Arkansas Education Association Provides Mobile-First Communication

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (PRWEB) NOVEMBER 14, 2017

The Arkansas Education Association (AEA), in partnership with 14 Oranges, has launched their new website and mobile app. The website and powerful smartphone app uses 14 Oranges’ Info Grove self-managed software, allowing association staff to reach their member base in a convenient fashion.

 

Mobile App & Mobile-Responsive Website

 

The mobile-responsive website and mobile app connects professionals, educators, and students to industry related news and events. The decision to build a mobile-responsive website along with the app provides members with a complete mobile-first communication platform. The app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play Store to the more than 10,000 members of the AEA and the general public.

“Our members are increasingly using smartphones to access the internet and we wanted to ensure they can learn more about the Arkansas Education Association in a clean and easy to use app and website,” says AEA President Cathy Koehler. “We are a membership driven organization, and it is incredibly important for us to keep members informed and make sure they know how to contact us.”

The app includes information about member benefits, including discounts available to AEA members, detailed contact information for AEA staff and field representatives, as well as a way for educators to join the association online.

“We hope these features will help us show the incredible value of AEA membership,” Koehler says. “Users will also be able to read the Arkansas Educator, a recently redesigned member magazine highlighting the incredible things our members do for their students every day.”

 

Mobile App for Member Engagement

 

Members of the AEA can now view industry related information on the platform of their choice; whether on a desktop computer or a smartphone, members can access virtually all content at their convenience. The dual-handed approach gives members the ability to choose their preferred method of communication, either with emails that link to the website or push notifications that link to the app.

The app, which connects members to information about advocacy issues, events, and news, provides certain content with or without an internet connection. Offline support means that members can get access to some of the information without worrying about a wifi connection or data usage.

 

 

Software-as-a-service model (SaaS)

 

There are several features that set the AEA app apart from other apps, explains Sylvain Marcotte, CEO and founder of 14 Oranges. “The AEA app follows the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, meaning the app is more than a one time product,” Marcotte says. “14 Oranges maintains the iPhone and Android apps on behalf of the AEA as Apple and Google release the latest operating systems and devices.”

The service stands out with two main features. The first is a targeted push notification service. Targeted notifications allow app administrators to push information directly to the smartphones of their members with the goal of having members perform real-world actions to the benefit of their organization, such as signing up for memberships or registering for an event. The push notifications can be highly targeted and sent based on a member’s geographic location or personal interests.

“AEA has served as the voice of public education for nearly 150 years, and in today’s political climate, it is incredibly important for our members to make their voices heard,” President Koehler says. “These targeted notifications will offer a new way to engage educators as our legislature develops and discusses laws affecting public education.”

The second is a self-service web interface for updating content by the customer. With the backend content management system (CMS), the AEA does not have to come back to 14 Oranges to update content in the app, saving them money and time. 14 Oranges’ user-friendly CMS, which follows similar guidelines as the WordPress web platform, was designed for non-technical staff to make changes in the app with ease.

“In addition to the cost savings, we won’t have to wait for an outside company to make time for adjustments,” President Koehler says. “This will allow us to share important information with members right away, and make sure the site stays up to date.”

 

 

Cross-Platform UI/UX Design

 

AEA members can use the app on all major devices, including iPhones, Androids, iPads, and other tablets. Also, the app supports push notification delivery to all major smartwatches.
“Together AEA members work to make public education excellent in Arkansas,” President Koehler says. “We are excited to offer these new tools to connect with our members, and are excited to see how they use them to increase student success.”

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The Arkansas Education Association is a professional organization for teachers, education support professionals, students, and advocates. The fundamental objective is to work for improved salaries, benefits, and working conditions for all education professionals, as well as for the betterment of the Arkansas State education system.
For more information contact:
Kyle Leyenberger, Communications Specialist, AEA
(501) 375-4611 (x117) kleyenberger@aeanea.org

Info Grove Mobile Apps

 

Info Grove acts as an outbound communication platform. Primarily used by member-based organizations, the self-managed app software allows administrators and other non-technical staff to change and add content without going back to 14 Oranges. Info Grove follows similar guidelines to WordPress and 14 Oranges ensures the platform is as user-friendly as possible. Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps!

