Ranking the Notre Dame websites
Davis Gonsalves | Wednesday, November 28, 2018
I’ve been in a bad habit of not crediting my columns to the people who give me inspiration, so let me start with a story to credit senior Joe Weiler, who ultimately gave me the idea to write this piece. As we sit in our lab together, I am trying to check my team’s score on IMLeagues and the wave of rage has begun. As I shout, “This has to be the worst website Notre Dame uses,” Joe says I should rank them to really determine what the worst is. With so much terrible design to rank (NOVO, SAO 360, Ultratime, Sakai, etc.), I knew what had to be done. Now I love Notre Dame dearly, but maybe we could cut one of our underused offices for one employee to simply work on user interface. Anyway, maybe this is a start.
1. Gmail Notre Dame suite
Yup, coming in the top spot is the program developed by the third-largest company in the world, since there has to be a reason they got there. Gmail may not be flashy, but it is ever solid, with easy user interface and the greatest feature: You can just type someone’s name in (as long as it’s an nd.edu email address) and it gives you their email. Awkward group project contact sharing is a thing of the past. As someone who has an uncommon first and last name, my uniqueness is easy to spot in the search function. The only people who suffer are the hordes of common Irish names (looking at you, Michael Walsh) and the psychos who use their middle names as first names.
2. GPS (Graduation Progress System)
Surprisingly helpful when it came time to pick classes for my senior year. At first, the layout looks NOVO-esque, which definitely scared me originally. But the color-coded classes as complete, uncompleted or in-progress absolutely helped my elementary-level organizational skills. One of the few class-related features that actually helped.
It’s not flashy and does not try to do more than it intends. You want an aggregate of all the websites using an nd.edu domain? That’s all it is. Not necessary for the high-frequent sites that you just type in — like Sakai or Gmail — but when you need a transcript request, you know where to go. The fun little website thumbnails give me a kick, too.
4. Go IRISH
I am told this is decent for looking at internships and the like. I am half-theology major so job boards generally scare me, but I am simply taking word of mouth that Go IRISH is a pretty good site. My initial parlay into the site did make me take a questionnaire on how I would be ethical, which does not really check out knowing Mendoza students use it the most. Overall, though, I thought it had crisp colors and was generally easy to understand. Top 5 it is.
5. DART Class Registration
I want an addendum here because the class search function is kind of bogus. Notre Dame still hasn’t found a great way to search for classes independently; instead we have to rely on friends giving recommendations like some sort of 20th-century savages. However, they do make it simple to just have the CRNs you want written down, type them in and submit for your schedule. Help if you somehow need to improvise your schedule, but the intent is there.
I, and I think most people, have a love-hate relationship with Sakai. Sometimes it glitches and gives you a few extra minutes on your quiz, or you can submit a corrupted file and get a few extra days on an assignment. On the other hand, it can delete your 20-question Intro to Biology quiz that’s due at midnight during your freshman year when you only had one question left at 11:55 p.m., and when you went to submit the quiz it said you haven’t started, which is a complete lie because I saved every freaking question at the time and that’s what kept me from moving up a grade at the end of the year. All I’m saying is there are a few schools of thought. Sakai is far from perfect, but it gets the job done-ish, and sometimes with such a heavily used site, that’s all you can ask for.
The fact that Ultratime is so sensitive to a.m. and p.m. designations when it doesn’t even explicitly have an option to select either cost me 40 hours of work from the summer that I only recently recovered. It looks like an Excel spreadsheet from the ’90s, for which I simply have no patience. A simple time in, time out sheet should not be difficult, but alas, here we are.
This now begins the list of websites that go beyond irritating to infuriating. I’m really not a fan of the whole institution of SAO, but I see why it is necessary. The website, however, is anything but. The modules are confusing, not encompassing and overall less than helpful. They take a while to get responses to, and you have to be added like it’s some exclusive club. There is a sharp design, but I am against the philosophy behind its purpose.
A website so bad that Notre Dame actually had to email to tell us that it sucked. We took on NOVO as a replacement for DART, but NOVO hurt so much that we still use DART. It wallows in mediocrity since there is no point to use it at all now, but it still shows up on InsideND. Between Coursicle and DART, NOVO has no place in this world. No one wants NOVO, and this would be the worst website if it were not for the next, disgusting, no good, deplorable aspect of the internet that Notre Dame decided to contract out.
Was it ever in doubt what the worst website would be? This Satan’s spawn of a domain has made me lose years both from stress and time it takes to get to your intended destination through redirects. This last year, I coached flag football so if I wanted to check the upcoming game times, here is what I had to do: 1) Go to the RecSports website. 2) Click the IMLeagues portal. 3) Enter my school organization. 4) Go through Notre Dame’s portal and select ND ID login. 5) Go through DUO’s Two-Step login. 6) Then click the IMLeagues banner again. 7) Once on the IMLeagues site, I had to disable my ad blocker. 8) As I am being blasted with pop-up ads, I have to search for flag football on the side (if you do not type everything correctly, it will not pop down, and if it does not pop down you cannot find it). 9) There, I can scroll through results — even though I clicked on the exact thing I wanted already — and select Flag Football Women’s A. 10) Now from there, I can select our team and find their schedule tucked away between MVP tracker and player stats, which are always empty because no one uses them. I simply hate this website. I think I hate this website more than any social injustice in the world. IMLeagues is my hell and I will think of its user interface when I get sad about graduating. #notmyIMLeagues
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.