Total visits to www.mines.edu, per year
As with inside.mines.edu, over time there has been a striking increase in visits to www.mines.edu via mobile
devices. In fact, a typical visitor to www.mines.edu is substantial y more likely to use a mobile device than is a
typical visitor to inside.mines.edu.
Year Mobile Visits % of All Visits
% Mobile Visits
Mobile visits to www.mines.edu
Why might this be?
First, a visitor to www.mines.edu is more likely to be a new visitor curious about the school, rather than a current
student who accesses inside.mines.edu frequently and has learned not to do so with a smartphone (because of
the bad user experience). The more “naive” www.mines.edu user does not yet know that our websites are
difficult to use with smartphones.
Second, visitors to www.mines.edu are somewhat more likely to be international visitors (17.9 percent in 2014)
when compared to inside.mines.edu international visitors (11.7 percent in 2014). International visitors in general
are somewhat more likely to use a smartphone as their preferred, or only, method of Internet access, particularly
in developing countries.
As is the case with inside.mines.edu, tablet users visiting www.mines.edu (as a percentage of al mobile visitors)
peaked in 2012. Again, this is unlikely to change in the near term, given stagnant or declining trends in tablet
CONCLUSION: THE FUTURE OF THE WEB AT MINES
1. Infrastructure. Visits to inside.mines.edu and www.mines.edu may final y have plateaued, at least in the near
term. At this time, and for the foreseeable future, we believe that our servers and systems are adequate to
handle the load. A new web server named Incantation joined Il usion (host of www.mines.edu) and Il uminate
(host of inside.mines.edu) in 2014 to take up some of the strain.
2. Design. It has been suggested by some that Mines websites could use a graphical “refresh” soon (the rule of
thumb is to update a particular web design every 5-10 years). However, because ours are special y designed
sites in a custom content-management system – rather than the stereotypical, cookie-cutter Drupal, Jumla, or
WordPress sites found al over the web – the main Mines websites sport an unusual look not found elsewhere. In
our estimation, our design remains unique, modern, and attractive.
Of course, change can be good and can help raise brand awareness and excitement about a website. But,
arguably, any Mines web redesign should take place not only to freshen the look, but to incorporate new,
interactive web technologies and services and – most importantly – make our main websites far more friendly to
users of mobile devices who wil make up the majority of our future visitors. Redesigning the current Mines
CMSes to use updated, freshened templates with responsive web design (web design such that the page
presented is tailored to the size of the device used to view it) is crucial. This would remain the case even if we
were to switch from our current Savvior CMS systems to another CMS infrastructure like Drupal, as has been
suggested by some.
CMS users have suggested a number of other features they would like to see going forward, including the ability
to set up blogs and discussion forums; specialized calendars; Facebook, Twitter, and other multimedia feeds;
involve extensive participation by the customers -- the departments, institutes, and individuals – who use it on a
3. Mobile. The most rapidly changing aspect of our web presence is the increasing number of customers
accessing Mines web pages via mobile devices, particularly smartphones.
Mines currently makes available special-purpose “Mines Mobile” iPhone and Android apps, and even a simple
mobile website at http://m.mines.edu/, to provide basic Mines information to smartphone users. Events, maps,
campus news, library search, sports schedules, and a few other features are available with these tools. While
useful, these mobile solutions are limited in scope.
The school's current mobile apps for Android and iOS wil be replaced in 2015 by far more powerful apps that wil
eventual y al ow access to Banner information. For faculty, that might include class rosters. For students,
schedules and even registration for classes could eventual y become available through mobile devices. This is a
complex project but one that can be phased in and improved over time.
While tablet users (who have relatively large, high-resolution screens) can browse our main websites pretty
much as-is, we currently have no mobile-optimized way to present all the data from inside.mines.edu or
www.mines.edu to smartphone users. As we in CCIT have noted for several years, this is a problem – a problem
that wil only get worse in the future as mobile access of our websites doubles and doubles again.
Thus, future web redesigns should focus on presenting all our web pages in formats optimized for different
screen sizes – al the way from smartphone to desktop monitor. Several modern technologies and techniques
(e.g., Mobile CSS, HTML5, Responsive Web Design, among others) make this process easier today than it was
just a few years ago. Such a redesign would be a big project, but we seem to have no plausible alternative. We
are late to the party in this instance and should press this point with the Mines administration.
Wil new, “responsive,” smartphone-friendly Mines websites make mobile apps obsolete? Probably not. Apps can
stil do some interesting tricks that websites can't. In our case, our upcoming iPhone and Android apps wil
eventual y provide one unique (and highly desired) feature: secure Banner access. We can't do that currently
through websites alone, however optimized. Stil , a Mines web presence using responsive design and giving
usable mobile access to our ful websites would be appreciated by al mobile users – particularly users of
marginal mobile operating systems like Windows Phone or Blackberry for whom we are not likely to provide apps
In general, mobile is increasingly the future. Our main websites are sorely lacking when it comes to servicing
smal mobile devices like smartphones. We need to do better – and soon.
4. Some final observations based on trends found in Google Analytics. These apply to both inside.mines.edu
Mines is becoming a more international university by the year. Substantial (and increasing) numbers of
visits to Mines websites are from non-English-speaking countries. This suggests that we may one day
want to add at least a few minimal language-specific features to www.mines.edu, our marketing site.
Chinese and Arabic would be logical first candidates.
While Windows continues to be the operating system of choice for visitors to Mines websites, that
dominance has eroded substantial y in the past few years. The big increases we are seeing now are not
from desktop operating systems – Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux – but mobile operating systems,
particularly iOS and Android. Again, we must account for this shift to mobile devices in any web strategy
The visitor's web browser of choice has changed greatly in just a few short years. Where once Internet
Explorer ruled the Internet, its share has now dropped below 20 percent among Mines visitors, trailing
both the current champion Chrome, and runner-up Safari. The years when the CCIT Web Team was
forced to custom tailor web pages to fit the eccentricities of IE may be coming to an end.
Though 2014 Q2 sales figures show Android sales volume at 84.6 percent of al smartphones, with iOS
at a relatively anemic 11.7 percent, more than half of mobile visits to Mines websites are, paradoxical y,
made with iOS devices. We must continue to support both mobile OSes in the near future. Other
mobile operating systems like Windows Phone (2.5 percent of phone sales) or Blackberry (0.5 percent)
are not currently significant. Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2465045/android-ios-gobble-up-
This figure was tal ied during the second half of 2009, after analytics became available on this server. The
true 2009 ful -year figure is probably about double this, or around 950,000 visits.
Due to a temporary misconfiguration of our analytics software for inside.mines.edu, a smal amount of data
from late 2011 was lost. The true number of visits in 2011 is estimated to be about 9 percent higher than the
number shown here, or about 1,842,000 visits in total.
iii Due to a temporary misconfiguration of our analytics software for inside.mines.edu, a smal amount of data
from early 2012 was lost. The true number of visits in 2011 is estimated to be about 4 percent higher than the
number shown here, or about 2,059,000 visits in total.
iv This figure was tal ied during the second half of 2009, after analytics became available on this server. The
true 2009 ful -year figure is probably about double this, or around 4,500 mobile visits.