 

Info Grove mobile apps

Michigan & Missouri Education Associations Launch New UI/UX

Event app

The Michigan and Missouri Education Associations, in partnership with 14 Oranges, has released their new and improved mobile apps. Members of both associations will notice the apps have been updated to meet the latest system offerings by Android and iPhone. Before, members of both associations had a different user-interface (UI) depending on their device, either Android or iPhone. Using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove Platform, the cross-platform UI design will now provide users on both devices with the same user-experience (UX).

 

OLD Android UI/UX: Missouri (left) and Michigan (right)
OLD iPhone UI/UX: Missouri (left) and Michigan (right)

 

Android users will notice the biggest changes, as they no longer have a “hamburger menu” to navigate between app content. iPhone users, who formerly had a condensed grid that required swiping between pages, now have all buttons located on the main home screen. 

New Missouri Education Association Mobile Interface
New Michigan Education Association Mobile Interface

 

 

Members of the Michigan and Missouri Education Associations will spend less time swiping between pages and searching for information and more time engaging with content. But most important, is the experience and interface are the same across all platforms, including tablets and iPads.

 

Michigan Education Association

 

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) is a self-governing education association, representing about 140,000 teachers, education support professionals and higher-education employees throughout the state. The MEA Mobile App is designed to connect industry personnel to news, advocacy information, events, and resources. Also, the app links members to association benefits, such as “MyDeals” which offers discounts on day to day purchases.

 

Missouri Education Association

 

The Missouri NEA is an advocate for public schools, public school students, and public school employees. The 35,000 members of the Missouri National Education Association are public school teachers, librarians, counselors, coaches, school psychologists and psychiatrists, administrators and faculty in colleges and universities. Association members can use the app for a variety of purposes, such as carrying their MNEA E-Membership card and look up legislators to contact for advocacy purposes.

 

 

Info Grove – Software-as-a-Service Model

 

Info Grove is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) communication platform for member-based associations. With the “SaaS” model, association directors don’t need to worry when a new phone is released or a system update is required. 14 Oranges takes care of updating the apps against the ever-changing system offerings by Android and iPhone for the associations. In doing so, 14 Oranges ensures that apps maintain full compatibility against all platform versions.

Using Info Grove’s backend content management system (CMS), association directors are now able to add and edit content within the app without going back to 14 Oranges, saving them time and money. Directors can now send targeted push notifications with ease and reach members in a timely fashion.

 

Are you looking to transition your outdated mobile application? Contact us today to see if Info Grove is right for you!

 

New Jersey Counties Use Apps For Political Engagement

Union County and Monmouth County are now using 14 Oranges’ Info Grove self-managed mobile app service to engage citizens politically. Both counties have recognized the need to provide political content on the digital screen of the public’s choice in order to increase engagement.

 

 

Mobile-First Political Engagement

As government communication is becoming increasingly mobile, Union County and Monmouth County have adapted quickly to this transition. Both counties are using the app to provide election-related information to help citizens in a variety of ways. Most important is that they are helping citizens determine whether they are registered and where to vote, view district maps, and review candidates.

How Info Grove Helps Political Communication

The app acts as an all-in-one stop for political events, dates, and information. Union County and Monmouth County will be able to continuously update and add content using Info Grove’s backend content management system. This allows non-technical staff to edit their app and fill it with new content every election year to keep the app up to date.

 

Mobile App Features

Voters can view candidate promises and objectives, review past elections, and access PDF resources. This means that citizens will have improved access to information to help them make informed decisions. Both counties even go as far as to assist military and overseas Americans who aren’t physically present to cast their ballot.

 

Interested in learning how a mobile app can help your political objectives? Contact us today for a free online demonstration!

