Interview Series: Part One – Olaia. School Mobile Apps Expert.

At Greenhouse School Websites, we are proud to consider ourselves a team of experts. We have gurus in design, development, support, and tail wagging… (that one’s Ollie, the office dog).

To help give you an insight into the specialists behind some of the best school websites out there, we are going to be conducting a series of interviews with our  artists, scientists, and counsellors. Not only will this give you a look behind the scenes, it will generate some useful tips for getting the most out of your school website. If you are considering a new website for your school, our interviews will help you make some decisions on what is best for you.

Today’s interviewee is our Mobile app guru, Olaia (pronounced oh-liar!).

Olaia Oramas at Greenhouse School Websites

Olaia. School Mobile App Guru.

Hi Olaia! How are you today?

Peachy! Thanks for asking 😀

What was the first task of the day?
Getting myself some good ol’ tea and get those school apps rolling.

Okay, first let’s clear something up, please explain for the readers: What is the difference between a smartphone friendly website and a mobile app?
A smartphone friendly site displays the entire website in a compact and easy to navigate format for mobile devices. Freeing users from the task of zooming in and out and having to slide the screen around to view all the content. You access the website on your phone by searching in your browser. Whereas an app is available on the app store, and is a tool that puts the most parent-relevant school information at a button tap reach. Parents can access the app via a home screen icon for quickly checking news and diary dates amongst others and, most importantly, get push notifications from the school.

What are the main reasons schools ask for an app? The notifications? The “prestige”?
Getting the app automatically grants bragging rights, but I’d say schools are most interested in the push notifications. This feature allows them to send alert messages to different groups parents can subscribe to. Forget about SMS.

What mistakes do you see school staff make when considering a mobile app?
Mistaking the app for a smartphone friendly version of their site. Remember the app is a platform for the most relevant information of your school.

Olaia Oramas. Mobile App Guru

Olaia tests every app thoroughly to make sure they are just perfect.

Simple question now, how much does it cost for a school to get an app from Greenhouse School Websites?
If you have a website with us, for a primary school, the app is a one off £595. Secondary school apps are a one off £795. If you don’t have a website provided by us and would just like an app, there is an annual fee of £195 for hosting and license to use our amazing and easy to use CMS to manage the app.

How long does it take?
The process typically takes around six weeks from start to finish.

Once the app is published, what happens regarding managing the content?
Luckily for the school staff, managing the app content has never been so easy. Any changes done on the site (news, newsletters, diary dates…) will automatically be reflected on the app. How cool is that?

What can schools do to really get the most out of our apps?
Use the push notifications! Remind parents of that Year 2 Swimming at 6pm, the parent’s evening at 7pm or that next Friday the school is closed.

Do you come across many misconceptions?
Lots of people think that apps are expensive. I am sure you could find someone to charge you tens of thousands, but many schools using our apps find that the savings on post and time, with free push notifications ends up offsetting the cost.

Do you have any favourites or proud moments that you would like to share? I know you’re quite the artist.
Well, don’t tell anyone, but I love when the schools tell me they love the app design. Hehe 🙂

Olaia Oramas at Greenhouse School Websites

I love when the schools tell me they love the app design!

What kind of schools or situations would benefit most from a mobile app from Greenhouse School websites?
A lively school with lots of activities going on! They can quick and easily share all the information and updates with their selected parent group.

Finally, here’s your chance to freestyle. Give me a couple of lines on what’s great about our apps.
Our apps are a great tool to keep the parents aware of what’s going on in their kid’s school in the easiest of ways. Keep parents in the loop!

Thank you Olaia! That was great, which school’s app are you working on next?
That would be Notre Dame R.C. Girls’ School In Southwark. I love their logo, is very nice and colourful, so I’m going to use it as inspiration for their app. 😀

Okay great, I will let you get on with it. Thank you for your time.
You are welcome, looking forward to the next interview in the series!

That concludes part one of the expert interview series. Next time, we will be speaking to Ray, our senior designer. In the meantime, if there’s anything not covered here, or you’d like to get underway with an app for your school, just contact us. We would love to hear from you.