Assistant Tech Editor
myUMBC is getting a complete redesign that will improve almost every aspect of the site.
Collier Jones is the lead architect in charge of myUMBC, and he has big changes planned for the website. The myUMBC site will soon feature a complete overhaul and add plenty of features for students to use to their advantage.
In an interview, Jones revealed a bit about the history of myUMBC. Originally, features such as discussions and events were requested by students, as old event calendars had a complex submission process which was done through staffing departments.
That is where Jones wants to bring myUMBC: he wants to personalize it and emphasize the “my” part. In order to achieve this, he wants to focus on email, user groups and overall design.
Students get flooded with emails, according to Jones. In order to solve that, he is working on tools to make email better for students. The mailing list students are accustomed to will turn into groups.
“In the grand scheme of things, we aren’t going to solve all your email problems, ” said Jones. However, he plans on letting students choose how they are notified, with options from only sending important updates to others like “don’t notify me.”
The focus will be placed on these user groups, as they will be a completely redesigned feature. After the update, groups will be listed out and have a notification number badge next to them. There will also be group stats to encourage exploration and easier ways to start groups.
User interface is a huge part of the update, and Jones is using a Google Now-inspired card interface along with a “material design” influence from Google. There will also be an integrated search bar at the top of the site that autocompletes searches.
Jones wants to make the student’s life easier, so he plans on adding features such as a central document page, eliminating the need to go to the registrar’s office for a specific document.
A new activity feed will be incorporated with important updates as well as event postings. Students will also be able to view previous days’ events and view promoted content, which will replace the spotlights section.
In addition, there is also a guide card section that will constantly change and update to show the student’s schedules, any balances they have left to pay off, and upcoming deadlines.
Events not being visible is another focus Jones has, and he wants to feature trending events more prominently. Events will get their own card and have contextual info, such as if there free food at the event.
Other ideas planned involve sharing data with not just your parents, but with other people of the student’s choosing. Students will be able to share their grades and finances if they choose. As myUMBC develops its desktop site, Jones also aims for parity with the mobile site. The goal he has set is to provide continuity between the two. Typically, design starts on the desktop, but Jones wanted. to start on mobile first.
When can students expect this change? According to Jones, it was originally planned for this fall, but will “most likely” launch next fall.