Plugged In Podcast: Mobile Apps for Governments

Congress

Mobile Apps For Government Communication

 

14 Oranges CEO Sylvain Marcotte spoke on Evolution Radio about the value of mobile apps for governments. 14 Oranges has deployed apps for governments serving a variety of functions, from citizen engagement apps for the City of Surrey, to mobile workforce management apps for the City of Richmond. Listen to the latest edition of plugged in podcast below.

 

Interested in mobile app statistics from 2017? Check out our infographic here.

New Mobile Etiquette Rules for 2016

Do you remember the simple yet complicated time when only stock brokers, Zach Morris and doctors had cell phones? You could be sitting in a restaurant and not see the majority of the restaurant staring into their smartphones, they actually looked at each other. Each other! I know, crazy, eh? Nowadays we have toddlers who are addicted to iPads and people who can’t put their phone down to speak to wait staff. There’s only one person I know who doesn’t own a cell phone of any kind, so it’s time for some Bill Maher style new rules to keep society intact.

Yay, can I get an invite?

Yay, can I get an invite?

New Rule #1- Keep Your Phone Off The Dinner Table

Next time you set the table for dinner at your house or walk into a restaurant, I want you to notice something. Look at the table setting and pay attention to what’s included- cutlery, plate, glass, napkin, right? I don’t see a space for a cell phone on the table. I even consulted Emily Post and nope, there’s no inclusion of a mobile phone as part of a traditional place setting. So as the first rule of the mobile etiquette guide, I say leave your phone in your pocket. I’m totally supportive of legitimate reasons like an important work call, but checking your phone every 10 seconds to see who’s following you on Twitter is just rude. When I go to happy hour I want to drink cheap wine and actually catch up with people, not watch them play on their phone.

I don't see a spot for a smartphone

I don’t see a spot for a smartphone

New Rule #2- Selfies: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

For Christmas dinner, we went to the Pacific Rim Fairmont buffet of glory. After dinner, because we needed to consume another 4000 calories, we went to the lobby lounge to enjoy the eggnog rum drink. While enjoying our delicious drinks, two young women came to sit in the seating area next to us, and proceeded to have a 30 minute photo session (I kid you not). I wish I had filmed it. They would take turns acting out poses for action shots, then acting out model poses for still shots. At one point we were all so mesmerized (horrified?) that we stopped talking and just watched the slow moving trainwreck of vanity. They didn’t order a drink, they didn’t talk to each other except instructions to get the best photo angles. This behavior is becoming more and more common as technology seeps into our everyday lives that it’s barely regarded as strange anymore. I say with regards to selfies, unless you’re standing in front of the Parthenon or the Eiffel Tower, get over yourself. No one cares about your gym selfies or you and your brunch.

Even David Beckham takes selfies of himself with his coffee

Even David Beckham takes selfies of himself with his coffee

New Rule #3- Check Your Ring Tones, We Aren’t Deaf

Everyone has a story of a phone ringing at a horrible time- funerals, movies, meetings and weddings. Years ago my phone rang in a job interview and I still cringe at the memory. To this day I’m still positive that I turned it to silent so I have no idea what evil technology forces were at work that day. We’ve all been there, but the problem persists even as tech progresses. It’s becoming more socially acceptable to just shrug when a phone rings loudly and disturbs everyone. True story: At a previous job, a vendor was in a meeting with the marketing team and his phone rang very loudly. So what did he do? He took it out, looked at the caller ID and put the RINGING PHONE back in his pocket. If this isn’t the mark of a serial killer, I don’t know what is. Since the days of having your favorite song as your ringtone are long gone, let’s just keep tones low or on vibrate, especially if you’re in a meeting.

Even Dexter wouldn't have put his ringing phone back in his pocket

Even Dexter wouldn’t have put his ringing phone back in his pocket

New Rule #4- Resist the Urge To Pick Up Your Phone When You’re in the Middle of a Human Conversation

Picking up your phone and aimlessly texting or surfing Instagram while in the middle of a human-sitting-in-front-of-you conversation is something that kills me about society. I see it all the time. For example, I’ll be talking to someone about my excitement for the first season of Fargo and then they’ll just pick up their phone and start texting. I know what you’re thinking: “Kirsten, they’d rather be dead than listen to you prattle on about Fargo,” which was my first assumption too. However, this happens all.the.time. I understand if you’re talking about meeting up and everyone pulls out their phone to check their calendars because that’s reasonable. Waiting for someone to buzz into your apartment? Sure, go ahead and pick up the phone. Being reasonable is the missing component of mobile phone etiquette.

