During the fall semester of 2020, Maryville College redesigned its online hub of academic resources, course information, and online assignment portal: The Tartan.
The Tartan was updated to “incorporate the new Ultra Base Navigation,” said Assistant Database Administrator Nicole Fritts. “This new navigation has a sleek, modern look and feel and will save you time with simpler workflows and easier access to important information. It is a modern, intuitive navigation menu that lives outside of courses. It includes links to new pages such as the Activity Stream, Calendar, Messages, etc. that provide quick access to the most critical information consolidated from all your courses.”
The Ultra Base Navigation is also supposed to work just as well on mobile devices and aggregates important information such grades and the calendar into a single “global” view. The Tartan’s flashy new design is certainly more visually appealing, but how effective are the functional “improvements” to the site?
“I think the redesign just looks nicer and is easier to use,” said MC junior Sarah Cardall. “I can still access my classes and submit assignments the same way, but I like how you can view courses in a grid with cover photos instead of a list.”
Perhaps the most noticeable design choice has been that the opening page contains bright obvious links to academic and student resources, instead of a course list like many were hoping.
“I like change in general and freshening things up, but it ultimately didn’t make things easier like it was promoted to,” said MC sophomore Katie Leming. “The change mostly seems to be in the header and making it look more cohesive to the school’s colors. It seemed pointless to change the layout as they did. It reminded me of when Snapchat or Instagram randomly updates their layout, and everyone hates it for a week or so but then gets used to it.
The changes didn’t really make the Tartan easier to use. They just scrambled a few things up.”
Whatever your opinion on the Tartan redesign, this seems to be our online reality for the foreseeable future.