As we begin to move more and more users on to our Google Mail platforms, it’s important to reflect on lessons learned and how users are finding the service. In particular is the new service helping reduce reported incidents to the Service Desk.We log all calls that come into Service Desk, either via email or telephone and this allows to see trends aross the first term:
From the graph above, we can see the usual spikes in support calls at the beginning of term (usually related to password issues), then for Google Mail, the support calls drop to a constant low. During the same period, support calls for our legacy webmail fluctuate quite significantly, but are only at the same level as Google Mail on January 1st!
To illustrate it more accurately, since the end of October there have been 10.6 incidents/requests per 1000 students on the old email service and 4.3 incidents/requests per 1000 students on Google Mail. Why is this happening? Google Mail is more intuitive, easier to use, featureful and massively more reliable. We are giving people a modern email experience fit for 2012 and beyond.
We’ve also been running a survey for those on our Google Mail, in order to understand better what we’re doing right and what we can improve. There were 3 key questions we asked:
Creating your Gmail account during registration – 76% rated this Very Good or Excellent
- Accessing your Gmail account – 73% rated this Very Good or Excellent
- Using your Gmail account – 81% rated this Very Good or Excellent
And we asked users how we could improve their Google Mail experience. 3 key questions were asked:
“Enable Calendar and other Google Apps”
This is something we’re keen to do, but it’s something we want to do right. We’re talking internally about enabling other services for both students and staff and will hopefully have more news later in the year.
“Want desktop client”
We realise this is desired by lots of people and later this year we will be rolling out Outlook 2010 across the University.
“Better links through from MyBristol”
This is one of the major problems that harm the experience users get – i.e. they have to sign into MyBristol and also Google Mail. We were unable to get this working as we wanted before we went live as it depended on a major upgrade to a core piece of an internal system. We are currently midway through this upgrade and hope to release it over the summer break.
You may remember that back in our last post we commented how we were working hard to get Gmail ready and launched for our 11/12 intake of undergraduate students. Well, in record time, we did it! Gmail was given to every new student who registered after September 6th – giving them access to an email address for life, a 25GB mailbox, a clean and modern interface and the famed search power that Google offers.
As of today, (December 8th), we have a total of 6,759 accounts on our my.bristol.ac.uk service. Apart from some minor hiccups, the overall launch was successful and since then we’ve been seeing on average 4722 users logging into Gmail and checking their email at least once within 7 days.
We’ve also been interested in which email client our students have chosen to use. We’ve not pushed anything onto them, we’ve let them make their own choices and simply given them the information they needed to connect software to Gmail. The graph above shows from 1st October to 30th November the activity we’ve been seeing from our Students on the Gmail service. The blue line is our total number of accounts, the green line is those using Gmail’s web interface to access their email and the red line is those accessing their account. As you can see, the red and green lines match, showing that the vast majority of our students are happy to use the web interface.
One amusing trend in the access we see is the dips on the green/red lines – they directly correlate to weekends in the 2 months, showing our students have a rest from email on weekends
Now that we have such large mailboxes (everyone by default gets 25GB), it’s interesting to see how quickly people are using up their quota, rather than trying to fit themselves into the small quotas that we’ve previously been able to offer:
Our students are using on average only a small fraction of the quota available to them, but are already close to what would have been the limits had they been given email on current UoB systems – apart from the one student in the middle who has already taken 1/5 of the quota available to them! This is good to see, we want users to use their email and not worry about quotas or limits.
But we don’t stop here – we still have the remainder of our student base to migrate, all of our staff to migrate, Google Calendar to launch – all coming in 2012.
As always, we are keen to hear from you – if you have any queries about the new Gmail service, or our plans for 2012, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org