Just work vs. User experience

I have a background in graphic design and consider myself a design elitist (thus my love for Apple’s industrial design). Changing from a designer to an analyst is quite a different world.

Example:

In an enhancement revisions to the housing lottery system, authentication for first-year freshman and transfer students is going to be handled differently than in prior years. Freshman and Transfers have to fill out different forms to secure their place on campus, which is also different from Returning students.

End users will now be required to enter some personal information, which is compared to data that has already been submitted to the University. Returning students will have to authenticate differently, using a pre-existing authentication method.

The programmers said there would be three login screens:

Returning StudentsNew FreshmanTransfer Students

The designer in me cringes at this response. Having students self select could lead to issues with new students not understanding what their classification is, e.g. I took an AP class, does that make me a transfer student or a new freshman?

By limiting end user choice increases the likelihood that they will select the appropriate option.

New Freshman and Transfer students are authenticating on the same criteria, but their status is held by the University, thusly they can be routed to the proper form by the system not by self selection.

Oh the difference between a designer and a programmer. If it just works, it doesn’t matter. If it works effectively, it makes a world of difference.