UWB Hacks 2021 Track

Tools Track (Helping other students achieve success while learning from home) and the wildcard track.

Inspiration Story

Most of our teammates have come into the University of Washington Bothell during the pandemic. During this time it was hard to connect with other students to understand which courses we should be taking with which instructors. Each of us had to rely on the University of Washington course evaluation catalog to find the courses with the ratings that mattered to each of us, but it was extremely difficult to do that on the school's website, because it is outdated and difficult to use. Our team and other students deserve accessible data and a course search system that is easy to use, and that is why our team committed to making a user-friendly and accessible website for the University of Washington.

What it does

Our website is a user-friendly site that allows students to directly search course names to gather information that will help them select which courses to take in upcoming or current quarters. This course information contains ratings of course material and instructor effectiveness that can help student choose courses and instructors that meet their learning needs.

User Experience

Our new design has a search bar, a much more practical way of searching through thousands of classes. Users can directly search the course they want to see evaluations from and data will immediately populate with the course name, the instructor name and the quarter it was taught. We also redesigned the subpages that provide teacher ratings and statistics. The old design provided a dense table that was hard to decipher; we wanted to improve this by providing easy-to-read figures and accompanying visuals. We also redesigned buttons on the page for the user to easily get to their MyUW account so they could directly register for the classes that they just reviewed.

How we built it

We wanted to make a user-centric website so we first designed our website using the UI tool Figma. In Figma we made sure to use contrast in fonts and images to make the website easy to read and easy to use. After we created our design of the website we ran several user-studies to make sure our design was accessible to users of the site. We then used a mix of html and JavaScript to create the website following the design made in Figma. We also created artificial datasets, to make sure we did not violate the school's privacy, and a database to access information from the search bar on the website. We formatted the artificial data into an excel spreadsheet where we could access the information from the database.

Challenges we ran into

Most of use are fairly new programmers and have no experience with databases, but that is what hackathons are for! We struggled creating our database in html on our website. Another challenge we faced was extracted data with the search function on the website. Ultimately if we had more time we would work out these bugs, but it was an incredible learning experience.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This was many of our team members first hackathon so we are all proud of working together to make something that not only our team members will benefit from but all of our fellow peers at school will benefit from. Each of us are proud lean into being "user-focused" engineers and curate accessible and fun experiences accessing needed data.

What we learned

Each of us learned a unique skillset that we had not had before this hackathon. Each of us programmed in html, which was the first time programming in this language for many of our team members. Our goal was to make our site fun and easy to use, so there was a lot of UI/UX components that each of us learned throughout this hackathon. Our team worked collaboratively through GitHub and we learned how to use GitHub collaboratively all together and learned how to work as a programming team.

What's next for University of Washington A New Course Evaluation Catalog

Our next steps would be to reach out to the University of Washington, who has already expressed concern about this outdated website, and help integrate our design into their current framework as a team. This would allow them to showcase their students work and ultimately have a much needed website renovation for free!

Before submitting the project to the University of Washington to use we would have to make sure all of the front end code matches the Figma file and that our search bar can access our artificial data. For this to work for the University of Washington would have to have access to their catalog database to get the data for the course evaluation and integrate into our design.

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