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Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)

 
 
Picture of Andrew Nicols
Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Hi All,

I recently posted in the General Developers Forum regarding some enhancements we've been writing to moodle forms and module selection. These changes are usability enhancements (hopefully) and it would be great to get feedback on that aspect - please see the discussion at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=191549.

Thanks,

Andrew Nicols LUNS Limited

 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Usability improvements - module chooser and compacted forms
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Hi Andrew,

I've just checked out your module chooser and compacted forms usability improvements and think they're both fabulous (though I think the module chooser is my favourite!) approve

Just adding a screenshot of the fabulous module chooser (taken from the demo site  http://moodledev.luns.net.uk/a).


 
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Think I am older now :)
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
Group Documentation writersGroup Testers

Hi Andrew,

I played with adding a Lesson and a Quiz this morning.  Just about went into shock to see the groups of settings collapsed!  Then I realized 2 positive things. Most  of our settings follow the site default settings.  I would rather click than scroll any day, score one big plus.  And the second thing is MoodleDocs will be a lot easier to write because of both the collapse groups and the selection form.

I did note that there was a pause of the old, while I assume Moodle determined that I had the things required to display the "new".  

Later, I would be changing the function of the "Show Advanced".   That could be used by the site admin to designate which groups would always be hidden/displayed .   I notice Lesson has this button and Quiz does not.  

yea!  Chris

 

 

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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With the quiz, the admin can choose which settings are advances (Admin -> Plugins -> Activity modules -> Quiz). New installs of Moodle have sensible defaults for that. Older installs that have been upgraded have everything as non-advanced by default.

 
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Picture of Nadav Kavalerchik
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Hi Andrew smile

I LOVE your new UI for adding a resource or an activity to Moodle. It reminds me a similar experiment we did a while ago with Moodle 1.9 teachers. Here is a link to a .

I am in the process of making time for myself to get involved with it again and convert it to a Moodle 2 course format. Then i saw your post...

Love to get your feedback on it.

90% of the teachers i meet at the Academy, Teacher Training Colledges and K12 would like to get a very simple and powerful interface. I think what you are doing is a great step in that direction!

Nadav smile

 
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Picture of Andrew Nicols
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Hi Nadav,

Thanks for sharing your work there - it'd be great if Moodle had some larger versions of the various icons and I like the idea of being able to separate out the activities into different groups in the manner you suggest. I think it would be interesting if users could list 'favourite' different modules which they use frequently and to be able to show that list by default.

Interestingly, I had been toying with the idea of putting the 'Add' link on the left-hand side margin as you have in your example but I felt in the end that having them on the left made it feel more like it should add an actual section, rather than content to a section. One of my other colleagues was looking at a quick-add button to add additional sections in this manner.

It's also interesting that you mention about hiding the 'command' span (the one with all of the move/delete/duplicate/etc buttons). I was looking at doing so this morning using CSS. It's extremely easy to do with CSS, but I'm not convinced that it's a great idea as it's not immediately apparent how you can make modifications until you start moving your mouse around the screen.

As an alternative, I've been wondering about two alternatives:
* rather than hiding the icons entirely, having them greyed out slightly so that they're visible but not intrusive; and
* limiting the options shown there to move, indent, and outdent; then adding a dropdown menu with all of the other available options including a brief textual description of each (e.g. Assign Roles, Remove, Duplicate, Change Group Mode). The dropdown text could be greyed out until you mouse over the section box.

It's really good to get your feedback, and we've submitted these features for review and inclusion into Moodle 2.3 in tracker tickets:
* [MDL-30615](http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-30615) - this has two sub-tasks which contain the actual work; and
* [MDL-30637](http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-30637) - again, this has two sub-tasks containing the actual work.

Thanks again,

Andrew
 
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Picture of Nadav Kavalerchik
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Hi Andrew smile

Thank you for your detailed answer!

The icons are from a demo i used : http://razorjack.net/quicksand/ ( i found it here ) it uses jquery, so i was not even sure if it is wise to use at all, after reading all the jquery vs yui discussions, here in the forums. (but, last Moodle HQ dev meeting, it was decided to include an option for jquery in core. so it seems it is relatively an option, once again )

I forgot to show in the video that we also (like you) hide all the extra (and very confusing) advanced preferences or settings in each Form Moodle has. Since most of the teachers use only 20% of the features and are intimidated by all the settings they need to fill (or decide upon) when starting a new activity.

