By Amrutha Sivakumar, Daily Staff Reporter
Published May 8, 2013
Wolverine Access — the portal for University community members to access personal records — tends to slow down during periods of high traffic, often struggling under the strain of thousands of students attempting to access class schedules or other information. To combat this problem, Information and Technology Services will introduce a renovated site on May 11.
Mashon Allen, the mobile, web and portal product manager for ITS, said the changes were prompted by concerns over the functionality of the technological infrastructure that supported the portal.
“We’ve had some performance concerns over that environment, so we have decided to upgrade … (the) version of the software that Wolverine Access rests on,” Allen said.
While technological upgrades were being implemented, ITS also decided to freshen up the site's appearance by incorporating a new color scheme and image changes.
Allen said these changes would not impact user accessibility.
“We’ve worked really hard to maintain the existing features and functionality,” she said. “This upgrade should be fairly seamless to any customer that goes to Wolverine Access.”
Cassandra Carson, assistant director of enabling technologies, said the new technology would pave the way for future aesthetic and accessibility upgrades to the site.
“We want you to be able to pick what you want to see on your homepage, ” Carson said.
Carson added that these changes came with the possibility of implementing a more user-friendly approach for the website in the future.
Allen said though Wolverine Access won't contain any new customizable features on the 11th, ITS will continue to work on improving the site to provide users with a more dynamic experience. She said in the future, ITS would like the home page to be a customizable portal application.
“(Users) could then log into Wolverine Access to see the information that they would like versus the static look that we have now where you have to navigate to links,” he said.
Recently, ITS has been working to get students more involved in its system designing processes. Carson said this process allowed ITS to formulate upgrades based on user demand.
“Anything we do, we always make sure that we meet all the accessibility standards,” she said.
ITS analyzed user demand by conducting usability studies and surveys sent through different points on campus. The department also hired a University student to work on staff, which has allowed direct student input in the process.
Education graduate student Florencia Gomez said the lack of customizability of Wolverine Access inhibited her ability to access certain administrative systems. She believes that the lack of “adequate response to the user” was the administrative system’s major shortcoming.
“I think customizing the view of a website or an online system is always a benefit for the user,” she said. “It’s important to make improvements because Wolverine Access looks and feels out of date and it’s not very user friendly.”