UMBC- Department of Information Systems
A smart and efficient education platform to accelerate
the academic information
The Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County is one of the reputed branches in Maryland state. This course is designed to make students learn computer systems from the user’s perspective.
Role: UX Designer, Usability Analyst
When: Jan - May 2020
Methods and Tools: Sketch and Marvel
Practices: Competitive Analysis, User Analysis, Task Analysis, Persona Development, Storyboarding, Prototyping
Teammate: Xinran Zhang
Process flow of the project
Department of Information System's original website
The content presented on the site is small in size. It lacks in image and font size ratio. There is no consistency and proximity maintained on the website. The image and text ratio are poor. It disturbs the user while navigating through any section on the screen. There is a chart on the website which explains what students need to do to meet the requirement of the course. The image of the chat is a blur as compare to the aesthetics of the remaining website design. It does not match the site color and fails to describe the goal. The language used on the website is very formal and understandable. But it is too informative where users do not have much time to spend on reading. It forces the user to navigate through each content and then reach their goal, which is not fair. There are a few links where the user will find a lot of information. This will lead them to stop visiting the website.
The Information System department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Country is built as a branch of the UMBC’s official website, therefore it has a high resemblance in both architecture and visual design with other departments inside UMBC, which makes analyzing other department’s site that inside UMBC as competitor less efficient to conclude into results. Take that into account, the competitive analysis will be focusing on the same department’s site outside of the University of Maryland, Baltimore Country.
elicited by 3 critics
User experience, information accessibility, maturity in visual design
Create an easy, intuitive way to present information
Avoid textual information overload
Clear separation between each content
Provide both visual and textual cues for the user
Adding more audio or visual effects helps to attract applicants
Making separate instructions for applicants in different states (internationals, visiting scholar, transfer and new applicants)
We came to the following range of people/clients who use websites and have connection with department.
What do students and faculty members feel about the current website?
In the process of contextual inquiries, the users were requested to carry out tasks of their choice using the existing website. This process was carried out in an environment where the users were comfortable. The purpose of this study was to understand what trouble the users were facing and which tasks they could do easily.
Unable to recall the images
Students frequently recalled the images that were present on website. Out of 12, 3 people remembered the images and information located on website.
Inefficient communication tools
Students are unable to find the communication tool and lot of students and faculty members do not use the messaging system offered by department.
Inefficient navigation system
Accessing course content and admission requirement inefficient. Students complaint that they have to navigate on various pages and have to look for courses and the organization of courses content makes it hard to find the information
Long informative sections
60% of surveyed students and 40% of faculty find it hard ti read the long informative sections. Students have to request professors regarding the information about the department.
A significant number of complaints came from site structure, but the failure of faculty to update the research page.
Based on previous findings, we have learned that the main purposes of the site firstly are for program applications (both learning the requirements/information and guidance the user to the application portal to apply). The first primary goal could be breaking down into two sub goals in general—information presentation and application navigate.
User flow for Department of IS website
The IS department website contains a large amount of information and the previous developer tried to solve this by removing part of the important content, providing a link to larger integration UMBC systems so users still will be able to search but will no longer be inside the IS department system. Even though this is a low costing/economic solution, it's at the cost of user experience. Users will have to spend more time on learning the new system and doing the search all over again.
Inconsistent color usage
Visibility of News Section
The significance of search bar
No content on research page
Highlighting main events
Lack of information on home page
No search bar in FAQ section
Use of white space
To implement the participatory design, we addressed the problem to our participants through storyboarding and by showing the original website. We took two main usability challenges which narrow down our solutions by describing various suggestions and opinions regarding the website.
High level findings
The home page, program page, admissions page has all spotted usability problems that could be damaging to the user experience.
User 1& 2 has both pointed out that there are navigation issues on the home page.
Despite the navigation problem that occurs at the home page, other usability problems are not severe and do not impact the user accomplishing the task, which could be easily fixed
It was mentioned by both participants that the categorization of the programs in the navigation section is missing,
Participant 1 mentioned the “more information” section from admissions should be specific, and the tuition list is missing.
A companion that sides students in academic progress
As a department website, organization should provide students with the information they need with as little friction as possible. But students engage with this academic tool every day, so it should do more than just inform.
This redesign is built on the idea that website will act as a helping hand to students. Along with giving students the support and information they need during each semester, it will help them progress in their classes and seek data about department.
As The welcome screen gives a new experience to the students and tells in detail information about the sub majors in Information System Department. It briefly tells about the department and takes them to the dashboard.
The department dashboard ranges from Program to people which means students can search from various academic stuffs to faculty members
Learn more about the sub menus of each department.
The overflow map provides the significant structure of the screens where students can check their daily schedule on Department website
The UMBC- Department of Information System website underwent the analysis of eight usability study methods that brought various results. From competitive analysis to heuristic evaluation to that of usability testing we arranged participatory sessions with users, who helped us to evaluate the issues and brought it into a new design for the website. Studying for the UMBC Department of Information System website gave us a different perspective to study the recommendations and believe in a sense of reliability and persistence. The redesign has successfully improved the usability issues that existed in the current website and despite there are few suggestions from the user comment that needs improvement, the redesign has been a success in severing major functionalists which the site if for comparing with the old design.
The poster provides information about design process and tasks undertaken to implement the new structure of UMBC's Department of Information System's Website. It includes the step wise work flow and detailed usability findings.