Brunonian Interfaces 2.0

Do you want to put your foot through the computer every time you’re forced to use 25Live? Does sifting through Critical Review turn your brain into Silly Putty because the colors remind you of Silly Putty? Does seeing the Ratty Menu immediately squelch your appetite, not because of the food, but because of the ugly layout?

You’re in luck: this semester, students from CSCI1300: User Interfaces, taught by Professor Jeff Huang, honed their prowess in user experience design for their final project presentations, redesigning well-known Brown University interfaces.

[Note: Comments are not actually from Christina Paxson, Barack Obama, or any of the mentioned names below.]

wtf* Brown


The best place to start fixing is to fix the place that takes suggestions about what should be fixed! When you’re done repeating that sentence 20 times in a row, see below for a revamped version of wtf*brown, designed by Joe Engelman ‘17, Nate Parrott ‘17.5, and Erica Oh ‘18. This team created a mobile version of wtf*brown so that when the unappeasable thirst to fix something hits you, you can enter it into the application immediately.

To make wtf*Brown more interactive, the designers also devised a system encouraging students to up-vote a fix that they support by writing the issue on a Post-it and sticking it to the problem area. In theory, other students who agree with it can take a photo of the sticker to vote.


Perhaps the 25Live interface is a gating mechanism that Brown University uses to see how badly you want to plan that event — sort of like taking organic chemistry for pre-med students. It’s not even an endearing kind of awful; it’s just a giant clusterfuck of pastel tabs that may or may not lead you to the right page. In any case, check out this clearer, step-by-step interface made by Betty Peng ’17, Michael Markell ’18, and Neilly Tan ’18 that walks you through the simple act of booking Macmillan for a seminar on self-care during finals (but actually…).


Full explanation and comparison to the old design can be found here.

Critical Review

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I am a loyal reader of the Critical Review, but there are stats offered by the website that I zone in on more than others – for example, my eyes tend to dart towards the Hours, typical week because I like to confront my fate early on and accept the fact that I will be working on a Genetics problem set 15+ hours/week. This redesign, created by Lucy Zhou ‘17, Young-Rae Kim ‘17, Guo Wang ‘17, Adetola Sylvan ’17, incorporates a landing page that makes me feel like I’m about to embark on a journey through a catalog of wonder. It divides up the information on an otherwise text-heavy site, allowing you to see the statistics separate from the description.

GET Portal

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As a student who reached a dangerously low level of meal credits sometime in late October, I was aware that tracking my credit, points, and Bear Bucks balance from that time until the end of the semester was vital to my survival. Doing so on a mobile application would have been useful, as the only way to navigate to the GET portal is knowing that it’s hard to get to and resorting to Googling “GET Portal Brown”. Created by Taylor Alarcon ’17, Emily Dinger ’17, Lucy Wei ’19, and Andrew Tian, a first year graduate student in the CS department, this lovely mobile GET portal can hopefully prevent people from landing in my situation.



An upgrade from the current Brown Dining Services page, this BrownEats design by Maddie Johnson ’16, Abby Sessions ’16, Nicole Shimer ’16, Ross Frieman-Mendel ’16, and Isabel Runge ’16 lets you scroll through menus for one particular eatery while listing featured options from the main four campus eateries on the home page for easy comparison. Thirsty Thursday Iced Tea Special, anyone? Additionally, BrownEats includes filters based on dietary restrictions, as well as a page with meal plan information.

Images via the redesign creators.

1 Comment

  1. orangeuniversity

    someone should redesign banner too

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