We've all been the person watching everyone on their smartphones

We’ve all been the person watching everyone on their smartphones

Round Up

Technology trends are thrilling and fast paced but we need to take a step back and assess our behaviour. Cell phones have become so common that all our horrible habits have completely ballooned. One person glued to their cell phone was never a big issue; it becomes a problem when every single person is on their smartphone. Some people say that technology gives us less face to face time but it seems to be a conscious choice on our part. We decide to pick up the phone or the iPad. We decide to text and post on Twitter while at a family dinner. We control technology (for the most part) and we make the choice to take a million photos of our eggs Benedict or walk into a bear while texting. It’s time we hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard. So look up, remove your headphones and check out what’s going on in the world, there’s lots going on! Now if you’ll excuse me, my phone is ringing.

Yes, a seeing eye person is a real thing so you can text without getting hit by a car

Yes, a seeing eye person is a real thing so you can text without getting hit by a car

*Special shout outs to Flora, Clarence and Morgan for their input!

3 Reasons Why 2016 Should Be the Year You Finally Invest In a Mobile App

When I worked retail as a university student, one thing we constantly found ourselves saying to customers was “you can wear it with jeans!”  This turned into a running joke because we didn’t realize how often we said it and how often it worked.  Granted, this was between 2003 and 2008 so it really was the jeans-with-everything hay day.  Today, the equivalent of ‘you can wear jeans with it’ is ‘there’s an app for that!’ which has become so mainstream it’s used as a bad joke on TV.  

Our love of jeans is well documented and still hilarious

I laughed along with ‘there’s an app for that,’ but upon further inspection, I would have to strongly disagree.  Now that I’m aware of it, I notice stores and businesses that desperately need an app but don’t have one.  It’s like when you buy a certain car, then you suddenly see it everywhere because now you’re paying attention.  Almost everyday I find myself annoyed that in soon-to-be 2016, there are SO many businesses that haven’t taken an app into consideration.  Don’t get me started on companies like a certain movie chain *cough cough* that has a rage inducingly terrible app that makes me want to burn it to the ground every time I use it.  I have never had a positive experience using their app and that’s a giant fail on their end because I cringe when I open it.  Since I need the internet like I need a heartbeat and I love complaining to corporations, I have deemed myself the unofficial crusader for mobile apps.  Be scared.

Actual portrait of me crusading for mobile apps

Actual portrait of me crusading for mobile apps

You Can Sit With Us

If you own a business, regardless of size, your customers expect to access your products/services every minute of the day.  I don’t care if you sell dry pasta or multi million dollar cloud computing, people must be able to access information about you at all times.  My insurance company’s website does maintenance all night every night so I am unable to submit my claims anytime passed 6pm PST.  I have probably attempted to log in and failed about 20 times because I keep forgetting that their website is from 1999 and has zero functionality.  Does my head explode every single time I attempt to log in and fail?  You bet it does.  Since most people work a 9-5 day, by the time they get home, they won’t be able to submit their claims.  So their ‘client portal’ website is not only useless, but generating negative feelings from members.  In 2016, this is business suicide.

A mobile app can go a long ways toward generating more opportunities from clients (assuming your app works well).  An app is an awesome way to provide value to clients and make their lives easier.  For example, the Starbucks app makes my life easier because I don’t need to carry cash, I get loyalty points and notifications of deals and promos.  Starbucks has given me every reason to continue using their app because it provides value each time I use it.  Every time I flip through my phone I see the Starbucks app.  Having your app in front of your clients’ face every single day when they flip through their smartphone is marketing most business couldn’t afford. For most people their smartphone is the first and last thing they see everyday.  Wouldn’t you want your mobile app to be part of that?

