We’re currently working out what kind of features we’d like to present to users (both staff and students) on the up-and-coming mobile portal. At the moment we have the following ideas (in no particular order of priority):
- Contact search – This could possibly be location-based, e.g. “Find all lodge / reception numbers for buildings that are near me”.
- OLIS search – Find a book by title, ISBN etc., and be presented with a map of relevant libraries.
- Emergency contact numbers – e.g. University security services, NHS direct, the OBSU/OUSU Safety Bus, police.
- Wake-on-LAN (WoL) – As part of the University’s Green IT initiative, many departments support WoL to encourage people to turn off their computers overnight. Being able to turn your PC on from your mobile as you enter the building could save Vital Seconds.
- A condensed calendar – With the move to a University-wide calendaring solution we should be able to present a simplified interface to one’s itinerary.
- OUCS service status
- University / departmental news feeds
- Simplified access to the new VLE, WebLearn.
Anything else you’d like to see in that list? A major hurdle we’re still working out how to overcome is the issue of authentication and delegated authority. Some of these ideas (such as WoL, calendaring and the VLE) require the user to authenticate, which they’d either have to do directly (requiring each project to implement a separate mobile interface) or we’d act on the user’s behalf (requiring each service to implement an API for use by the mobile portal). OAuth may not fit the use case exactly as it requires the user to confirm access from the delegated service, which isn’t mobile-friendly.
Thoughts and suggestions welcome!