Monday, March 14, 2016

Usability issues of CCV


By Mert Metin

Canadian Common CV (CCV) is a web based CV management tool that help researchers to create their CV in multiple formats which is required by federal, provincial and non-profit organizations for funding. That way, researchers create their CV once and use it for several funding applications. However, there are so many usability issues in the tool that may actually waste their time.

CV field issues:

One problem I see in CV fields is that there’s no parent-child field mechanism and sometimes the order of fields is wrong. As seen in the picture below, city is a text box instead of a combo box so I have to type a city name instead of picking one from a list. This is a problem because I may mistype the field  which is quite common among users. Ideally, the country field should be before the city field and cities should be listed in a combo box after I pick a country. The same problem occurs in different sections of CV too.

No parent child mechanism between city and country fields.

Another problem occurs when I enter an invalid value for a field. For example, when I enter an invalid date, it sends me to the main CV page and clears the value I added instead of keeping me in same page and showing the error or telling me why the field is invalid.

Publication detail page:

Publication detail page - invalid date.

Main CV page (where I am sent to):

Main CV Page - "Date was not a valid year" error.

Done button is on the top:

Some sections in CCV have a lot of fields. You have to scroll down to fill all of them. The problem is that CCV has done button on the top of the page. So after you complete the fields, you should scroll up again to save your CV. Ideally, this button should be at the bottom so  users don’t have to scroll up again.
Done button is on the top.

“Preview” is not really preview:

Preview is a strong feature that displays the content of a document. CCV has that feature too but it works a bit different. Every time I click preview button, I actually download the CV, instead of viewing it in the browser. In most content management systems (e.g MediaWiki, WordPress), preview shows the content in nice format in the browser. Besides, CCV downloads the CV in PDF format, so you should also have a pdf viewer to see it in your computer.

Giving error for some reason and does not tell you why:

I update my CV very often. When I enter some data and save it, I sometimes get the error below:

System error.
The error does not say anything about the cause of the problem. It looks like it is not related to the data I entered. Instead, it seems like they are having some difficulties in their servers.

Choosing publications for funding:  

NSERC asks for publications from the past 6 years. However, there is no option to select them easily.

To do that, I have to check the date for each publication I have. But the problem is that when publication title is too long, a horizontal scrollbar appears (as seen in the picture below) and I have scroll right every time to see the date of the publication and if it is from the past 6 years, I have scroll left again to tick the checkbox. This is a bit awkward.

A list of journal articles with long titles.
Date check by scrolling right.


The issues I listed above is just small selection of the large number of usability problems. They should make it much better than now by fixing those errors if they really want to help researchers.

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