by Alex Masse, Staff Writer
Before the pandemic, goSFU had its fair share of dislike from the student body. At the time of writing, “goSFU not working” is the third autofill suggestion for “goSFU” on Google.
It’s not surprising. I, for one, have plenty of horror stories. Glitches and cookie issues are only some of the annoying problems I take time out of my day to fix. These problems are just another stressor in my already busy life, and I know I’m not alone. Students don’t have the time or energy to deal with fixing these issues. SFU needs to breathe new life into goSFU, especially considering we’re all still stuck learning from our computers.
The simple fact that my peers and I often ask each other if the site is down, or if something’s wrong on our end, highlights the platform’s faulty nature. More than once, I’ve reached out to someone simply because I couldn’t find something I needed, and hoped they knew where on the site it was hiding. It’s all so unintuitive in nature, and generally just a headache to deal with.
To make matters worse, students can’t even try to fix any technical issues they have because the support site for goSFU is bare bones at best. There’s only one little paragraph dedicated to accessing the website, and it’s mostly about new students or those still in the application process. There is also no clear contact information for any real technical help, just a general SFU hotline.
Besides all of its clunky login and support issues, goSFU is just downright outdated in design, being so barren and text-reliant. It’s layout is also rather uneven: there are entire blank spaces on one side, while the other has as many links as possible squeezed tightly together. The main menu is hidden in tiny text at the top of the screen, and navigating it is a labyrinth of sub-menus upon sub-sub-menus. It’s confusing, easy to get lost in, and just an overall accessibility nightmare.
Additionally, goSFU’s mobile equivalent was discontinued last year, with SFU Snap now the school’s main informational app. It’s not any better though; it has its fair share of complaints on the App Store review page and is rated two and a half stars.
“After the new update, I can’t even open the app anymore,” reads one review from last September. “I don’t see the point of keeping this app on my phone,” reads another. A student even complains of a “fatal flaw,” where the app gave them the wrong lecture time and made them miss class. Students are literally missing the education they pay for because of glitches within the system that is supposed to help them.
SFU can definitely afford to do better than buggy, inconsistent websites and apps students more or less have to fight their way into. It’s 2021, and it’s easy to see just how much is possible on the technological forefront. Web design and development today is practically its own art form. Even looking at the portfolios from SFU alumni gives you an idea as to how much can be done with an interface. They’re professional, they’re usable, and they make goSFU look even more outdated.
SFU’s main digital service is long overdue for a much-needed renovation, especially now that we’re almost a year into remote learning. It needs to change for the ease of all students’ education.