Feedback from Tom Bania

First comment:

My old password no longer worked and so I had to request a new on. I had not forgotten it, it is in a file, it clearly was reset....

So I get an email with 24 character long password that is meaningless.

OK. I then cut and paste this and successfully login and come up with the Dashboard screen.

Lots of folks are going to be going down this same route here and the first thing they will want to do is to change their password. And may not have done this recently. I certainly hadn't.

So Dashboard should have a Change Password Button on the Options screen right at the top.

I had to hunt for at least 5 minutes. Clicking Administration just gives the User Profile. You cannot change the password on this screen. You have to randomly click on your User Name to to Get a screen that allows you to change the password.

So, two key clicks and a hunting expedition. Just to start. This should not be necessary.

1. OK, started a new proposal and played with the options until only the current draft was displayed. Eventually clicked the hypertext link on the proposal ID number and got started.

2. Cover Sheet: I am clicking on both Stellar and Galactic for Scientific Category since 3He is both....

So Abstract must be ASCII text.... No browse and upload capability. Why not? Need to cut and paste apparently. I find this remarkable for a commercial product. Was this a (poor) choice on NRAO's part? Do you really think this will prevent folks from pasting in LaTeX code?

What does "Plan of Dissertation Research" mean? That this proposal is a dissertation proposal? Or that such a plan has been submitted? Or do you mean to say that this proposal is "Part of Dissertation Research"?

Saved the changes. Stellar,Galactic both noted on new cover. Excellent.

Then noted that, I think, the Observer Present for Observations which had been clicked YES was a NO (might have been user error) so went back to Edit. Edit switched Plan of Dissertation which had been set to YES back to NO. => Edit overrode existing Cover Sheet Information<=


(By the way: do we now get penalized in these days of dynamic scheduling for actually wanting to observe?)

3. Authors

This is progress. I am testing using my GBT proposal from last cycle. Two of the four co-authors generate the message:

The author you are trying to add is not in the database. Please log their name and email address We will contact them to register.

Only Balser and I seem to be in the database. These two other authors, Bob Rood and Loren Anderson, should be in the database.

What gives?

There is only an ADD button. Suppose you want to subtract an author? Suppose you want to change the order of the author list?

4. Science Justification

OK so I uploaded my previous GBT proposal .pdf file successfully.

Is "File Preview" supposed to be useful? I see 4 uploaded pages that I cannot magnify and so cannot check them.

5. Sources

I have just plugged in two sources by entering numbers in the GUI.

After the first one I clicked on SAVE. And the information disappeared, never to be seen again. How do I see this information?

I plugged in another set of numbers into the GUI. SAVEd again. Again the numbers disappeared. No list of two sources to be seen.

I then looked at the Science Justification and then returned to Sources.

Could not fetch the Source Group that I had just, supposedly, created.

The sources are going into Limbo. Where is Limbo? Can one edit Limbo?

Let's look at the Layout of this page. Huge real estate for the OPTIONS that appear on each web page (or most of them). Why?

Then critically different actions: Save Delete Cancel are set very close to each other and in very small zones, just asking for an errant click to undo lots of work.

And I got kicked off the site several times without notification. What is the time limit? Where are the warnings at the beginning about this autologoff feature? Where are the reminders as one gets close to the logout time?

Both Resources and Sessions should be uploadable from a file. Suppose you write lots of proposals using the same resources and sessions? Why do you build a system that requires that one enter information in a GUI and no other way?

Without this capability you are making things harder. You HAVE made things harder in that the old PST made you do this too. Back when we could propose with .pdf files, gee, we could cut and paste existing text.....

Sure it is really great to be able to have an electronic database to do all the tracking, scheduling, reviewing, tasks you have implemented. Bravo.

But you have done this at the cost of user flexibility. Many of us prefer to generate our information outside of a GUI first. Please give us the tools to upload this information.

I am astonished that no one has asked NRAO for this before...

But really: it is wasting our time to repeat information into a GUI. Give us a format and upload capability. There would be on quality control issue. If the upload does not fill all the GUI boxes with real information, then send an error message and do not accept the proposal. I have no problem being forced to debug my format. Once debugged, I can use it, easily and efficiently, for all future proposals.

Is it that I am a dinosaur? Is everyone else REALLY happy as a clam about slogging through GUI entries?

OK, I have suceeded in getting into and loading the RESOURCES information. I was able to put in the information I did in my last GBT proposal. Did not try to play around with all feasible combinations. Do not have the time.


after I save i get at the bottom a header

Available Sources and Available Resources

with windows.

The Available Sources just has the name of the single source group that is in this proposal.

clicking on this generates the same thing but with menus next to each window, together with a SAVE/CANCEL option. I suppose this is to switch between multiple source groups.

Available Resources has only one resource, but there are two defined. I can only see one.

Student Support:

It would be nice to be remined with words on the GUI that the dollar amount should not have either '$' or ',' in them.

The entry goes off into limbo here and there is neither a provision to see the information here nor an ability to edit it here. This is where and when one is entering this information. It should be here and now that we see the entry and have a chance to edit it. To do anything else is to build in inefficiency in this process.

Aha, i see: you have to click Student Support AGAIN to generate the information and the ability to edit....

This is in contrast to every other OPTION. ALL the others give you automatically the information you entered and the ability to change things.

OK, so I click on STUDENT SUPPORT and see the header with

Student Estimated Budget Assignment

All have entires, in particular the Assignment has the proper text that was entered.

When I click on the Student's name, however, and put the GUI into Edit mode, the Assignment text disappears.....

I have confirmed to my satisfaction that the Search Function basically does not work if you give it a full name. For example, it cannot find "Robert Rood" but it can find "Rood".

The documentation should say that one should only type in the last name. Of course, maybe it already does.

Now I shall try to SUBMIT.

I get: Proposal Successfully Validated.


We have already discussed the shortcomings of this. I would want the option of seeing what I actually have. I would want the option of going back to the proposals.

In fact I just discovered that if you do not press the Submit button but rather click on any Option, you go there. So this second ability is there, but not explicit.

I think that the way most folks will be working is that they will try to validate the proposal early on, just to make sure that they have entered at least something in all the necessary parts.

When the proposal passes validation, then I want to look at the .pdf file and check for errors and sanity. This will lead to another round of edits.

Iterate a bit. And then, and only, then, SUBMIT PROPOSAL.

So, since I cannot do this as yet.....

So I hit the button SUBMIT PROPOSAL.

The screen flashed, showed a brief error message, and then erased the error message and returned to the cover sheet.

But now the cover sheet has a WITHDRAW button that has replaced the SUBMIT button.

The error message was visible for, perhaps, 2 seconds. All I can remember was "You cannot submit the proposal" and several other lines...

WITHDRAW goes back again to Cover Sheet and gives a SUBMIT button

trying again:



This produced all of the stuff below, momentarily, and then reverted to Cover Page as I describe above

"Proposal is Wrong"

BACK button

and a repeat of the:

"Proposal successfully Validated"

  with a SUBMIT PROPOSAL button

Had to do this 4 times to see what was happening.

-- DanaBalser - 02 Nov 2007
Topic revision: r1 - 2007-11-02, DanaBalser
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