Since the school color is red, it’s not a surprise the latest version of a mobile information app for UH students is called Redline. But the ambitious developers — students themselves — also want the name to suggest revving a car engine to its top speed, known as “redlining.”
“When students want to engage with UH, we need to make it as easy, seamless and powerful as possible,” explains Matt Dulin, director of the Center for Student Media, who oversees the development of the UH Redline app with an advisory board that includes students.
“It makes this a one-touch experience, with UH information that much closer and more easily available,” Dulin said. “A student can easily see what event to attend that evening or which organizations to join.”
Dulin says a robust calendar feature on the UH Redline app pulls events from the UH calendar with the option to save the event to the students’ calendars, so they can receive a reminder along with alerts.
“A visual tie on the app links to ongoing events like Frontier Fiesta, homecoming and graduation, and sends alerts,” said Dulin. “An example of an alert might be, ‘Hey, don’t miss Frontier Fiesta that’s happening right now’ or ‘Cat’s Back is happening now, tap here to find out more’. These are not emergency notifications, but promotional messages with the intent of generating an instant response.”
In addition to a calendar feature, alerts, maps and shuttles, UH students have access to The Cougar, COOG Radio and UH social media platforms, says Robert Birkline, the team leader for Business Solutions in Technology Services and Support, who oversees UH student Ryan Thompson in building and updating the UH Redline app.
“Similar to the way UH adopted social media six years ago, we are trying to be in tune with our student population now,” says Birkline. “It’s important for there to be an official mobile application for UH on the students’ smartphones to keep them engaged with student life.” Developed and launched by a UH student-fee-funded initiative within the Student Government Association (SGA), the first phase of the UH Redline app launched in January 2014. The current version launched in February.
Dulin worked with former SGA president Cedric Bandoh, who spearheaded the grant proposal for UH Redline app, on housing the app in the Center for Student Media to keep the focus on UH students and to continue to expand it for future generations.
“We’re committing to an annual update cycle,” said Dulin. “We’re letting the new version of the UH Redline app sit for a short window, but fairly quickly we’ll ask students for feedback to tell us what needs to be fixed and what needs to be improved and refreshed for the next update.”
The latest version of UH Redline can be downloaded for free at uh.edu/redline.