Technical Meeting 201113

How to make Informatics services useful by mobile devices

Improving the user experience for both staff and students accessing Informatics services from mobile devices is on the Computing Plan. IS had a pilot App for University services which has now been withdrawn. They are now developing Mobile MyED.

It would be useful to know what users currently do and what they would like to be able to do on their mobile devices. This prompted a discussion as to what is a mobile device. The consensus was that it includes tablets and phones but not laptops as these are catered for already.

Android, iOS and Windows should all be considered.

Alastair has an iPad and a Nexus 7 available for testing.

The following were suggested as services which could be made more accessible from mobile devices.

  • Printing
    • How do we charge?
    • How do we manage authentication?
    • IS have Cloud printing which is authenticated at point of collection.
  • AV
    • Showing presentations from mobile devices will involve intermediary hardware
  • Availability of lab machines
  • Making web site more mobile accessible
    • Is this content reading or generation?
    • Easy to type URLs
    • How easy to see Computing.Help pages -- this was taken into account
    • How easy to see Support Form?
    • MyED not so easy to see
    • Some early web sites render better on mobile devices as they are not so busy
    • Bootstrap is good example of developer software for mobile devices
    • The university proposed CMS replacement, Drupal is being considered with mobile devices in mind
  • Room Booking - could be a dedicated App
  • OpenVPN
    • There are Apps available but where are passwords stored?
  • Virtual Desktop
    • The success of the nx service shows that this is popular
    • VDI - differing from nx as new kvm created not new instance on same kvm. Could be solution to accessing IS labs or working from home but no obvious opensource solution.
  • Chat rooms
    • This raised the question of authentication/identities. It was suggested that each user could have multiple identities eg:
      • Their normal secure identity
      • An admin identity
      • A mobile identity
    • From an infrastructure view, this is doable but the implications would have to be considered.

The question of backups was raised. Is content mastered on a mobile device? iOS would be difficult. Android may not be so difficult as NoMachine may have a solution.

How do we take this forward?

  • Take actions to the operational Meeting
  • How do we find out what people want?
    • These meetings should be open to all interested parties from the School. This also helps us to engage with other groups in the school.

Suggest topics for future discussion

All technical questions can be raised. This meeting is not just for blue sky thinking or brainstorming but more innovation through discussion. (What a mouthful.)

Frequency of meetings

  • Monthly on the 3rd wednesday but probably not in December.

-- LindseyBrown - 20 Nov 2013

Topic revision: r4 - 26 Nov 2014 - 16:21:50 - LindseyBrown
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