MyState updates streamline ISU campus navigation

Jasmine Schillinger

Editor’s note: The MyState app includes a news section with content from the Iowa State Daily. Because the app has many other benefits to ISU students, the Daily decided it was necessary to inform our readers about it.

The ISU MyState app has been updated and made faster and smoother for convenience.

The original app started off as a college of engineering development team project and kept growing and evolving, but was never as efficient as it could have been, said Travis Ballstadt, digital media coordinator for the College of Engineering. During the rebuilding of the app, the college of engineering partnered with Information Technology Services.

Once Apple released iOS7, the College of Engineering development team decided it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the new features Apple was offering.

“There are a lot of major changes in this update that the user will hopefully never even notice,” Ballstadt said. “It’s a lot of behind the scenes alterations. Instead of loading a web page and pulling the information from that, we have direct connection to the database.”

Members of the development team agreed that the update is a much better experience compared to the old app. Ballstadt said Information Technology Services has been “an important part of the development process” during the rebuilding of the app.

“The old app was functional but we felt we could improve,” said Ian Monroe, senior in software engineering. “We wanted to provide reliable and consistent data, a more intuitive interface and a fast, functional application.”

Monroe worked with the original iOS developer to build an Android counterpart from the ground up. He also contributed by programming and implementing the map and CyRide features.

As far as changes users will physically notice, Ballstadt said they have added the Next Bus feature for CyRide.

“It was one of our main goals,” Ballstadt said. “Now you’re able to see where the buses are in real time and when they’ll be arriving.”

For future improvements, the members of the development team are trying to implement a customizable feature for users to modify their personal bus schedules, but that is still a work in progress.

Users will notice that the dining and laundry features have temporarily been taken off the app.

This is because ISU Dining is completely recreating its website to make it easier for students to use and the residence halls are updating their hardware, Ballstadt said. These features will be returning to the app.

The overall goal for this app is to make ISU students’ lives just a little bit easier.

“The app serves as tour guide while students are on campus,” said Jing Liu, senior in computer science. “We wish that it helps more and more incoming freshmen to get accustomed to their life at Iowa State as quickly as possible.”

Liu contributed to developing the iOS version of the app and fixing any bugs that occurred in the program.

Liu’s favorite feature is the updated directory. This feature allows you to find students’ and staff’s information such as their email, phone number or address that have been given to the university and directly import it into your iOS contact book.

Liu said that way if she loses a classmate’s or friend’s number, she can easily get them back into her phone through the directory feature.

“If you used the app before the update, it’s really easy to tell how much quicker and smoother the features have become,” said Jacob Kramer, junior in horticulture. “I enjoy the new look of the home screen and how they designed the photo stream.”

The photo stream feature connects to a database where students and staff can upload pictures of campus.

With more than 10,000 Apple users updating the new version of the app, it makes Ballstadt and all the development team very proud of their hard work.

“We really are students wanting to help students,” Monroe said. “It shows in the amount of thought and work we put into the application.