By Taylor Rexrode
Every fall, hundreds of freshman and transfer students arrive to Baylor without knowing how to get around campus. With the redesigned Baylor Campus Navigator app, students can know where to go on campus with free, real-time directions from their smartphone.
The most recent version of the app became available April 18. The new features are a scholarship calculator and a phone number section that provides university phone numbers, including those for the Baylor Police Department, ResTech, the Cashier’s Office and Health Services.
The “what’s open” section allows students to see when dining halls, the Student Life Center, Moody Memorial Library, the Bill Daniel Student Center and Robinson Tower are open.
The “what’s open” portion of the app also shows a live countdown of opening and closing times as well as a “notify me” button that notifies users when a location is open.
Students can also read articles from the Baylor Lariat by clicking story headlines that pull full stories from the Lariat website.
Along with the live navigation to buildings on campus, the app also shows students where the closest parking area is to their location. It does not differentiate between areas that require parking stickers or those that are primarily reserved for university faculty and staff.
Houston senior Kyle Martin designed the original version of the app last summer, which included directions to buildings on and off campus related to Baylor.
He said his difficulty finding classes and buildings on campus as a freshman led to the idea of creating the app.
“I’m not very good at directions, so I needed an app back then to help me get around,” Martin said. “I think it will help students become more familiar with campus more quickly, and I think it is going to help students have a better experience at Baylor.”
The app is designed to look similar to the Facebook app with a home screen that shows a list of categories for places to navigate on campus. A swipe to the right reveals a list of features available on the app.
This app is available on iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and 5, as well as iPod touch and iPad. Martin said an Android version is expected to be ready by the end of this summer.
Round Rock senior Matthew Chance, a friend of Martin’s and a contributor to the navigation app, that the fact that the app has several features that are “all-encompassing” makes it useful to new students and visitors, but it would benefit from social connectivity.
“I think the routing is useful for anyone that hasn’t found their way around campus yet,” Chance said. “But I would like to see it bring students together as a connecting agent.”
Martin said that the app will be updated as needed. He said he hopes to include features related to sporting and social events related to Baylor.
Martin said he has been programming since the fifth grade. Despite his experience, he said the design for the app made the project challenging.
“It was difficult trying to understand how people look at the app,” Martin said. “I was really trying to get that user experience to where it takes no more than two ‘taps’ to get to where you want to go.”