Yes, an app. I've never really stepped out of the realm of web design, so when myself and the developers heard that we were going to be making an app, I knew I would be up for a challenge. The only thing was, it really wasn't a challenge. It was more of a fun experiment that turned into something great.
About the App
The RMU Mobile app project started as a blank canvas. We had just heard word that we needed to create an app for the students of Robert Morris University, but had no real idea on how or what to do.
As a group, management, the developers, and I sat down to brainstorm. What is really important to students attending the university? We came up with a list of features, which gave us a direction to move towards. That was great for the developers, as they knew what features they had to work on, but it was a little bit of a struggle for me. I never had experience with designing apps and I had to find a way to marry together all the features within the app. I was off to the drawing boards...
I spent time analyzing apps from other school's (I'm surprised my iCloud account didn't hit it's limit with how many apps I had downloaded). Launch after launch after launch, I couldn't find any app that I truly fell in love with. It was apparent to me that most schools had contracted their mobile apps as they all began to look the same.
Building the app in-house had one great advantage: freedom. Since I couldn't find any education apps that caught my attention, I just began to examine regular apps. I started to morph together a concept of what I had wanted to create. The only problem was that we were on a tight timeline and I had to design an app for both iOS and Android, neither of which I had ever done before.
I had previously had some experience with iOS development from an undergraduate course I had taken, which turned out to be extremely helpful. I opened Xcode, created a blank project, and began to experiment with development (yes, development) and design. I had many days where I hated everything that I came up with, but I knew I couldn't let that stop me.
I continued with my experiment and eventually created the RMU Mobile app that is on the App Store and Google Play store today. I developed the entire iOS shell for the app, got it working in development and then knew that I had to focus on Android. Working with one of the other developers, we were able to figure it out and marry the experience on both platforms. The outcome is better than I originally anticipated.