Interaction Analysis – Be Here Now

Earlier in the term for my Be Here Now class, I studied the interaction on the main NYU student portal. I chose this because the site is a disaster. It requires you to log in multiple times into the various unconnected systems. All of the information truly useful and necessary for an enrolled student is buried about 6 clicks in to the site. This includes Albert, where all of our class registration information is stored.

Some of the NYU websites seemed to have had a partial design refresh recently. But there are still dozens of links where there should be just a few. Important information is referenced half-way through the pages. Cluttering most pages are stupid updates that obviously matter to random administrators but not to actual students.

If I had to guess, the people who redesigned the site are talented. But with too many cooks in the kitchen on the NYU side, they lost the war in convincing a client to take their advice and simplify the information architecture. One example of bad interaction design is that now when you want to drop a class, you still need to click on “Add” within the registration section. It reminds me a lot of Windows, where you have to click on “Start” to shut down your computer.

Now that classes are set for the term, I thankfully don’t have to bother too much with this main NYU sites. I also think the ITP websites could use a reboot. There are also too many separate sites that do not link to each other. I continue to find out about new ones that were built but are not promoted. Several people have also pointed out that ITP does a bad job promoting the work of students compared to the likes of Parsons and other schools. This is in part due to the same decentralized approach to information at ITP. Administrators prefer that promotion be solely the responsibility of the students through their own blogs. While this is a very pragmatic approach, anyone visiting the main ITP site who is looking to hire a student or browse recent projects has their work cut out for them. A centralized feed could benefit all.

Anyway, for this exercise, we used Jesse James Garrett’s very helpful guide from his book The Elements of User Experience. He breaks the process down into 5 planes of design: Surface, Skeleton, Structure, Scope and Strategy.

This assignment was quite helpful in better understanding interaction design. Here is the presentation I made in class:

Interaction Study: NYU Student Homepage