GITI’s Hidden Talents

GITI comes across as a very timid web app. It doesn’t even attempt to be Web 2.0 at all, aside from a little CSS, but things are not as simple as they appear on the surface. There are many functions and tools hidden in GITI that have hardly ever made it to a menu. I don’t know why I have allowed things to get like they are, but there is NOT a good menu system for GITI at this point. For something with Interface in its name, it is lacking in end-user friendly components, such as menus that clearly outline the functions that are available.

Last fall, Chris became a student and at the same time became a GITI user for more than tracking what sneakers he wore when (a module he wrote). At the time the class tracking functionality was somewhat limited, most things had to still be managed manually, except for class closing (which is easier to do one class at a time as they close when you are bored at the end of a semester… when do you think the function was written anyway?). I added more features to make things easier,  including a class planning and registration process, but  that functionality was not apparent and the entire process was a little obtuse. Functions designed to make batch management simpler ended up being easier to do manually, one course at a time. Seems a little counter-productive. The truth is, aside from the new welcome page for the Education module (which almost screams “MAIN MENU”), nothing else even gives a hint to the new functionality. Part of GITI’s charm is supposed to be an integrated menu system that is universal across the system which will allow “one click” navigation (in v1 it was like 3, but still, no new page to load to get to your function). Getting from place to place should not require loading a separate page, and certainly should not require actually entering the module to get access to its internal side bar menu, that makes the modules too independent and less part of a cohesive system.

Another thing that has come to my attention is that GITI is no longer modular. If you pull out certain modules, other modules stop working. They are more like organizational units of functional code. Education now has a dependency in Address Book, Address Book has a dependency on the Asset manager functionality, nothing is separate anymore. The lack of separation makes GITI more usable in my opinion, but it also makes it less versatile. There is no common API yet, just a bunch of code held together by a string (literally, a string variable, called cmd).

So much stuff is hidden because it isn’t in a menu and isn’t in a user friendly location. There are functions in GITI that even I forgot were there.

One thought on “GITI’s Hidden Talents

  1. points for use of the word “obtuse”… (that word makes me flash back to The Shawshank Redemption)
    if you ever want help putting together an interface… I”d be happy to lend my (massive) icon collection… could even make it theme-able… I do love a good icon theme ya know 😉

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