Campus Recreation Software – 5 Features to Look For When Choosing a Provider

When it comes to finding the right campus recreation software solution, the selection process can seem a bit daunting. To aid in this decision-making process, below are five key features to look for when your recreation department is ready to find the right software package to increase efficiency and overall student experience.

  1. Integration with Best-of-Breed Systems on Campus. Make use of existing software investments by choosing campus recreation software that integrates with best-of-breed systems already on campus, such as your card system, intramural software, or accounting software. Don’t sacrifice your accounting software investment, for example, by selecting a new software solution that lacks compatibility. Select a solution that is compatible and allows you to have one integrated system that effectively manages all programs, revenues and facilities. Integrating with best-of-breed systems alleviates duplicate entries and records.  
  2. Customizable Reports. A campus recreation software system will capture a lot of information about who is using your facility, when, where and how. Make sure that this information can be exported into a report that will help your department make informed decisions and achieve its goals. Every campus is unique in their reporting needs, and that’s why it is essential that the software package you select offers customizable reporting and data output options to meet the needs of each of your constituents. Without customized reporting options built into the software solution, the responsibility of pulling specific data relies on savvy IT departments, assuming they have specific training or Crystal licensing, for example, and this translates to a time-consuming process for IT personnel. Look for a software solution that provides you with powerful, flexible and in-depth reporting tools with multiple filters, flexible formatting, unlimited customization, mail merge, multiple export formats, and more. You’ll be able to make faster, more informed decisions and view only the information you want, when you want it.  
  3. Hosted Internet Registration and Payment Processing Options. You’ve invested a great deal to provide quality facilities and programs to your students. Further increase student satisfaction by providing a convenient online registration process. To facilitate this initiative, consider a software provider that offers Hosted Internet Registration and Payment Processing, also known as a Software-as-a-Service model. This means that the software provider hosts and manages your data off-premise so that you don’t have to invest the time and money required if doing it yourself. Self-hosting online registration means having to invest in additional payment servers, back up servers, and setting up security and firewalls. Selecting a campus recreation software provider who offers hosted technology means low upfront costs and faster implementation.  
  4. Integrated Payment Processing. Having a campus recreation software solution that integrates with your payment processing system means that reduced errors and paperwork. As a busy campus recreation center, it’s important to have one integrated system to avoid double-entry and reconciliation, balancing between multiple systems, ensure tighter security, and pull accurate reports. Also, with online registration and integrated payment processing, it’s important that your campus recreation software solution ensures your compliance with PCI (Payment Card Industry) and Payment Application Best Practice (PABP) standards.  
  5. Ease of Use. Software usability is extremely important, particularly at campuses where the skills of computer users vary greatly. Consider multilingual and American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant software to meet the existing needs of your many students. Whether it’s “customer-facing” documents to print receipts, contracts, reports and registration confirmations in a variety of languages or enabling visually-impaired or ESL users to use your software system, look for a software package that offers true ease-of-use through its accessibility options for everyone.

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6 Tips to Enhance Your Brand Reputation Through Social Media

Whenever you start your new product or service and want to sell, gain subscribers, persuade followers to a point or sway the hearts and minds of readers to your cause your customers need to know you at the first place. To do so you need to have a brand image and you can encourage your brand only through its authority.

Creating brand awareness could be a foundation stone of successful marketing. To do so social media is used as rapidly evolving ideal messengers. Now it’s on you how you merge your product & services with effective social media strategy. In fact, recent reports shows that 71% of brands are planning to invest much more in social media in the coming year to get new followers and to do brand reputation.

Below are the facts which will help you to improve your brand reputation through social media

1. Choose a social platform which supports your product image

In facts 30% of the Indians and Americans use social media multiple times in a day. This makes social media one of the best ways to promote your product & services but there are 100 of social networking platforms so you have to choose wisely because most of them are not worth investing your time and energy. So find the best suited social platform which suits your brand. I would suggest that Facebook presence is vital. But when your product or service lends itself to visual displays, an Instagram or Pinterest setup is just as important.

2. Create social media strategy and keep up your social presence

After choosing the best suited social media platform you need to create a strategy. The first step is selecting the target audience who needs your product and can support your brand. Now you can start interacting with them.

