“All hope abandon, ye who enter here!” We were just sick and tired of the many and confusing sources of information that students used to plan their courses at Columbia. Frantically clicking between Culpa, Vergil, SSOL, and the Columbia directory as courses fill up during registration is an anxiety we are all too familiar with. We wanted to create a modern framework for students to discover, plan, and manage the courses that they want to take.
What it does
Dante is a framework that merges functionality, modularity, convenience and ease of use. From Dante’s centralized home pages, users are able to access a centralized and cleaner search terminal, define schedules, and view their progress to their degree. From the search terminal, save and bookmark your favorite courses to add to the planners. Tired of the directory’s unintegrated and downright ugly display? Dante’s search interface is cleaner and more intuitive. Then, using the schedules optionality, users can define two types of plans - a four year plan and a semester long plan. Toggle and compare schedules, and add your bookmarked classes to them. Even search classes directly from the schedule page. Visualize, plan, and view your requirements across years in the 4-year plan, and then switch over to specific semester plans to make sure all your courses don’t fall on T/Th or overlap. Finally, view your profile for statistics and how far you are in completing your degree.
How we built it
Our prototype was built entirely in Figma. Using material design principles to guide our user interface, we dragged and dropped till we couldn’t drag and drop no more.
Challenges we ran into
For most of us, this was our first time using a prototyping/wireframe software. We had trouble creating user interactions since relying on a prototyping tool required us to give up more control over animations and user experience than we’re used to. Additionally, in a design-oriented project, small annoyances like mismatched colors or unaligned text that we would normally overlook become much more crucial to the aesthetic of our project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
When coding a project, we normally focus on functionality over design. Although we have great ideas for what we want to create, our vision is often sacrificed to get the project running in time. But by foregoing coding and instead focusing on prototypes, we could let our minds run free. Colors… so many colors. And buttons, we got some of those too. So many different varieties of buttons. Red buttons. Blue buttons. One button. Two buttons. All the buttons you could ever need. And my oh my the buttons… they move stuff! Animations left and right, all over—smart ones at that! Press here and the screen moves there. Press there and the screen dissolves. If you want to organize your life, come to Dante.
What we learned
We learned a lot about prototyping, UI, and design fundamentals.
What's next for Dante
We are looking forward to turning our design prototype into a real working implementation by scraping the Directory, Bulletin, Vergil, and CULPA. Also, it would be awesome to partner with the Columbia registrar (wink wink if you’re reading this) to seamlessly integrate Dante with existing student and course databases.