All information systems have a relatively similar user interface, which is categorized into three principal aspects: navigation design, input design, and output design. These subdivisions of interface perform particular functions, which satisfy the user’s needs and facilitate his or her experience (Aerts, Smits, & Verlegh, 2017). This paper aims to discuss the redesign of the university website in the context of the mentioned mechanisms of user interface structure.
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First of all, it is essential to observe that the website under discussion is already functioning and it needs an additional redesign for the performance improvement, which is a considerably executable task. This university website is used both by students and professors for checking and posting grades as well as for assessing the communicative information. Therefore, it is critical to implement the interface design which would be easily accessible for different age groups.
The first stage of any user interface structure is the navigation design. The basic principles of navigation design assume that the users (1) have not read the manual before using the system, (2) they have not attended any specialized training, and (3) they do not have any external help, which is readily at hand. Based on these three principles, it should be stated that navigation controls should be comprehensible, and they should be placed so that the user would reach them intuitively (Aerts et al., 2017). If there is a button, whose function might be not apparent to the user, there should be some tools of explaining its services, for example, a pop-up text. Also, it is essential for the website to operate in two languages, English and French, due to the presence of French-speaking students and professors. Another essential part of the navigation design is the creative use of layouts and colors in general. It is evident that the website under discussion needs a more diverse color scheme: different departments of the university should have different color patterns so that the user would quickly understand their responsibilities.
Further, it is necessary to discuss the input design, since the input of the information (especially on websites similar to the one under consideration) constitutes a relatively large part of the user’s interaction with the site. It is also evident that the purpose of the information system under discussion comprises the significant amount of submitted information (for example, students’ grades posted by professors as well as feedback and conversations between users). There are various types of inputs: data items linked to fields, text, numbers, and various kinds of selection boxes. Each of these input categories would be employed in the interface structure of the site, satisfying different needs of its users. Concerning the output design, it should be observed that it is also a significant functional part of the website. It is suggested that it is more suitable to use batch reports with the frequency which follows the module structure of the curriculum. Thus, students will be timely informed about their progress, which would improve their educational growth. Professors would acquire a more profound context for their work, being able to send feedback to students and organize future learning goals.
It is evident that one of the essential goals, which any information system designer aims to achieve, is to create a user-friendly environment that would be easily accessible and intuitively comprehensible (Aerts et al., 2017). This paper discussed navigation, input, and output mechanisms, which should be improved in the redesigned university website. It is proposed that the new site would satisfy the needs of both students and professors.
Aerts, G., Smits, T., & Verlegh, P. W. (2017). The platform shapes the message: How website design affects abstraction and valence of online consumer reviews. Web.