Photo by Hayden Garrett

Those involved with Otterbein University are in constant contact with My O-ZoneWhether it's checking in on COVID-19 guidelines, university updates or just trying to log onto Self Service Banner to schedule classes, My O-Zone is the hub for all things Otterbein. Still, many argue that the program is difficult to use. Once on the website, users face inaccessible links and a confusing layout, as well as the page constantly reloading itself.

Aaron Spittell, an Otterbein sophomore, described some issues he has come across while using the site. 

“I think O-Zone is pretty limited in function. It’s extremely hard to navigate either when scheduling or trying to pay tuition," he said. "I always end up clicking the wrong section and have to backtrack to get where I want to go.” Spittell also described the discouraging feeling that came with navigating the site. “I also feel that since it’s so hard to navigate, I do not explore all of its possible functions and choose to ignore the app as much as I can.” If frustration over the O-Zone's unfriendly interface causes students and parents to ignore it, they may miss out on aspects they could benefit from. 

Enterprise Web App Specialist Tim Walsh and IT Services Partnership Staff member Steven Birmingham were open about the website and its capabilities. They also provided the answer as to why certain parts of the website are difficult to reach or simply unavailable.

          

"There’s a lot of security built into [the site]. So sometimes what occurs is folks might not have access to everything they want as quickly as they want, and they have to request access,” Walsh said. "That's sort of by design, not by Otterbein’s design, but rather by Microsoft 365 design. Lots of security, and it's in there for a reason, and that is because you don’t want people looking at your stuff.” 

As important as security is to Otterbein, the IT Department says it is still looking to boost functionality and prioritize user experience. 

"The site was launched six years ago through a collaborative effort that included students for feedback. Since then, enhancements have been made based on requests from stakeholders...we make incremental improvements over time based on stakeholder needs and suggestions," Birmingham said.

          

Something that concerned both Birmingham and Walsh was their lack of knowledge of a problem.  

“We don’t really, at the moment, have these reports coming in," Birmingham said. "So, the one thing I’d like to encourage you to do and any student to do is call us, email us, visit us...we want to hear about the struggles so that we can fix them.”  

When asked how the IT Department views the future of the My O-Zone, Walsh said, “Oh, it’s definitely a good one...it's come a long way from what it used to be...as technology evolves, we can evolve with it.”  

If you find an issue or are having problems, contact the IT Department at helpdesk@otterbein.edu.