This Is What’s Wrong With Your Grant Submission Site

OK, let’s just get this out of the way from the top: I understand why grant submission sites are the way they are (well, I sort of understand). I know they’re not perfect and I know it takes a lot of money and time to make changes to them. However, that understanding doesn’t make the items listed below any less annoying when I am going through the grant submission process. Many of these items have been around for quite awhile, which makes me think that maybe no one has ever pointed out how much of a pain they truly are and it would be helpful if I did so. See? I’m here to help. So, without further ado, here are a few things that are wrong with your grant submission site.

No one uses Internet Explorer anymore
OK, that’s not entirely true, but most browser usage rankings show that, by a fairly wide margin, Chrome is the most frequently used browser, with IE second and Firefox a close third. The problem is, a surprisingly high number of grant submission sites are still primarily optimized for IE use, which causes major difficulties for Mac users (namely, me). One site that I visit with some frequency is not accessible via Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or the latest version of IE. That makes it really difficult to work with. I mean, c’mon. I actually have to get out my wife’s old Toshiba laptop whenever I want to do anything on the site. That’s sort of like switching from a new Mini Cooper S class to a ’98 Corolla with bald tires.

One pop-up to give me an important reminder? Fine. A pop-up on every page to give me the same reminder? Annoying. A pop-up on every page to give me the same reminder that I then have to click twice to get rid of? No. Just…no.

Calendars that refresh the entire page
Often, when entering the start or end date, a little calendar will pop up to let you select the date. On some sites, every time you click on the calendar arrow to advance to the next month, the whole web page refreshes and you have to scroll down to the calendar and advance to the next month, which refreshes the whole web page and you have to scroll down to the calendar and advance to the next month, which refreshes the whole web page and you have to scroll down to the calendar and…

Character limits
Describing a CME activity in 250 characters is hard. Describing learning objectives in 250 characters is freaking impossible.

Can’t save unless every field complete
If your site has a time limit and/or doesn’t auto-save, it’s really, really nice if it also has a “Save & Return” button that allows a submission to be saved even if every field on the page is not filled-in.

“ACCME” is not a category of credit
Let me repeat that. “ACCME” is not a category of credit. It’s not. “AMA” is. CME providers are accredited by the ACCME to provide AMA credit. Why does it bother me when sites list “ACCME” as a category of credit? Because it’s wrong.

Wrong or missing levels of outcomes
I think it’s safe to assume that when we’re talking about levels of outcomes, we’re talking about the 7 level of CME outcomes. That’s the standard. Some sites still have the older model of outcomes – or some weird hybrid of the old and new – which can be problematic if the level you are planning for is “competence”.

Accreditation with Commendation no longer has categories
If you’re still asking CME providers to list the categories in which they received Accreditation with Commendation, it’s time for an update. It’s been seven years (ahem) since the ACCME changed their accreditation process and providers no longer get A with C in specific categories. You’re either accredited with commendation or you’re not.

Please don’t make me select the products that are the “best fit” for my activity
I’m begging you, please. Don’t make me do it. I don’t want to. It makes me feel sleazy. It makes me want to peek over my shoulder to see if anyone is watching. I don’t want the word “products” and “CME” to be within 10 miles of each other.

Word/PDF forms that can’t be edited
Please note: If you create a Word or PDF form – and then lock that form – I can’t type in it. If I can’t type in it, then I – after beating my head on my desk – will need to print it out and write in it. By hand. This is a bad bad bad idea. There’s a reason I type everything. When God was handing out good handwriting, I was busy catching up on old episodes of Gilligan’s Island…

**You will notice that I made no mention of budget templates here. Strictly speaking, budget templates are not “wrong”, though they are the work of the devil (I kid, I kid). Do I prefer sites that simply let me upload my own budget file? Definitely, but I understand the reasoning behind budget templates, so I couldn’t include them here.


6 responses to “This Is What’s Wrong With Your Grant Submission Site

  1. I am so glad I do not have to do this to make a living! It makes me grind my teeth just hearing/reading about it. But now, since you’ve pointed out what needs changing, this should all be taken care of by Friday, right?

  2. Now you made me miss my Corolla.

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