3. Develop & provide excellent, valuable and sharable content.

Valuable content which your customers & viewers want to read and share can make a better & stronger image of your brand so do not share the content just to complete your publication calendar. Every word of content you share should support your brand reputation. On these platforms a brand promotion fails only when you are not able to keep interest of your viewers in your content & image sharing. Your content with “buy me” message can irritate your viewers but an informative post can give you more user engagement. Perform a A/B testing to figure out which type of content is getting more visibility and user engagement on your social platform. Share visual content because an article with images receives 90% more views. Twitter content with pictures receives nearly double as several views as text posts, although there are seven times added text posts on Twitter.

4. Leverage influencers.

Publishing great content to your social profiles is important, but it’s only a part of the equation. If you’ve got a comparatively unknown brand, your voice is probably going to induce lost within the noise. While you may ultimately build your own viewers through the sharing of nice content, this approach can take time. A far quicker approach is to influence the viewers of well-known consultants in your business. A way to do to so is using their names or referring their websites while sharing the content.

5. Use social campaigns to promote content.

We are in the era of diminishing organic reach and paid marketing so to build your social network you need to run paid campaigns through native advertising platforms. We can generate more lead and can increase our visibility through strategic contests and social media campaigns. To take advantage of this impact, give your viewers with valuable incentives that persuade user engagement and make sure that your campaigns offer value to all or any participants.

6. Don’t forget its social networking.

Respond to your audience as you respond to your friends on Facebook reply on their comments, follow-up on queries and mention their name so they can know about your response this will help you to build relationship with users.

Yeah! Everyone knows that it’s a time-consuming process but if you do it properly and give it priority and continuously do all tasks like proper sharing of content, media and influence the power of existing influencers, your brand building efforts are going to pay off in the long-run.

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Is Mobile Right For Your Business?

My first forray into the world of mobile app development was around 2010. A friend of mine had been in this business sector for several years and thought it might be a new possibility, as I looked to switch up my skillset from music.

Right off the bat, let me tell you that I am a pseudo-gamer. I enjoy my fair share of Facebook, online browser-based and iOS apps. As I learned how to apply my love of writing into the world of Google, I have had the privilege of seeing how an app is developed from the idea stage to completion.

The economy is starting to bounce back. Smartphones and tablets are in an “arms race” to create the lightest, most pixel-rich and longest lasting devices for retail consumption. As a large or small business owner, plotting the growth of your organization is the difference between record profits or laying off staff.

Going mobile is a strategy that can produce additional revenue, reduce down time, enhance employee productivity and work as a way of communicating new sales or events happening at your location.

Once you’ve decided to explore having a mobile app created for your business, you’ll need to have some criterion for the firm you choose to hire. On the small business level, budgets are always a concern.

How Badly Does Your Business Need To Be On The Mobile Frontier?

There are lots of different ways to position your business in the mobile/online sphere. The more bells and whistles you want the smartphone app to offer, the more time it will take to create, as well as money needed to ensure everything is working correctly. If you feel that it is important for your company to take the next step, you’ll need to set aside a decent budget to make it a reality. After all, this app will be promoting your brand and you definitely want to launch with the best foot forward.

How Many Developers Live In Your Area?

It’s not necessarily a slam dunk that you should hire a local developer. However, it is a nice option to consider because you can meet them face-to-face and get familiar with their mannerisms.

The benefits of hiring a local mobile app developer include:

  • Keeps your investment dollars in the local economy
  • You can meet them in person and ask lots of questions
  • If there is an emergency or major problem, you can go to their office

It’s important to know the developers body of work before meeting with them to discuss your ideas. If you look at their graphics and aren’t impressed, you might consider other options. There is some truth in the fact that functionality sometimes is more important than the graphics style, but at the end of the day, you really want to be happy with the way the smartphone app looks and feels. The graphics should be pleasing to you and the bugs should all be sorted out beforehand.

Looking at a development firm’s client list can help you form an opinion about their track record and if they can handle your needs. Sure, you might be able to find that diamond-in-the-rough developer that will work on a small budget for the opportunity to showcase what he can do, but do you really want to risk your brand in that way? There’s no wrong answer to this question, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

How Long Will The App Take To Develop?

