SA website gets a makeover, new features

AS’s websiteonce a nightmare of spaghetti code and lackluster user experience, has been revamped from header to footer by junior Ben Lapidus, principal systems analyst at Wilson Commons.

The redesign aimed to make the site more accessible, fix bugs, increase SA’s outreach capabilities, and clean up the back-end to facilitate future updates. After completing its two-month beta testing phase, it is now open to the public.

Lapidus said students should be excited to “Rocky’s Report,” a new blog run by SA that will allow them to post updates that will be automatically archived on the site. In a Feb. 7 presentation to the South African Senate, he suggested these updates could include news, files and achievements, and said the publishing process would be faster as changes will no longer need to go through the student activities of Lapidus and Wilson Commons.

On the accessibility front, all images are now automatically tagged with alt text to improve usability for the visually impaired. The site also now includes “breadcrumbs” that indicate which branch of government committees and other subtopic pages belong to. Lapidus said the categorization was the result of brainstorming with Junior Secretary and SA Public Relations Alondra Mendez, who suggested the site should help international students unfamiliar with the structure of US government grasp the division of power. of his.

Ultimately, it was the main design of the old website that spurred the rewrite. Lapidus said the code was a mess of patches that made it impossible to train new employees to maintain the site, and that the old design was causing issues on mobile browsers.

“Content was stored in a ton of different places, style code could be found in one of five places, etc.,” Lapidus said. “This meant that updates were difficult to execute and larger-scale updates were nearly impossible without breaking other functionality.”

The back-end has been redesigned to use a modular structure, so future pages can be built by assembling any of the more than a dozen components already designed.

“Just like Lego,” Lapidus said.

Senior Senator Ezra Kruger did not share Lapidus’ enthusiasm for the new site. He said the update had been a waste of SA’s limited resources given the few students interacting with it, and he didn’t want to waste any more time discussing it further.

Junior Senator Boris Sorokin, on the other hand, said he was very excited about the structural changes and the Rocky Report because it is “the most convenient way for students to be informed about the work of student government. “. He also thinks the Section “Open positions” of the site will make it easier for students to see which roles are accepting applications.

If students are interested in offering feedback on their experience with the site, they can complete the SA Website Redesign Beta Feedback Form on CCC to connect with Lapidus and his team.

Daniel L. Vasquez