CAB is Strange

The interface for the Courses at Brown website looks nice, and usually is a helpful tool for registration. However, it has moments where it is ever so slightly janky. The columns which slide out from the main control panel on the left side of the screen have a tendency to build up unintentionally. I’ll load up my primary cart, and I’ll see a course that I want to remove. To do so, I click on the course, which pulls another column out from the left to show me the course details. Then I actually remove the course, which pulls my primary cart up again in a new column. Maybe I’ll even click on another class to see the reading list, which pulls out yet another new column. By now, my primary cart is being displayed twice, each bearing two different lists of courses; I am viewing two different courses at once, and the original control panel is completely out of sight.

The tabs that slide out from the left are not necessarily a bad thing, but the fact that every time your cart is updated it is redisplayed to you in a new column makes the interface end up cluttered. Perhaps the goal was to make it so that you could keep track of previous versions of your schedule as you added and removed classes. Unfortunately, it is hard to take advantage of this as previous versions of your schedules get buried offscreen to the left, each separated by large description columns for various courses that you either added, removed, or just clicked on to view.

In any case, it isn’t very beneficial to see how your course list has changed over time. It would be more helpful to see updates to your course calendar. In the list format, it’s difficult to visualize which course you want to keep when you have time conflicts. Perhaps rather than having repetitively opening columns, our primary cart could always be open in a column on the right side of the screen, and we could choose to view it as a list or as a calendar. The left side of the screen would be used for course searching, and nothing would get pushed off to the side of the screen. There would only ever be one left column and one right column. In place of seeing each change to your cart laid out side by side, the cart column on the right side of the screen could have an undo and redo button for course changes.

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