Starbucks, I love you

Starbucks, I love you

Tomorrow Never Dies (So you’d better be ready for it)

Do you remember when you got your first website?  If you’re a small business owner you probably didn’t think you needed a website but got talked into it (“I sell shoes, why do I need a website?”). Today having a website a no brainer and if someone doesn’t have one, people look at you like you’re insane.  Well friends, an app is the new website.  An app is the website of the 21st century because it has more functionality and it supports your specific business infrastructure.  Your website was the workhorse of the 20th century and served you very well, but now it’s time to take the next leap into mobile apps.

Enjoy the Space Jam website that's frozen in time. Did it look like your first website?

Enjoy the Space Jam website that’s frozen in time. Did it look like your first website?

Mobile apps have more functionality than websites because they have useful things like push notifications, cameras and geolocation services etc built in.  An app will support your business tomorrow and next week while your website serves your clients today.  Back in 2011 most people were wondering what on earth Starbucks was doing getting a mobile app.  Now we can see their plan put them ahead of the game and proved their instincts were correct.  Mobile usage continues to climb and has since overtaken desktop, so arguments from companies about it being a fad are clearly wrong.  It may seem like only enterprise or retail companies need a mobile app but that’s not true anymore.  It’s almost 2016 and mobile is mandatory.

Adapt or Die

For example, if I were in the market for yoga pants, would I buy from a store with an outdated website and unchanged product offerings?  Doubtful.  Instead I would consider a company like Lululemon (Woo! Vancouver!) because they were first to market and they heavily invest in new fabrics and technology to continuously improve their products. They even have a mobile app which shows me, the potential customer, that Lululemon is serious about staying ahead of their competition and that they want to optimize the customer experience.  Showing clients that you’re investing in your business, staying on top of the market and ahead of the curve is a huge differentiator.

Yoga pant shopping made easier

Yoga pant shopping made easier

As a consumer, I appreciate a company that takes my buying habits and desires into consideration and that will make me more loyal in the long run (my ultimate consumer loyalty is to J Crew because of their amazing customer service).  If I had a choice, I would never give my insurance company a dime of my money and I will remember how much I despise them forever.  Every time I visit their website they are pushing me closer and closer to their competitors.  

Round Up

At first glance it would seem mobile apps are taking over the world but after careful, empirical research (ha!) conducted by me, I can assure you this is false.  Apps are a glorious, interactive technology that provides value to the user.  When built correctly, a mobile app will make your business and customer experience more efficient and streamlined which will build loyalty and allow more client touch points.  With an app you have a direct line of communication with your clients via push notifications and updates that they see everyday on their smartphone.  Since no one can put their phone down, your app will be visible all day everyday.  People are more tech savvy than ever before so your business must be visible and accessible 24 hours a day.  I want the ability to check out your products at 4am if that’s when I decide to look at your menu or yoga pants.  By allowing me the freedom to browse your products or services on my schedule, you’ll generate more opportunities and stay ahead of your competition.  A website served you well for over a decade, now it’s time to reinvest in your business by taking the leap to a mobile app (don’t worry, we’ll catch you).
Why would your clients spend their time and money on your business if you don’t?

Even cats are addicted to smartphones and mobile apps

Even cats are addicted to smartphones and mobile apps

Whitepaper- The Engineer’s Guide to Fleet Management Solutions: Increasing Competitive Advantage and Employee Productivity

If you are part of an organization that has a mobile fleet, you are likely finding it difficult to maximize your bottom line.  Fleets are a necessary part of many businesses, but they can easily become a huge source of financial waste and inefficiency.  However, with an appropriate engineering solution, a fleet can become a productive addition to an organization instead of a financial drain.  Cost cutting, competitive advantage,and ROI are just some of the implementation results of fleet management systems.

14 Oranges has extensive experience with fleet management systems that have a measurable impact on our clients. We are experts at creating a solution that makes sense for your business and will have tangible result on your bottom line.  No company fleet is identical, so no engineering solution should be the same.

DOWNLOAD THE ENGINEER’S GUIDE TO FLEET MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS WHITEPAPER NOW