myBucknell — Bad Design

Since I was a freshman, myBucknell has always been a tool that students use out of necessity, with its dated design and seemingly endless array of confusing menus and pages. The redesign a couple years back helped update the look of the website, but did little to improve its ease of use because it ignored many of the problematic sections of the original, namely Banner Web.

Home

Welcome Page

The new myBucknell home page is certainly an improvement upon the old one, but it is still hopelessly cluttered and the usefulness of each applet varies wildly. The “Today’s Menu” and “Campus Events” windows are among the better options, providing information in a user friendly and acceptable format. However, the “Reminders” and “Message Center” windows are terribly formatted and presented. The reminders present themselves as giant blobs of text, rather than small headers that the user can expand, and simply sit there until dismissed by the user. They do not increase in urgency the longer the user ignores them nor do they stick out from the other categories on the home page, despite their usual importance/urgency.

User Profile

In the interest of privacy, I am not including a screenshot of the user profile page, but it is easily viewable by any Bucknell student on their own account. Part of this page is very useful, providing quick access to important information such as a student’s mailbox combination or Bucknell ID. However, many of the information boxes elsewhere on the page are poorly formatted and some are completely broken. For example, the “Courses” box still thinks my current courses are those that I took fall semester my sophomore year. The “All Courses” tab is just a wall of text, with little to differentiate the courses other than the department. The formatting could improve drastically and the way the information is presented, as well as the information being presented in the first place, could be changed to be of more use to the user. The “Accounts” box is actually well done and provides most of the information that the user would be looking for in a clear and easy to read format. The “Account History” box is similarly functional and fulfills its purpose effectively.

Banner Web

Banner Web Home Page

Banner Web is easily the most dated and complicated web interface the school currently uses. Its pages are inadequately described and finding what you are looking for requires previous knowledge of the site. Information is often poorly presented and difficult to find, or scattered across multiple pages despite being relevant in multiple contexts. Once again, for privacy I am not including screenshots of the pages within banner web because most contain student records and other personal information. The Academic Progress Report page is probably one of the best examples of how Banner Web is unclear and inefficient. Instead of framing the most important information so that it sticks out more than the myriad of other info, all of the text is formatted in the same fashion. GPA, credits to graduate, and current number of credits blend in much like what grade you received in an elective freshman year. There is no element of interactivity to the page, so all of the information for your entire Bucknell academic career is simply thrown at you, with no mechanism to sort it.

Similar problems plague other pages across Banner Web, and unfortunately this is arguably the most important part of myBucknell for every student. It is the singular method for accessing grade history, transcripts, and registering for classes. Given that the school has invested time and energy updating many other aspects of their online experience, an Banner Web overhaul is long overdue.

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