Web time wasters

By Вen Li

Two simple buttons may make your life at the University of Calgary easier.

The U of C’s homepage at www.ucalgary.ca received an update recently. The "Just for
Students" and "Admission and Registration" buttons located in the navigation bar have been retired to make way for two new buttons entitled "Student Information" and "Prospective Students."

The pages behind the buttons, which are the product of the Undergraduate Communications Subcommittee, are intended to address concerns students had with the accessibility of information on the homepage, according to Associate Vice-president Student Affairs Peggy Patterson.

"That committee requested that a group be convened of guidance counsellors, prospective students, parents and current students," said Patterson. "We needed to know how information for prospective students was to be used as well as how students were valuing the use of the information on the current button."

While they do not offer much new content, the newly revised pages do organize existing information on the U of C Web site in a more useful manner. Clearly labelled links, grouped by category, now take students directly to the information they seek.

"What we did was organize the materials in a way that would make sense," said Patterson. "They could get it before but it was harder to find since they had to dig for it."

According to Patterson, the shift to a more user-friendly presentation of documents online is a growing trend.

"The switch away from the organizational structuring of Web-based information is a fundamental change that’s happening to all of the university’s materials," said Patterson. "I think that the reception so far from anecdotal information has been very positive."

Patterson also hopes to see other documents and services available online as well.

"We certainly recognise that students want to do more and more of their university business online," said Patterson. "What we’d like to do is determine priority-wise what things would provide the most benefit to the greatest number of students."

Students have already benefitted from time savings gained by applying online and Patterson would like to extend that success to other forms.

"We’re looking at ways of putting the award application online so that people can fill it out online," said Patterson. "Currently, they can get it and print it off but they can’t fill it in. That’s a different kind of programming challenge."

In the meantime, Patterson encourages students to offer feedback about the buttons to sas@ucalgary.ca.


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