices and tablets. He said he hopes these will be available in the spring.

The original idea for the Miami app goes back more than two years; the first version was released in late Nov. 2010. Students also played a role in the creation of the app, Gannod said.

"We wanted to make sure that if we created something that it was designed by the students, the programming for the app was performed by the students from design to rethinking what the functions were all of, that is done by Miami Students," he said.

Sophomore Paige Schmeling has the iPhone app, but said she does not use it very often.

"I don't know how much of the app I currently find relevant to my life," Schmeling said. "I'm looking forward to the new version to come out."

Sophomore Hannah Olenick used the app as a first-year.

"I found the bus schedule part of the app useful," Olenick said. "I can't wait for the live bus schedule to be updated."

There is currently a survey that students can take at where students can talk about what they like about the app, what they use and do not use and what they would like to see in the future from the app.

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