Review: OneSchool Unites on iOS, But Doesn’t Go Beyond
This is a guest post by Jesse Langley.
The student-produced OneSchool app touts itself as everything students need on a campus to thrive … and order pizza. The truth is that there are places it goes beyond, but also places where it could go a little further.
Where it succeeds entirely:
OneSchool is seamlessly integrated with Facebook to provide students a place to chat with each other. They can promote club events and group together to attending a football game. The first time you access the Facebook app, it’s slightly disorienting since you’ll have to allow OneSchool permission to run on Facebook. Following that one-time adjustment, it will be a smooth transition.
OneSchool is an almost completely comprehensive app. It has bus routes, a Google Map that shows you locations of local eateries and fast food joints, and bakeries. Just click the food icon, and it will take you to an alphabetized list of places in the area. Click on one of the titles, and you’ll be immediately taken to the Google Map with a pin showing where your destination lies.
If you’re looking for information about a school, the courses section will be your best friend. It’s easy to imagine a freshman panicking and reaching for his phone to find out where his section of art history is located. Students will also get a crazy amount of use out of the Directory and the news section, which is typically linked to a campus newspaper and also allows students to post classified ads of sorts.
The app’s design is unfailingly brilliant. It features a clean interface, and things are spread apart evenly. Even lists look neat, and the creators have realized that smartphone and tablet users would rather flip through a slightly longer list than have to zoom and tap a size 5 font. List items are about as tall as a typical index finger, which allows for easy navigation.
Where it can continue improving:
First of all, let’s be clear: There is no part in which OneSchool fails, only parts that can be improved. The great thing about apps is that they can be updated, changed and re-released. OneSchool is on its way to becoming great. If it continues to improve, it’s likely to become the first thing a student downloads after getting an acceptance letter.
The app shows great promise for an online university that could benefit from having a virtual hub. Bus routes and maps wouldn’t be as vital, but it would be great for students to be able to use the directory, the wall and the courses tabs.
There definitely are places where it needs to go just a bit beyond. The bus routes, for instance, would greatly benefit from a schedule. It’s great seeing the route, but it would be better if students could use the app to know when and where to arrive to a bus stop.
The food directory could similarly benefit from being linked to phone numbers for takeout places. It could be integrated cleanly into the list by a small takeout container symbol that would open the phone number on your dialer just by clicking on it. Sit down restaurants could be left as they are.
In general, the app is amazing for information. If it took things a step beyond and focused on doing things with that information, it could be unstoppable.