If time is of the essence, your best bet is going to be hiring a firm that has enough employees that can handle the load. If it’s a rush job, it will cost you a lot more to complete. You will also run the risk of having unforeseen technical glitches (aka “bugs”) occur, due to the lack of proper time to test. It’s been said before that you can’t rush greatness and if you can give the developers a long amount of time, they can produce an amazing product and meet your deadlines.

If you are meeting with a developer that doesn’t have a formulated template for how they will complete each task, consider not using them for this project. This is extremely important and needs structure.

Innovation Workshops, Brainstorming and Ideation Sessions, Process Flow Development, Joint Design Sessions, Task Optimization, Concept Sketches, Iterative Modeling, Low/High Fidelity Prototypes and Test Design are just some of the terminology that you should be hearing, when discussing details of your app.

How Many Developers Are Employed At This Firm?

Knowing if there will be a team of developers working on your app will give you the peace of mind that you need, in order to feel confident about your first foray into the mobile universe. If there is one developer working on the app, it should not be a deal-breaker, necessarily, but it will give you an idea of the timeframe and what you can expect. Having multiple developers working on different elements of the framework lets you know that the firm you hired is eager to accommodate your requests. In my opinion, it’s always good to have more than one set of eyes on the product. Debating can only make the app look and function better. Dissenting viewpoints breeds creativity and sparks new approaches to problem solving. One developer creates a dictatorship climate and could prove to be more challenging in communicating what your needs are for the app.

I feel that after your initial meetings with the prospective firm, you should have a great sense of ease and eagerness to hire them. Investing anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 on a mobile app is an important decision. You need to feel good about the decision and have sound logic behind the next step.

Obviously, there are dozens of other questions that you can ask the prospective mobile app development firm. This is just a tip of the iceberg. If you are considering having a mobile app created for your organization, I hope you will find this article helpful and a nice primer to get your creative juices flowing.

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Top 5 Room Escape Games for iDevices

If you’re like me, you may have played a lot of room escape games online. But did you know that it’s also a growing trend in the Apple App Store? What’s great about iOs apps, is they can take advantage of the touch, tilt and shake abilities of the devices. Here is a list of some top-quality games you should check out. Many of them are even free.

1. Antrim Escape (1, 2 & 3) By Game Hive Corp.

This is a series of three games, with a possible fourth to come, set in Antrim Castle in Ireland. The first one is the shortest of the three, but definitely worth playing. I found AE2 to be the most challenging of the three, and AE3 the most balanced. These games have High quality retina-optimized graphics and take advantage of the tilt and shake features. When you finish these games, you’ll be wishing for more.

2. Ellie – Help me out…please By Ateam

This game offers a Japanese horror twist to the room escape genre. You are communicating with a little girl through a monitor, and you have to help her escape her cell. There are multiple endings, some good and some bad. So it’s worth playing this game more than once.

3. RoomBreak: Escape Now!! By Gameday

This is for the hardcore room escape players. There are 5 episodes with 5 rooms each, making a total of 25 rooms to escape. Each one has an exhaust meter. If you’re too slow to solve the puzzle, the meter runs out and you have to start the room over. This can be frustrating for most players, but for those who stick with it, it can be a very rewarding experience.

4. Diamond Penthouse Escape 2 By TeraLumina

While not as long or as unique as the other games in the list, Diamond Penthouse Escape 2 is a solid game with logical puzzles and a humorous ending. It’s free and definitely worth your time. Also check out the other games by TeraLumina, such as Haunted House Escape.

5. Escape Game: “The Drifting Locked Chamber” By IDAC CO., LTD.

IDAC is responsible for many room escape games in the app store. They vary in quality, but most are full of challenging puzzles that could stump even the best escapers. I think of the Locked Chamber as one of their better games, as all the puzzles felt logical. Like most IDAC games, it is very linear, but not frustratingly so. If you like their games, you should download AppNavi, which offers many more of their games for free.

If you exhaust these, there are usually new ones out all the time. You could even try for more room escape apps that last about five minutes each. If you’d like to see more details about these games, or read about others, take a look at my List of Escape Games. I even wrote walkthroughs for most of them.

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