Student complaints reach WebMail designer

By Djamila Noelle Grossman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, March 25, 2005

Student complaints about the new WebMail 2.5 are being taken into account as the new site may still be improved, but most reactions result from insufficient instructions on how to use the service, planners said.

Michael Torregrossa, director of computing services, said he has received a couple dozen complaints by users since the new site became available Feb. 22.

Most of the complaints Torregrossa received have been from students who said they were unsatisfied with the "extra click" needed to log in and log out and the lack of information on how to use WebMail efficiently, he said.

"I have to click on many things to get in, and then I have to click on them again to get out," said Christin Fox, a racetrack industry junior.

Fox said she knows little about the options that can be used in order to make the process more convenient, but said she doesn't have time to figure it out.

Although many complaints have been about the "extra click," Torregrossa said it is possible to log out directly if the user follows the directions on the logout window of WebMail.

Torregrossa said the "extra click" was added as a step-by-step transition, with the goal to make a home page that enables students to access all WebAuth services with a single login.

"Hopefully that'll make a little more sense as to why we added this (extra click) now," Torregrossa said. "It's all discussion right now, but it's part of a vision."

It is also possible to set WebAuth preferences, in order to skip the extra click, directly from the WebAuth window. Torregrossa said.

WebAuth is a security service intended to make Student Link, D2L, which stands for Desire 2 Learn, a replacement for WebCT, and WebMail more secure. It uses a login password instead of a four-digit identification number, which many people think is unsafe, Torregrossa said.

Setting the preferences does not change the security level but determines how long students are automatically logged into WebAuth.

Garrett Bennett, a retailing and consumer sciences junior, said he didn't know it was possible to go from WebMail to Student Link if logged into WebAuth. He said it would be nice if it were more obvious how to interchange between them.

"I can see the idea, but you can only access one at a time. They're only half way there," Bennett said.

Torregrossa said he is considering the possibility of putting links for direct access to student link and WebAuth on the logout window.

"That's a good suggestion, I think no one has ever thought of that," Torregrossa said, who wants to take the idea to the development team to see if the feature can be added.

The WebMail home page is also accessible from the WebMail site, but only contains the address book. A calendar and notebook, as well as links to all WebAuth services are planned to make this site more attractive, he said.

A new edition of WebMail will contain such features with planning discussions beginning this summer, Torregrossa said.

Torregrossa said many people using WebMail, "just want to go in, they want to read their e-mail and they want to go out," and he can see how any extra time to manage the account frustrates people.

"(But) we try to encourage people to make suggestions. We try to listen to them," Torregrossa said.

Crow Truett, a psychology junior said the only problem he has with the WebMail is the double click. Otherwise he likes the new design.

"Graphically it's a nice improvement and they increased a number of options," Truett said.