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U community helps UIT test new CIS portal

Note (6/20/2017): The portal is now scheduled for release on September 8, 2017.

USS staff, from left: Madeline Luke, student intern, Barb Iannucci,
associate director of Content Management & Usability, and
Alijana Kahriman, administrative officer.

By Jesse Drake

University staff and students recently got hands-on with the Campus Information Services (CIS) portal, which is undergoing its first redesign since 2003.

The Content Management & Usability team in UIT's University Support Services (USS) welcomed walk-in volunteers at Marriott Library on May 24 and 25, 2017, offering snacks and the chance to help shape the online application used to access everything from paychecks and benefits information to class schedules.

Usability studies are invaluable because they address how individual users interact with a system or application, rather than aesthetics only.

"We have spent a lot of time talking to faculty and staff members from across campus to help optimize the design for them," said User Experience (UX) Developer Kelsey Loizos. "This also helped us gain an understanding of the things they need students to have easy access to, to help make their time at the U successful. With this most recent usability study, we now have a good idea of what works for the students, and that's incredibly important to us."

Kelsey Loizos
UX developer (USS)

In all, 32 volunteers participated – 7 staff and 24 students. Staff members were asked to complete 9 tasks; students were were given 11. Users were guided by on-screen instructions. Once a task was complete, a pop-up window prompted them to rate the ease of each task and provide feedback.

By way of introduction, Loizos told volunteers that the tasks were designed to test how easy the application is to use, not their abilities. She encouraged them to talk aloud as they went through the test to help articulate their thought processes. Once all tasks were complete, users had one last chance to comment. Screens were recorded over the course of the test.

Overall, user response was positive.

"One of the students apologized for taking so long because she was having fun," Loizos said.

The CIS launch is targeted for July 2017.

Photos of the user testing:

Last Updated: 9/8/17