QCARD’s fixable flaws

QCARD probably receives more use in September than during any other time of year. It’s hardly surprising then that the service’s largely fixable flaws become most noticeable during this time.

QCARD is far more inaccessible than it needs to be. For a service that is essential to every single student at this University, it is inoperative far too often.

QCARD should be consistently accessible every day of the week and at times later than eight at night. Many students lead busy lives and are sometimes unable to find time to use QCARD during its hours of operation. It is understandable why services that require human interaction are limited to standard business hours, but QCARD is a website. Most websites are accessible at any time of day and on any day of the week. QCARD shouldn’t be an exception.

Another problem with QCARD is its organizational structure. Users who wish to view their fee account information, for example, are directed to a window that does not permit them to return to the QCARD main menu. Instead, users must exit QCARD entirely and log on again. This is particularly frustrating when users then find that they can no longer log back onto QCARD because the server is all of a sudden too busy.

Some may claim that the fee account information dead end is a safety feature so that those who use public computers are not unknowingly allowing others to access their private information. However, the portion of QCARD that displays other private information, such as addresses and phone numbers, does not lead users into a dead end. In this regard, QCARD is inconsistent for unclear reasons.

Still, for all its faults, QCARD could be much worse. Some other universities require students to register for courses over the phone by pushing numbers on a touchtone while struggling with an automated voice.

However, the argument that something could be worse is not an excuse for why it is needlessly flawed. Some of QCARD’s flaws can be appropriately addressed with only minimal work on the part of ITS.

The University should do more to explain to students why QCARD works the way it does and why QCARD’s fixable flaws are not being fixed.

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