It is hard to believe but the current version of myUMBC is going on 4 years. We launched in summer of 2006 and made significant enhancements in 2008, adding multiple spotlights, and events. In 2009, with the launch of Student Administration we made minor changes to the user interface but began discussions with campus stakeholders regarding their needs. The needs identified were improving the integration of events and calendar, enhancing discussions, and providing tools for student groups, committees, and small departments to use myUMBC to collaborate. Based on that feedback, we have completely rewritten myUMBC. The original version was in written in a language called PHP. The new version is written using the Ruby-on-Rails framework. Ruby is used for applications ranging from twitter to yellow-pages and is prized for its flexibility. The goal of making this change was to 1) Improve DoIT’s abililty to respond to new requests, and 2) Provide more flexibility in supporting a variety of web interfaces, including mobile devices. On August 14th starting at 10:00AM, you will see a redesigned version of myUMBC. Please bare with us while the change is made, there may be periods during the weekend where system adjustments are made. The most noticeable change is that the dashboard has moved from the left-hand side to the top of the page. This was done so we could improve the layout of secondary pages. The major enhancements are the introduction of what we call group pages. These pages allow a group, committee, or department to create a web site where you can control content based on whether you are a member or not. Groups can be found through the community pull-down that is adjacent to the Topics pull-down. By going to the pull down you can find information on groups you can participate in or that you have joined.We have added features for group discussions, calendar, spotlights, media links, and basic web pages -- all of which can be controlled via a simple web interface. Sample Screen Shot of New Dashboard A second enhancement is the way we have revamped the topic pages. Topic pages are now dynamically generated and will be much more consistent across the various topic pages. This allows DoIT to quickly modify a topic page and should improve the usability and consistency of myUMBC. A third enhancement is we have revamped the way that calendars and events work. We redesigned the interface and made it much easier to add events. Calendars now provide filters and an iCal interface so you can subscribe specific events to a google calendar or mobile device and always be kept up to date. All these changes are designed to make myUMBC more usable and more integral to the day-to-day needs of the UMBC community. We want and need your feedback but we ask that you give these changes a chance. Our user-testing has shown that once people get acclimated to the new interface they find this more intuitive than prior myUMBC versions. That said, we need your feedback. Please Visit the MyUMBC BETA Site at: http://myumbc3.my.umbc.edu/ This site is a work in progress but should provide you with a sense of the changes being made.
Posted: August 2, 2010, 11:23 AM