jewel on line at last

This is my personal weblog where I get to be as crabby as I want to be.

2.02.2006

How to demotivate a user

It happens I am a graduate student verrrry slowly getting my MA in English on account of I have a full time job, a child and a writing career. I live in a rural area where broadband is not available. Today I had to drop one class and add another. A couple of years ago, the CSU system implemented (and I say that advisedly, I believe the better word might be "inflicted") PeopleSoft for registration. Having previously seen a PS implementation fail miserably because (imho) PS is in fact, crafted for one and only one organization in the entire universe and that organization doesn't really exist. No actual organization in business realizes or understand the scope of "customization" until it's too late. They have sold their souls to consultants who want their check before they will implement a broken system incomprehensible to real users. (This is because the consultants made up the "typical" user and it doesn't matter to them that there is no such user.) Today I am home with a sick child...

Here's the chronology:

10:02 am: go to university website and login to student services. From there my choices are (in ugly default html buttons):
CMS
webCT
Webmail
CMS-HR

Now, I know from experience I want the first one. I do NOT know this because the acronym is meaningful. In fact, the only one that makes sense is the one that will probably be in the dictionary one day: webmail. The rest? Who the hell knows? Nowhere on the page are they explained. I click on the button.

Cue the Jeopardy Theme Song, intercut with pictures of student staring listlessly at a mostly blank screen while listening for the sounds of a child about to barf again...



10:17 am: At last, the PeopleSoft Screen. Yes, from 10:02 to 10:17, my computer was logging to the registration system and rendering the PS registration home page. I must click on Learner Services (Gee, how patronizing is that?) For the next nine minutes, I endure a horrifyingly slow and stupid series of clicks and page renderings (Can you say I HATE Java?) in order to add a class and drop the other.

10:36 am: I log out.

Total elapsed time: 34 minutes.



My mental state: Irritated beyond belief.

Note: It would have taken much, much longer if I had not phoned the English Department for the course number (rather than looking it up in the registration system) while waiting for my white screen to show the link I needed to click on.

When I log off, I am dumped to a PS exit page with NO link back to my University's website. If I want to check my .edu email account (which I do) I have to start over and login again.

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