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Picture of Tim Chambers
Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
 

We are creating an online school geared towards art, photography, etc. I'd love to see if we could design the look and function of Moodle to approach the simplicity of iPad apps. I.e., very intuitive, very simple. The default look and method of Moodle is a bit to technical/clinical looking for an 'art school'! smile

I'm not a programmer/designer, but as an artist know what I'm after. Anyone know of anyone who can help transform Moodle into something I'm envisioning? 

Thanks!

 
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Floyd Saner - Tail of the Dragon, U.S. 129, NC
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Tim,

Contact the folks at NewSchool Learning.

http://newschoollearning.com/

~Floyd

 
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Picture of Tim Chambers
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
 

Thanks for the link, Floyd. I have contacted newschoollearning.com, but checking their existing themes and portfolio, they're still quite square-like; i.e. not much of a free-flowing feel to any of them. The layout is contant, though the color and icons may vary. Maybe they can do something that departs from this and be more artsy? Funny, but 'thinking outside the box' is in store here, pun intended. smile

 
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Picture of Michael Penney
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
Group Developers

I recommend creating a mockup of your design in Photoshop or similar graphics software, and then sending that to Patrick at New School Learning. Just about anything is possible, the farther you depart from standard the more expensive it tends to be.

A detailed design helps a good deal, ime.

http://ciscoinstitute.net/ and http://www.americasprofessor.com/ are some examples of Moodle sites where a good deal of design work has been done. Scholastic has a very pretty one also, but they hide itsmile.

 
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Picture of Tim Chambers
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
 

Michael- I wholeheartedly agree. A mockup lays it out clearly. I already have the WP side of things set (www.iguanapaint.com), but will work on drawing up a course side (moodle) mockup in Photoshop. I know that a veteran moodle designer, knowing the potential, could have a lot of fun thinking outside the box. 

Who is that person, I wonder?! smile

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

There are quite a few people who can do this sort of work for you Tim, Floyd has already pointed you at NewSchoolLearning, who already create quite a few of the core themes, Mary Evans (Theme forum moderator), myself and others may also be able to help depending on exactly what you want, your budget and time constraints/commitments (yours and for whoever you ask! smile )

A part of it depends on whether you are looking primarily at theming Moodle, or whether your requirements may involve tinkering with core code as well.

Feel free to drop me a PM if you want to discuss this.

Richard

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Thinking aloud here.  IMO, You want to maximise the use of already existing plugins, themes and formats etc.

  1. Check out some of the image plugins, like this: http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_lightboxgallery
  2. See Mary's page: http://moodlestudio.co.uk/moodle/ You can use nice themes.  Moodle does not NEED to look clunky and old.  Themes lkike Rocket, Aarvark . .
  3. And check out this thread here from Mary: Making things unMoodlelike. http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=199850
  4. You may like the grid format, this uses small images.  Much more classy look to course formats: http://moodlestudio.co.uk/moodle/ (But there may be downsides with navigation)  (Let me know if you'd like a course to play with wityh grid format)
  5. And the Collapsed topics format: http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=format_topcoll
  6. You'll need a few more social networking things, IMO.  Thinking outside the box here: Maybe SSO with facebook.  Widgets with twitter feeds??
    I've seen some nice widgets in Moodles.  But most people go crazy and have too much clutter.  smile  personal bias coming through here.
  7. You may like ForumNG: http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_forumng  This is a nicer forum with drafts, view whole thread to post and subscribe at the discussion level.
  8. OU blogs may give you more of what you want with a 'portfolio' aspect inside Moodle.  Better navigation.  On the other hand, for design/portfolio environments, I actually think Moodle + Wordpress integration has a lot going for it.

My opinion:  Do everything you can to avoid core code hacks. 

Technical comment: Try to do any work in terms of plugins, layouts and themes (there are probably some better ways to put this). 

Keep an eye out on Moodle 2.4 developments.  (There are some issues around the core Moodle functionality, but it seems new power is coming for third party modules to be easier to write and with more power).  This on course layouts: http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Course_formats_2  One place says "Moodle 2.4", one other place (the roadmap) says "In the near future"

You may like this.  new icons: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-34080

Good luck.

-Derek

 
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Picture of Tim Chambers
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
 

Derek- thanks for a VERY imformative post that proved to be a fun tour as well. It's encouraging to see others playing w the visual side of Moodle. Functionally, Moodle offers the moon! But for an artist like me, trying to launch an online art school- heck, visual is the key. smile

I tried learning the tech stuff, and I discovered I truly stink at it. My forte is with a real paint brush loaded with paint w a real canvas. I'm looking for someone that I can transform that vision in my head onto Moodle. I'll just stick w painting and dreaming. 

Thanks again for the great feedback on this thread. Hopefully I'll have a great example of Moodle's design latitude to share soon (at www.iguanapaint.com).

~Tim

 
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Picture of Tim Chambers
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
 

I'm thinking if I have use only a handful of resources in Moodle, that will simplify the look, and if I keep things visually-oriented by using icons instead of text tabs, that perhaps I'll be on my way to an iPad-app look. 

Anyone know of any Moodle examples of this approach?

 
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Picture of Tim Chambers
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
 

Reading through this thread again as I head down the final stretch in preparing Moodle for our online art school (www.IguanaPaint.com)- LOTS of great info and suggestions here. 

I'm at the point where much is in place, but I'd like to hire a good Moodle designer to pull it all together to achieve a well-tuned machine.  This is an art school, so finding someone w a good eye (and skill) for a fun, cool, intuitive site is important. 

Any recommendations for a good Moodle designer/programmer?

Thanks.  ~Tim

 
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Picture of Tim Chambers
Re: Designing Moodle to be aesthetically & functionally beautiful:
 

Richard-

Thanks for the response! You're in good company- Mary Cooch and Mary Evans have been wonderfully helpful in the past, and they provide a wealth of information on these forums. Mary Evans evened the impossible- creating a Galleriffic gallery within Moodle at one time. So, I know what I'm after can be accomplished. smile

I'd like to discuss possiblities further, for sure. Maybe the four of us could Skype? I'm pretty deaf, so chat works wonderfully (I don't miss a word). I'll PM you my Skypename.

Looking forward to the conversation and the possiblities! Thanks for touching base.

 
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