Opinions

BeachBoard’s new look fails to improve on its flaws

After Cal State Long Beach announced in October of last year that officials would be revamping BeachBoard, students were expecting much more than they received.

BeachBoard has been the website students have been going to get and turn in assignments for six years, according to university director of academic technologies and innovation, Jonathan Huer. So it made sense to update the website’s design in time for the spring 2018 semester with a simpler look. However, BeachBoard needed a more modern look and its own app, not functional changes and a bland color scheme.The black and yellow color palette has been replaced with a plain black and white layout.

Let’s get one thing straight, the site did not need functional changes — it needed a more colorful, modern aesthetic and its own phone app. The university also needed to make a legitimate phone app for BeachBoard, not bury the website in the school’s main app, CSULB Mobile.

Posting photos in the discussion boards can be a hassle. It takes a while for the photo to upload and it takes up most of the text box. Users can resize the photo, but the text box does not give students a lot of space to work with.

When I first opened the webpage, I was confused about where I could find my classes’ pages. In the previous version, their names were listed in a drop-down menu. Now they’re listed in two places: the “My Courses” menu on the front page and under a grid-shaped icon. I like how the classes and organizations links in the “My Courses” menu have corresponding pictures, but I think having two menus to access your courses is redundant.

One of the improvements is that notifications are now listed under a bell-shaped icon. This sub-menu will tell users about announcements from their classes or organizations that they follow on BeachBoard.

The website itself could be better optimized for smartphones. The messages, courses and notifications should have their own menus at the bottom of the screen like the Facebook mobile app. Instead, they are all placed at the top of the screen and are given sub-menus instead of their own screens.

The mobile website hides your classes even further than the desktop website. If you are not in the main menu, you’ll have to access your class information by tapping on the menu on the top-left corner of the screen and then tapping the grid icon.

The functionality of BeachBoard needs to be simple and the websites needs to be more colorful. The site needed an aesthetics update, but that shouldn’t have made it harder to use in the process.

Check out the counterpoint here.

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