If you have taken an AP class, SAT, or PSAT, you have dealt with the horror that is the College Board website. The pain starts at the home page (www.collegeboard.org), which serves as a sort of hub for all the services provided by College Board. The first thing you see when you arrive is a disorienting grid of 19 different page links. What’s more, if you click the dropdown menu at the top of the home page you see the very same 19 page links in a different order. Just for good measure.
Dropdown menus are a thing the College Board website loves but has yet to master. Most of the pages on the website have at least three dropdown menus containing oftentimes redundant links that only work about half the time. Take the AP Central link for example. Listed under one of the main AP dropdown menus, you would assume the AP Central link would lead somewhere, maybe even to the AP Central page. Wrong you are! Clicking on the link sends you to an error page which reads: “It looks like you might be in the wrong place.” Yeah College Board, I’m starting to think I am in the wrong place.
Excessive dropdown menus and broken links aside, the page design of the College Board website leaves much to be desired. There are two kinds of pages on the website: pages with too much information, and pages with too little information. You are either overwhelmed by the sheer amount of links and small text on a page or underwhelmed by a couple sentences surrounded by creepy stock images. The website also makes the strange choice to leave a ton of white space at the bottom of each page. It is unclear what exactly this white space is for, and it makes the page seem incomplete.
There’s also an overall inconsistency in the website color scheme. About half the website’s pages follow the standard blue and yellow color palette, with some gray added in every once in a while. However, the other half of the pages are color themes ranging from dark green to purple to black. It’s a jarring transition while using the website, and cuts down on any sense of uniformity and organization.
All of these small problems create a website which is unnecessarily difficult to navigate. It seems that every page I want to get to is behind several others and multiple password checks. On the password checks, I understand why a website that has a lot of personal information would want to be secure. But making me verify my identity three times in a row just to see how bad I did on an AP Chemistry progress check seems a little excessive.
But in all honesty, what were we really expecting? Everything the College Board touches becomes pointlessly frustrating. It only makes sense that a broken and complicated organization forwarding a broken and complicated college admissions system has a broken and complicated website.