Birthday Update 2019

Birthday Update 2019

Let me start this blog post by thanking each developer, student, and writer that has supported Student App Centre over the last year. We would not be where we are now without the tremendous support we have had from each and every person that has used Student App Centre.

Today I want to give everyone an update on our plans for Student App Centre moving forward but first I just want to look back at the past year.

Looking back at our first year

We launched Student App Centre with around 50 apps listed, all of which were what we now call Standard Discounts meaning they were simply links to the pages where students could then claim their discount from the developer.

However, it quickly became clear that more developers would like to offer student discounts but simply did not have the manpower to check and verify each student that applied for the discount. Working with this information we decided to build the Fast-Track app system. This new system would allow developers to offload the task of offering student discounts to us, meaning that more developers would offer student discounts and that those discounts would be quick and easy to claim using our automated discount system.

At this stage, I’d like to call out Charlie Monroe, developer of Downie and Permute, who was the first developer to work with us on the Fast-Track system. This did unfortunately mean for Charlie he was the test case for this new system. However, with the exception of a few small launch issues the new Fast-Track system proved to be a huge success for Student App Centre.

Following on from Charlie Monroe joining the site, we were lucky enough to have an ever-increasing number of developers join the Fast-Track system. As of writing, we have 23 developers offering discounts on 42 apps through Student App Centre.

At the beginning of this month, a new addition was made to Student App Centre, app/productivity media discounts; this started with MacSparky (David Sparks) agreeing to be the first non-developer to offer discounts on the site with discount on his Field Guides. Very quickly MacSparky was joined by Ryan Dotson & Rosemary Orchard who very kindly agreed to offer a student discount on their first book through Student App Centre.

A quick overview of the technology at work

Squarespace has been the home of Student App Centre from the start; it provided an inexpensive and quick way to create the initial site, which at the time we were unsure would be successful. Over the past year we have made design changes and rearranged a few things but the site is essentially the same as it was back at the beginning. We do have plans for some pretty huge website changes but we will get into that later.

Although the website itself has remained pretty similar much of the background technology has changed rapidly over the last year to match the growth of Student App Centre.

In the very beginning, our system worked by using Apple Mail rules. However, this quickly became problematic as the website continued to grow and by the end of February, we had an entirely new system in place.

Our automated emails are now handled using custom Google App Script to check a student’s email address and then send the appropriate response.

This is just a tiny bit on how we automate everything at Student App Centre.

What is Next?

Updated Automated Emails - The first major change we are making in our second year is to update all of our automated emails to make them more informative and a better match to the rest of the Student App Centre brand. Our aim with these new emails is to make it easier than ever for you to go from receiving your discount to using it. We are hoping to achieve this by walking you through each step of using your discount, this includes highlighting hard to find buttons to enter your coupon! Of course, these new emails will feature your discount code at the top of the email so you can still quickly copy it straight out to complete your purchase. These new emails should be in place by mid-February.

As part of our automated email updates, we will also be implementing a feature to prevent discount code all being claimed and then shared elsewhere. Making these changes should help us when working with new developers to offer student discounts and help us build upon our relationship with the developers we are already working with.

Growing the Student App Centre blog - As you’ll be aware, as you are reading it, we have launched our new blog as part of our Birthday Week. Our idea with the blog is to create a place for students, developers, and us to share tips, ideas and anything else we think will be useful. It is also a place for us to share development updates, upcoming changes, and get feedback of what our users want. The blog will change and evolve over the next year but we are hoping by the end it will be something useful.

Moving forward we want to have huge advances in customer experience and to do this we believe it is vital we communicate with the ones that know best, you!

Making more of our Newsletter - This is a change we started to implement this week, but we want to do more. Moving forward, each month we will be offering an exclusive discount to our Newsletter subscribers (Hint: You don't need to be a student to join the newsletter and so this could be a great way to get some exclusive discounts).

New Discounts - Over the next year, we want to massively increase the number of Fast-Track discounts we are offering. This is where our call to action comes in, if you are a developer and want to get your app on Student App Centre please get in touch.

In addition to adding new apps on the website, we also want to continue expanding into offering discounts on other products. We are currently in talks with a few people on discounts we could offer but again if you have something you think would work on the site, please get in touch!

New Website - As stated above, our website is currently built on Squarespace but over the last few months we have been working on a complete rebuild of the site. The rebuild includes many new features aimed at making it quicker and easier for you to find exactly the discount you want. We’ll have more news to share on this in the next couple on months but we think it is going to take Student App Centre to the next level.

Everything else - In addition to everything listed above we have lots of other little changes and improvements in the works. Many of these focus more of the developer experience of using Student App Centre but if you are interested in what these changes are let me know in the comments and I might put something together to give you an insight into these changes too.

Final Words:

Student App Centre is built for the community of students that want the very best apps to get their work done. We want your feedback and suggestions, if you have something to share please post it in the comments below.

Best Wishes,

Jake

PS - I stole this idea from Ken Case at OmniGroup who write an excellent yearly post.

Jake Harris