A Visual and Technical Overhaul Student and Staff Directory Feature
The CATLab is proud to launch a new and improved iteration of the digital Student and Staff Directory. The project, headed by CATLab student developer Josh Fitzgerald, will overhaul an outdated and clunky user interface into a sleek and modern program that efficiently navigates students and staff wherever they need to go. Notable new features include a more robust filter system, the ability for students to dictate privacy settings, and a redesigned interface.
The Need for a New System
Near to the top of a list for go to overhauls of Westmont’s digital architecture was a redesign of the student and staff directory. For too long, Westmont community members have utilized an outdated and clunky directory system that is frustrating and confusing to work with.
“Currently, we have a system that has buttons that no one knows what they do,” project lead Josh Fitzgerald remarks. On the current directory system, there are numerous icons that are interactable, but serve no direct purpose relevant to students. To fix that, Josh continues that, “one of the main goals of the new system is to be as user friendly and intimate as possible,” with the new directory featuring far more streamlined and useful tools that students can actually utilize.
Keeping in line that students and staff want a modern overhaul, Fitzgerald continues, stating that “students now also have concerns about their privacy on the directory,” alluding to the current system, which by default presents the phone numbers and home address of every current Westmont student. In an age where privacy concerns are continually growing, Fitzgerald knew one of the top priorities of the new system was to ensure that students could control whether or not their personal information was accessible by other students.
Lastly, Fitzgerald and his team wanted to focus heavily on the system available to Westmont staff, which is a separate interface from the student oriented program. For staff, the new directory needed to focus on providing crucial information on students in a single place, without the hassle of opening up many different tabs for information.
With these ambitious goals guiding them, Josh Fitzgerald and his team set out to build a necessary and exceptional overhaul of the current directory that would benefit students and staff for years to come.
A fantastic new feature in the redesigned system is the revamped filter system. Previously, students and staff had little ability to search for specifics about a group of students. In the current system, there is no way to specifically request students in a particular major or minor, or specifically search for sections in a residence hall. For both students and staff, these specific needs are unable to be met by the outdated system of old.
However, with the overhauled directory, students and staff have access to these new filters and more. Now, professors can easily find students in their specific department, students can quickly locate fellow residence hall students, and so much more. With the power of filters, the community of Westmont can come together far more quickly and more efficiently.
In the current iteration of the Westmont directory, a student’s personal information is displayed by default. Unfortunately, students have no real means to hide their address and phone number from other students. While Westmont encourages students to meet and create lasting communities, it recognizes the privacy concerns of students in a world that is unfortunately dominated by misuse of personal information.
Thankfully, in the new directory students are able to decide what information they choose to share with fellow students via the directory. Students will have access to turn off the sharing of their address or phone number via a direct search on the directory. Should students want to communicate with one another by using the directory, students’ Westmont email addresses will be displayed as a means to make contact. Of course, staff members will have access to this information by default in case of any emergency situation.
Another key focus for Fitzgerald and his development team was completely overhauling the visuals of the current system. Though intuitive at the time of its creation, the current directory is visually outdated and underdeveloped in a 21st-century digital environment. In line with the CATLab’s goal of rejuvenating Westmont’s digital appearance, the directory is being redesigned into a layout that fits within the sleek and modern aesthetic of Westmont’s digital design.
Foremost among the visual changes to the directory is a shift from the confusing and overlapping rows of the past iteration to a simple grid-based layout. Now, students can view directory searches with a card-based grid, featuring easy-to-understand grids of student data. Rather than the time spent scrolling through pages of student information in the past, the new system enables students to efficiently and quickly get whatever data they need.
In addition to revamping the student experience, Fitzgerald also redesigned the Staff and Faculty Directory to be tailor-made to fit the needs of Westmont employees. They now have easy access to relevant student information such as major, address, phone numbers, and more all from one search page.
Like all the other essential projects created by the CATLab this summer, the new Directory program was made for Westmont, by Westmont. In creating an overhauled and rejuvenated system, Fitzgerald and his team have enabled students and staff to utilize an easy-to-use system that quickly gets relevant information and delivers it with a modern sheen. As Westmont expands into an increasingly digital age, projects like the Student Directory will ensure the institution's success for years to come.
To see more project highlights, follow our social media!