UX Case Study : FFCS on the go redesign

This is a case study based on the work that has been done as a project work during my Human Computer Interaction (HCI) course under Prof. Thenmozhi T in Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore. I will talk about how I redesigned FFCS on the go platform by finding the problems and fixing them.

What is FFCS?

All in all it’s a huge pressure planning out a perfect timetable specially when the FFCS servers are online only during the D-day. That is why FFCS on the go was made in 2016 to make FFCS planning easier for the students. But it was never updated all this while. I have been a user of the platform for 2 years and I thought the upgrade was necessary at this point.

Link to the existing website — https://ffcsonthego.vatz88.in/

Research

  1. First I did the heuristics analysis of the existing website using Neilson’s 10 design heuristic.
  2. Then I carried out 5 user interviews over google meet due to the pandemic to understand the user problems even better.

I did not feel the need to make a user persona for my understanding because my volunteers were my seniors and freshers from college who I already knew.

Problems identified

  1. The first time the user looks at the interface, it is difficult to convey the main functionality of the website because there is no prominent Hero section in order to highlight the features and the capability of the project.
  2. The user elements are stacked in a way it increases the cognitive load for the user and everything is presented at once. In this way the user is overwhelmed at the first appearance of the website and this has to be avoided by segmenting the website into different parts or sections.
  3. When there is a possibility for the clashing of the courses because of the overlapping on the courses, the indication for this particular issue is not so prominent which is why the user continues to choose the courses even when the courses are clashing because they have to manually query about the flashing by scrolling down to the area where the time table is being shown.
  4. Another major problem that was noted during user interviews was that there is no personalization involved in the current version. By that they meant the website would still show them subjects that they have already completed as an option. But they still were not comfortable with signing up.

Solution

I decided to split the platform in 4 web pages namely the home page, comments page, credits page and the FAQs section.

The user flow and the wireframes of the redesign are as follows.

User flow
Home page wireframe
FAQ and Comments page wireframe
Credits page wireframe

The User Interface

  • An organized header for the website that lets the users understand the platform even better and also gives a brief introduction to the functionalities that are present.
Header
  • The slot clashing is a major issue that students face during FFCS. To avoid that in this version I made sure the selection of the same slot subjects is not possible itself, as I implemented a color change on hover if any subject already exists in the same slot. The color changes to red as to alarm the users that the action is not possible.
The red colored options are not clickable
  • To tackle the problem of completed courses being offered as an option, I introduced a “Upload credit history” option. This list is easily available on the college’s student website. Although this is not a compulsory option as a few were resistant on uploading their credit history. This helped us not only stop the platform from showing completed courses as an option but also gave us another functionality.
Before and after the credit history is updated
  • The new functionality that the credit history upload allowed us to implement is the display of remaining credits to be completed. This helps the students immensely while planning their timetable as certain number of credits are compulsorily meant to be done from the electives and core subject list.
  • A small issue that the users faced after this was identifying which course was offered under elective and core. To get that trouble off their shoulders, I added a drop down option of choosing the course category from electives and cores.

Another useful feature here is users can just select the course category and leave the rest of the options empty to get a list of courses offered under that category!

Drop down option to choose core subjects or university subject
  • The users complained that the comment section was often crowded and wasn’t really as fruitful as they thought because the UI looked too cluttered. So I decided to make a new page for the same. This was very crucial for us as well. Since we’re students, regular testing and finding bugs is a difficult task to do, but this comments platform ensured us that if there’s some issue with the website then the users can directly let us know through the comments!
Comments page used to report bugs and help trade subjects or slots
  • I introduced a FAQ section as well that had general information about FFCS and how to use the platform step by step for the freshers and any other new users.
FAQs as a guide for new users

Validation Testing

That’s all

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Pre final year at VIT Vellore, UX Designer who loves humanizing tech