App to make ‘Rutgers Day’ navigation easier
Navigating the campus on the sixth annual “Rutgers Day,” which which sees one of the largest crowds on campus, is expected to get easier as most attendees will now have a smartphone app in their pockets
The official “Rutgers Day” companion app is now available for download for iOS and Android. It will provide visitors with an extra tool that should make accessing the campus on “Rutgers Day,” which is on April 26, easier than ever, said Patricia Kastner, senior public relations specialist at the University.
The app displays a map of the Rutgers campuses and drops pins to show where different “Rutgers Day” activities are taking place. A small pop-up appears next to each item and offers more information when a user taps a small info button. The app takes the location of the user into account, and can provide directions to and from different activities.
“By knowing where everything is, anyone who attends ‘Rutgers Day’ will have an easier time making plans,” Kastner said.
The app can also help visitors find parking and the locations of the various inter-campus shuttles that will be operating that day.
Vivek Seth, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, said a smartphone app is the best possible way to enable easy experiences for “Rutgers Day” visitors.
“When people are walking around ‘Rutgers Day’ they aren’t going to be carrying around laptops,” he said. “They’re going to be carrying their phones.”
Seth, who worked on the iPhone version of the application, said this was not his first time working on an iOS app.
Working with the University on an official app was different than any of the eight to 10 apps he already created.
Kastner said attendance for this year’s “Rutgers Day” is expected to top 85,000.
Seth said the opportunity to create an application that even a fraction of those people might use is too good of a learning experience to pass up.
Brendan Parks, a School of Arts and Sciences junior who developed the Android version of the app, shares that sentiment. Unlike Seth, Parks said he has little experience working on mobile software platforms.
“Developing for Android was actually really educational. It was a huge learning experience, and I think it’s paved the way for me to become a full-time Android developer,” Parks said.
Kastner said the student developers of the Rutgers Mobile App Development club, or RuMAD, did a great job with every aspect of the app — from client relations to meeting deadlines to the more technical aspects.
“It gave an opportunity for the students to work on a more professional level, and it allowed us to learn on both sides,” Kastner said. “Students were very easy to work with and they did great work.”
Parks and Seth said RuMAD had an easy time working with faculty as well, and although the faculty did not have the technical background, they were open to the students’ ideas.
Seth said the app’s design was a very iterative process.
“We had something we really liked at first, but then realized it wasn’t so great,” he said. “We tweaked it here and there, trying the best we could to make the [user interface] as consistent as possible.”
The result is an app that follows design guidelines for both iOS and Android with a modern look and feel.
A search for “Rutgers Day” in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store will return the app.
Neelesh Takal contributed to this story.
Tyler Gold is a junior studying ITI at Rutgers. You can follow him on Twitter @tylergold.