If there is one thing that unites University of Connecticut students, it is a mutual dislike of Student Admin. One of UConn’s main administrative portals to undergraduates, it is universally reviled for its unintuitive design and slow speed. But the most disappointing part of the system is its wasted potential. There is so much that Student Admin could do better that it just does not.
Student Admin suffers from a strange mix of minimalism and brutalism. It forgoes any sort of useful interface in favor of smattering links, tabs and dropdowns all around. This results in a lot of wasted space. White space can be good to not overload on information, but somehow the website manages that, too. The text is small, and it seems like the difference between what is hyperlinked versus what is hidden in menus is arbitrary. All of this makes it frustrating to use in any way beyond the three functions you’ve trained yourself to memorize.
This can be especially frustrating during class selection season. By slowly loading new pages for every step in the process, one can never be sure if they’ve entered a class or not until that green check mark appears. It would not be difficult to give an alert on the same page when there is a restriction or a missing permission number, but that would apparently break the blue-white bland color scheme the website goes for. Class picking is stressful because of all the things that can go wrong with Student Admin.
The most baffling part about this is that UConn has shown it can make (or at least use) competent software. Dorm selection is a breeze compared to class selection, and that’s due in large part to the website being faster and more responsive. Blackboard isn’t perfect, but it at least prominently shows notifications. Even the schedule builder that Student Admin recommends students use is leagues better than the actual enrollment system. It lets you see a weekly schedule and scroll through combinations of sections. Why is this not natively built-in on Student Admin?
It’s disappointing to see Student Admin alongside these other UConn websites. There is so much it could do better. What if instead of small hyperlinks, the website used some actual eye-catching buttons? What if they highlighted information with something other than 12-point font? What if you could customize your homepage so that Student Admin was relevant to you specifically? What if you could at least put the weekly schedule on the homepage? So many questions, so much potential. Unfortunately, even with robust computer science and digital media and design programs, UConn somehow can not muster the care to implement any of this. And so, Student Admin continues to waste away.