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New app aims to put campus in students’ pockets

New app aims to put campus in students’ pockets

mochilla

New app aims to put campus in students’ pockets
February 29
12:01 2016

Tyler Hicks | Staff Writer

@MightyasaPen

The app market is inundated with dining guides, dating platforms and the latest Flappy Bird knockoff, but a small group of UNT alumni are confident that their creation offers something no other app does.

The app Mochila debuted Jan. 25 after 11 months in the production stage, and its features are all geared toward helping students get the most out of their college experience. Thus far, only six universities are supported, with schools like USC and Cornell joining UNT on the exclusive list.

The team actually collaborated on a similar app back when the iOS software development kit first came out in 2008. At the time, Mochila co-designer Trey Tartt was working solo—until his future Mochila collaborators offered some tips.

“That app was similar to this one, but limited to UNT,” he said. “Adam and James provided some feedback about its features that helped me grow the app.”

Co-creator Adam Selby was still a UNT student when he and fellow designers Tartt and James Cheney started brainstorming the app.

mochilla

Screenshots from Mochila App

With Mochila, students can find the most expedient bus routes, navigate through campus to the correct building and take a peek at the day’s dining hall menu, among other features. If there’s a football or basketball game coming up, game information can be found alongside recent news stories about the team.

In a similar fashion, student events and general campus news can also be found—if it matters to students, it’s in the app.

The group went separate ways after this brief, initial partnership, but they teamed up again just over a year ago, and now they’re in the app business full time.

To them, an integral part of Mochila’s value is how easy it makes everything. In an email, Selby said the app lets students “find the information they need and get back to their lives.”

This simplicity is due in part to the “native experience” offered by the app. While other apps—particularly similar ones—depend on mobile web components, Mochila is a one-stop shop independent of the Web.

mochilla

Screenshots from Mochila app

The team has moved quickly to remedy any kinks in the app’s code.

“A few people have had some issues,” Cheney said, “which we’ve fixed in an update that we have submitted to Apple.”

Tyler Scott, who is in charge of social media and user testing, said he was glad to see the hiccups haven’t kept users from telling their friends about Mochila.

“We’ve already seen students sharing it with their classmates on social media,” he said.

But what does the future hold for this upstart app?

Selby said the team is already working on new additions and expansions and, in keeping with how the Mochila team first came together, they respond to all student suggestions regarding how to improve the app.

Part of this may mean providing information on campus crime. The campus and building maps provided within Mochila could be enhanced by highlighting high-crime areas, alerting students to what areas they may want to avoid at night—or at any time during the day.

If there are improvements that can contribute to a safer campus, Selby said he and his team are all ears, as they are “committed to making the best app possible.”

Featured Image: Courtesy | Mochila

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