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Is it art?: MyManchester

University is hard. Dealing with deadlines, passive-aggressive flat mates, hangovers, and generally attempting to stay alive? Hard, hard, hard, hard.

In my third year of University, I thought I’d mastered every challenge the University could throw at me, like staying well hydrated and having a well-organised diary.

That’s until the University of Manchester through a curve-ball. Updating the MyManchester website.

I was born with the struggle of having a name that indicated a class status I could simply never live up to. The sheer amount of syllables suggesting that I’ve never been on a Butlins holiday, nor that I speak with a regional accent. But on I struggled, soldiering on.

This is where I’m prejudiced against MyManchester. Once, all I had to do was type in a 8-letter IT code. Now, I have to write my full name, followed by an email address? Ludicrous.

Look, I’m not stupid either. There are people who have greater struggles than I. Those who have double-barrelled names? I don’t know how you do it.

Once you enter the new MyManchester, I’ll admit it: it’s aesthetically pleasing. But hidden away are the three key uses of MyManchester: access to emails, access to blackboard, access to the library.

I used MyManchester for a few purposes. 1) To see whether I am going to be fined anytime soon for forgetting for the many books I have taken out of the library. 2) To look at my timetable, because somehow in week 7 I have managed to forget where my seminar, that starts in 5 minutes, is. 3) To quickly get onto Blackboard to hand-in those pressing assignments.

So, an extra log-in means an extra few seconds I could have on an assignment, or watching Netflix.

If you’ve got to this point of the article, first of all, congrats. But you must be thinking:

“Isn’t this section called “Is it art?” Not “Is it good design?” Isn’t there a distinction between design and art?”

You would be raising valid questions. However, I would suggest that we’ve established that this website is not practical design, but is it art?

Maybe there is a wider symbolism to the website. Perhaps, there is something to take away here. University isn’t easy, and we can’t expect everything in life to be as simple as it should be. What better way could the University of Manchester prepare us, than by complicating the easiest of tasks.

Verdict: Maybe it’s art, but it’s certainly not good design.

Tags: is it art, MyManchester, satire, university life

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