LCC 3401 evaluates Buzzport usability

For the past several years, Student Government Association (SGA) has been working on consolidating all of Tech’s online resources into one location so that with one authenticated login, students can access all the internet resources that they may need on campus.

The proposed portal would facilitate an easier transition between different campus resources, as well as allowing students to filter what they would actually see on their homepage to eliminate some of the clutter that sites like Buzzport currently have.

“Right now we have to go to T-Square, and Zimbra, and Oscar, and all sorts of other places to access our resources. The portal would also integrate GT EasyReg, a site used by many students to make it easier for students to make their schedules. What the portal would do is create a single sign-on, one-stop shop to access anything students need,” said Ashby Foltz, second-year MGT and an SGA member who is part of the initiative.

The portal initiative has been a long process. “This is an initiative that has been going on for several years. We’ve had several students take it on, but due to turnover and graduation, the process has been halted every year. I think now with new institute leadership, with Dr. Peterson here, it will definitely receive a lot more attention and hopefully will really take off… I think this is something that will take time because we will have put in the necessary financial resources and really consult students to see what they really want in the portal, so I would say that hopefully by next spring we will have a good idea of what we really want in there,” said Alina Staskevicius, third-year ISyE major and committee member on the portal initiative.

In the meantime the JCOC continues to work hard towards putting together a portal that students can benefit from. The members of the committee are working with OIT and Buzzport to take the necessary steps to begin integrating online campus resources and finding a way to have a single authentication for any of the various logins.

This semester SGA has drawn more attention for its portal initiative, by hiring Daniel Vollaro’s LCC 3401 Technical Communications class to consult on the portal initiative by analyzing usability of Buzzport. This semester Vollaro’s class has focused on technical writing through usability surveys and other test methods.

While the results of the class have not yet been finalized, the current results clearly show that some changes could be made to Buzzport to make it easier to use. “Both the faculty and student usability research teams have found some pretty good evidence that Buzzport’s layout is busy… There is much more to the research, but thus far any other results are not clear,” Vollaro said. After client presentations have been made to JCOC, clearer results will be able to be put to use.