On the same subject (Forms), I would also like to add that we consider adding a "submit" button right after the two or three most needed fields in each Form, (and color it green, maybe?) so teachers could submit the Form after filling the basic necessary info for the activity's initial state. later, they can go back and tweak it in a more advanced way. (i think)

Regarding the hidden activity/resource Action icons:

I was inspired by the Foodle theme, which implemented this very easy CSS "trick". it is an old theme from 2009 and no longer available but here is a link to my archive: Foodle theme

I also agree that it can be confusing, at first. and i like your idea to make it grayed out. or make only one button/icon that opens up a small window with all the options. similar behaviour to a right click context menu. but with left mouse click. (maybe)

Getting back to the new activity/resource menu...

We are currently developing and looking for ideas to solve our following needs:

1. Activity Chooser: make a clear list of activities and resources with short description of each (like you did)

2. A wizard that take the teacher through a pedagogical decision making flow, and eventually, recommends the use of one or more resources and activities that he/she needs to create in order to fulfill his/her pedagogical agenda. ( A pedagogical add activity and not a technical add activity, like we currently have)

3. A quick add file(s)/resource(s). (there are some 3rd party solutions) maybe drag & drop?

4. First time course generator, that asks for subjects (topics/sections) with images and text that is generating the entire front-page of the course

5. Complete course template generator, which will probably import all activities and resources from a Course Template which is placed in some other Hidden category on the system along with several other course templates.

We would like all of these ideas/needs to be, some how, combined into a single UI. not sure how, yet.

I would LOVE your (and anyone's) opinions on those needs/ideas.

Nadav smile

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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For those of you who'd like a quick look at some basic examples of how it works, there's a screencast here;

 

For myself, I really liked it once I had got used to it but I did find at times (I don't know why) there was a slowness in refreshing the page - sometimes you'd see the "old" drop down menus for a brief second and then it would flash into the screen with all the radio buttons and then fnally it would display as it should with the single links after each topic. Only a split second but enough to notice.

 
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Picture of Andrew Nicols
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Hi Mary,

Thank you for doing the Screencast! I keep meaning to put something together but am lacking a microphone on my desktop at present.

I've been looking at addressing that 'flash' of the screen - it's actually a slightly complicated bug with the Javascript but I've found a resolution. I'll try and put that on the Demo site soon. I'm also hoping to reduce the time you see the old drop-down menus too.

Andrew
 
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Picture of Nadav Kavalerchik
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Excellent screencast!, Mary smile

I wish those features will find their way into core (Martin) wink

 
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Picture of Nadav Kavalerchik
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Hi Andrew smile

I have made a short video cast of my Topics Ajax course format that uses ajax calls the the Moodle server to get "pages" of html that are generated from the Topics/Sections of the course.

Similarly, I think, you can use these methods to make your Activity chooser (wizard) more Ajaxy be implementing a similar methods when clicking the Next/Finish button which takes the teacher to a "Create new module form". I think it can be very UI and Humen friendly to have all the "Creating new Activity" workflow done inside the scope of the overlay pop up (wizard)

What do you think?

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
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Hi Andrew (et al) Just to say  I made a couple of lessons on your demo Moodle and when I accessed them as a student I found it very confusing when I came to the multiple choice questions because it defaulted to the "hidden"option when it should have opened up the questions for me to answer.  I think if I had been a real student here I would have been a bit lost. (Actually - having just done a mini-screencast - it shows you the multi-choice questions for a split second and THEN hides them - which is potentially even more confusing...)

 
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Picture of Ruslan Kabalin
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
Group Developers

Hello Mary, thanks a lot for your report. I have fixed that issue with lessons. Basically I have disabled sortforms for the things where they are not required (different lesson activities for now). The demo site has been updated as well.

 
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Picture of Olli Savolainen
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
Group Developers

Elegant indeed! Happy to see it happen.

Blogged about this a tiny bit.

 
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Picture of Ruslan Kabalin
Re: Usability Changes to Forms and Module Selection for Review (demo included)
Group Developers

Thanks Olli ;)

 
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