FlashLine | Kent State University

FlashLine’s New UI Provides Slicker, More User-Friendly Approach to Navigation

Information Services  has officially released a redesigned FlashLine user interface. The revision has given the application an all-new look and feel, while still retaining all of the familiar elements you use everyday.

Specifically, the new UI has made significant improvements to navigation, allowing you to find what they are looking for more quickly than ever before.

“Since we went live with the new FlashLine Portal, we have been in a state of continuously seeking feedback from users on what they like and don’t like,” says Sameer Jaleel, Systems Development and Innovation Interim Executive Director.

“And we have learned from that that there are particular areas like navigation where people are struggling. There is evidently a learning curve for most new users until they develop familiarity, and so we want to reduce or eliminate that learning curve.”

User Interface

In an effort to do so, the hierarchy of the User Interface workflow has been significantly revised.

Front-end Developer, Eddie Zgonc, shares that an “all-new leftside fly-out menu now allows users to navigate to their target with only one click, as opposed to the previous two or more clicks.” This can be toggled to narrow or wide view, providing users with more screen real-estate.

Flashline new navigation for desktop

When hovering over items in a list or menu, user information is now displayed and available for immediate toggle (including email, major, banner ID, student-worker information, and more).

All the while, as the project’s UX/UI Designer RaviTeja Bandaru explains, local navigation now allows users to stay on a page, instead of having to switch back and forth between one or more upon clicking on an item.

Concurrently, mobile navigation has been improved. In place of the previous accordion-style menu, which required users to scroll down after opening a menu, multi-tiered slide-in menus now allow users to dig into categories seamlessly.

With this revised, clear-cut navigation, the number of clicks to get to a destination is ultimately being reduced.

And best of all, whether accessing FlashLine via a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, this improved responsiveness adapts seamlessly between platforms.

Flashline new navigation for mobile

Accessibility

Furthermore, these changes have been implemented with accessibility in mind.

“The UI has been given a newer, cleaner look without sacrificing usability,” explains Information Services’ Accessibility Specialist Doug Flower.

He stresses one especially important element of the new UI: that anyone who knows their way around the previous Flashline layout should be able to jump right in without having to relearn how everything works.

A sticky header is available to help keep important features like Search and Checklists easily accessible, no matter where a user is on a page; and utilities like logging into Blackboard, checking email, or reading notifications are now even easier to reach on tablet and mobile devices.

Moreover, the redesign ensures that any users unable to use a mouse can still take full advantage of everything Flashline has to offer with their keyboard.

And for those who use a screen reader, labels on buttons, links, and other controls have been refined, making interacting with the interface easier to understand and operate.

Pioneer

This revision comes after KSU’s Pioneer Program was launched earlier this year, which provides early adopters access to cutting-edge products before they are released, in order to gauge user experience.

With access to the new FlashLine UI well before its official release, early adopters were able to provide feedback about what was working and what could be improved.

“What we are learning from Pioneer is that these changes are effective,” says Jaleel.

“We want to continue to make data-driven improvements to FlashLine, and Pioneer is a way for us to collect that data after we implement a change, ensuring that it is successful.”

Looking Ahead

Information Services plans to continue to carry out user research and testing to better improve its products for the University, which include the KSUMobile app, the Events Calendar, and the Manage My Program app, to name just a few.

Check out some of the other projects Systems Development and Innovation has been up to, and stay tuned for new announcements!