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New isn’t always better: the updated myUMBC website disappoints

Students who returned to UMBC this fall were greeted by a new version of the myUMBC website. The updated website features a smooth new homepage with bright colors anchoring the background. Even with the fancy new look, the change brought some disappointments for the students who had grown accustomed to the former version of the website.

The website redesign is just one of the efforts this semester to rebrand different aspects of UMBC’s image, from a new logo to new merchandise. The remodeled homepage has a new layout in addition to the new color scheme, which has created a less than seamless transition for students who liked the simplicity of the old layout.

Chanler Harris, a senior ancient studies major, critiqued the new website, saying, “With the new version, some stuff is hard to find. I miss the old guide because now I go to click it and just think ‘I don’t know what this is.’”

Harris also expressed the belief that the transition to the new myUMBC would have been easier all at once instead of happening in stages. The stage-by-stage rollout for the updated myUMBC added another layer of confusion for many students because some of the hyperlinks on the modernized version simply take you back to the old website, which has been dubbed “myUMBC Classic.”

It is great to offer an alternative to the current website, but students should not have to scroll and find the option to switch back; the current website should not be hard to understand in the first place.

Students enjoy the new style of the website but have real difficulty navigating it. The aesthetic appeal of the new site should not be prioritized over the functionality and ease of use that the old website got right.

Pramuk Mohanlal-Vargas, a sophomore studying global studies and music, said, “I actually enjoyed the old myUMBC more than the new one. It’s just a little too much for me. The old one was more simple, and it was difficult to make the transition between the two.”

People use myUMBC for many different aspects of their education, their pursuit of employment and their communication. Their efforts to utilize these resources are hampered by the fact that they cannot successfully manage the website that is supposed to guide them through their inquiries and searches.

Updates should mean forward progress and improvement. Rebranding is a fine choice and students appreciate new ideas, but it is important that their opinions are heard before changes are made. With the current regard for the new version of the website, myUMBC would be better off reverting to the old form.