It’s that time of year again when our “trusty” friend Mosaic has decided it needs to slap on some lipstick on and call it an update. Mosaic, McMaster’s semi-new administrative information system, has a history of trying to improve it’s site visually with defective updates. The updates fail to deliver a functional, appealing product for students, professors, and administration. This year’s update, completed on October 31st, was not indifferent to the many of renovations preceding it, all while creating a multitude of new errors.

1. The Home Page

As much as Mosaic has attempted to throw itself into 2016 with minimalist graphics, it still falls short on providing a combination of decent design and easy usability. Sure, the little vector images are somewhat pleasant to look at, but the tiled layout is straight up confusing. The contrast to the old page is so harsh that the page becomes unreadable and now we’re more lost than we were before. There’s a drop down Home menu that’s centered for no apparent reason, you’ll see icons that are disgustingly close to the edge of the page and sometimes the red bar on the bottom doesn’t go all the way across. Safe to say this home page is a graphic designer’s nightmare.


2. The Other Pages

Goddamn it, Mosaic. You take another 3-day vacation in the MIDDLE of the semester to update, and you don’t even change half the content? Taking a quick look at almost any clickable page, students will see the that the only significant change to the site that was made was to the Home Page. The Student Center tab has gone upsettingly unchanged, including the frustrating and hard to navigate Plan and Enroll system for course selection. These sections are arguably the worst aspects of Mosaic and desperately need a facelift.

3. The Errors

While logging into Mosaic, you’re greeted with a lovely, little error message that lists “There is no current buffer context.” Refresh the page, and you’ll notice in the We Fucked Up Mosaic Alerts section that you need to clear your browser cache to resolve the issue. You can do so by holding down shift and clicking refresh, or by clicking control + F5. However, you won’t be able to do these short cuts on mobile and sometimes they don’t work. If you manage to get into the site (which I don’t know why you would really want to), you’ll happen upon an abundance of currently unfixable errors hidden within. Let’s cross our fingers that the next update to fix those errors isn’t during January, when we’re all trying to access the site to change courses.


4. The Mosaic Upgrade Orientation Video – October Edition

Looking to the second tile in the first row, you’ll see a video viewer for a quick tutorial on how to use the new site. Great! At least the creators know that we’re going to need help to steer through the new “improvements.” Watching the video, you’ll notice that many of the new features being showcased are the ones creating all the obnoxious errors on the live site, making this video a mockery. The video doesn’t even care to address that there are any problems with the site to begin with, which it should because, you know, it’s supposed to be there to help.

5. The Lack of the Search Bar

Mosaic before was only slightly less horrible than it is now, but it’s always been lacking one important aspect: the search bar. Mosaic, really? You’re going to ignore making student’s live’s easier by dismissing the fact that a search function exists on almost every other website? Eagerly waiting for this change, some had high hopes, as the compass looking icon in the upper right-hand corner was labeled as Navigation. Alas, it too creates an error message. Adding a website staple like the search bar to Mosaic could eliminate clicking the mouse 20+ times to reach what your destination. We barely have enough time to sleep and eat, let alone try to click our way through this bulky website.


What do you think about the new Mosaic interface? Did you run into the same problems that we did? What suggestions would you give to the Mosaic team so they can make a reliable product?


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