Moodle community sites

Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent

 
 
Martin Dougiamas
Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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We've been planning a re-design for this site (moodle.org) for some time (MDLSITE-1862) to make it more useful, more international and easier to navigate.  Moodle.org is based on our own Moodle platform plus a custom theme and custom plugins and scripts for our special needs.

The pieces (and time) are finally starting to come together now so I hope we'll be able to launch the new-look site later this month.

Before that we'll have a test site with the new design so you can help with feedback before we go live.  We'll post regularly here in this forum too.

 
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It's only an avatar...
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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This sounds interesting, I have been curious to see this from the start, ever since the idea was first mooted.

Are you intending adding a link to the Test Site here?

Thanks & Happy New Year!

Mary

 

 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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Thanks for your interest Mary. Here's a link to the test site: clone.moodle.org. (We've used it quite a bit already for testing various moodle.org improvements.)

 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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(Note there is no new theme there yet, we're doing the "bones" first)

To give you an idea, though, here are some of Barbara's studies from a while ago: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1e73B2gZBkcDhOWYS-KTBxMcS0PwbdRJGii4J_qnWsv0/edit

 
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Bas van Kollenburg
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
 

Nice presentation looks very nice

bas

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Course "Using Moodle"
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Helen

This is the right thing: Have dummy site on-line and get community feedback.

Since moodle.org is a big site, in this sub-thread I want to concentrate on the new "Using Moodle", the main meeting point of the community. For that you don't really need any production data, just a fresh course demonstrating the new _structure_ is sufficient.

In fact this was the main topic in the famous discussion "Ideas needed: moodle.org improvements" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302. My proposed structure is this: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302#p866700. Don't let the black theme distract you. What I'm saying is:
a) a table is the right structure for "Using Moodle":
b) the header part of that table contains all the common information
c) there are sections similar to the present "Using Moodle"
d) for each forum in those sections there is a complete row containing a summary of the information limited to that forum (in column format)
e) each forum in turn has a header with more detailed information local to that forum, if possible always having a common structure, with an "Up" link if the forum is the wrong place.

P.S. I've used the terms "course" and "forum" as Moodle uses them, not as in present moodle.org where "Using Moodle" is called a _forum_.
 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: Course "Using Moodle"
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I would like to change the focus of "Using Moodle" to being the English support course, more equal to the other languages.

Your ideas here (which I understand basically replicates common forums on other sites) make sense to me for that, Visvanath, as much as we can do it on the forum overview page.  I'm not sure if we should commit to a whole new course format, though, as some of these support courses have useful activities/resources other than forums in them, and I don't think we should restrict every language community on moodle.org to forums ONLY when we have all these useful Moodle tools.  However, maybe someone can come up with a much better course format that supoprts all these things.

I would suggest that we move the more international development-oriented forums into a new course specifically for that purpose (it would still be English only).  Combining everything made sense when Moodle was smaller but now I think they just confuse a lot of teachers who are simply looking for help.

We've also talked about moving the forums about plugins into a central place that is automatically connected from each entry in the Moodle plugins database.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Course "Using Moodle"
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
My proposal was based on the assumption that "Using Moodle" is just the entry point to a long list of forums, as it had been right from the beginning. If it is going to be something different, the proposal is of course irrelevant.

Talking of the forum overview, if there's going to be a forum overview page most of the ideas above will be valid for that particular page. But https://moodle.org/mod/forum/index.php?id=5 does not do that job. Compare that for example with http://crunchbang.org/forums/. Also see my explanation to Helen here: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302#p866700.



 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Course "Using Moodle"
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How about having very brief activity descriptions displayed on the course page (as in the attached screen shot)? We could use div classes to show more information in the forum introduction and forum post page (as we do now in certain forums).


 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Course "Using Moodle"
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Helen "How about having very brief activity descriptions displayed on the course page..."

Why not, although... people hardly ever read those descriptions anyway and it would take up valuable vertical space area.

Joseph

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Course "Using Moodle" -> Page "Forum overview"
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Hi Helen

My intention is not to micro-manage "Using Moodle". Read my comment "If it is going to be something different, the proposal is of course irrelevant" above or the final stage of "Ideas needed: moodle.org improvements" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302#p867395 and the reply.

I repeat, since Martin is personally involved in making "Using Moodle" something completely different the details in this discussion become irrelevant. And it is high time that some "instructional design" is put to "Using Moodle". The current structure is only marginally better than the dreaded design which I call the "apple tree". (See the screen-shot attached, from a real course! Each item is a PDF.)

If we are talking about a "Forum overview" which will be just a single page within "Using Moodle" we can continue on https://moodle.org/mod/forum/index.php?id=5 (see the modified subject). Whether that overview will be sufficient with some modifications. Well, not for me, I'm comparing it with http://crunchbang.org/forums/ which may be not right.

That said, I am sure that https://moodle.org/mod/forum/index.php?id=5 had much less information in it when I looked at it less than a year ago: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302#p866600. If all the forums put the most essential information, what goes and what do not, in their headers this page might even work, provided the new "Using Moodle" link to it as the entry point for forums.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Course "Using Moodle"
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Joseph

You wrote:
> although... people hardly ever read those descriptions anyway

I knew a city where the billboards were chaotic and nobody trusted them anyway. You always ask, you might find yourself standing in front of a shop and asking somebody directions to that very shop. Same thing with street names, each new government renamed streets to their heroes and heroines.

A quarter of a century later, that's gone! They've arrived in the moderne!

Perhaps the same thing is happening in the virtual world: "Nobody reads anyway, so why write?" Where is the virtual world exactly? In the stone age? Then it is time to do some http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinstossen.
smile

> and it would take up valuable vertical space area.

Are you susceptible to SoD (scroll of death)? Think of it, at least you are connected to the heavens along those vertical real estate. Think of the poor who die the CoD (click of death), holding to dying mice! How about this non-page: https://moodle.org/forums/ ?

If you don't believe, there is such a sickness, read for example "F2. Minimize clicking!" in http://websitehelpers.com/design/ which is still in the last post https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302&parent=900803 of that historical discussion.
sad

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Course "Using Moodle"
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Hi Visvanath, those tips are the same tips I was teaching in the 1990s at our local night school or TAFE, some things never change. Good design is simple and logical, creating an "intuitive" feel and this is the one area where I have so many people coming back to me to go over the same things again. The negative comments I get about the Moodle interface are increasingly distressing, particularly when some of my colleagues are now gloating over the probability that Moodle will be replaced by another system that is more likely just a CMS rather than an LMS. By the very nature of a CMS it is far more simple and therefore easier to use.

I hope that whatever design changes are made to the Moodle.org site simplify the UI and will eventually be reflected in Moodle releases or there is some opportunity to use them in a release.    

 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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Hi Helen,

I know the clone site is just a proof-of-concept. However, could not resist pointing at the list of "recent" features. The dreaded "Unix epoch time" has struck again. tongueout

Joseph


 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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Well spotted Joseph! I notice Mary has made a note of the problem in MDLSITE-1884 so no doubt Dan will be on to it soon.

 
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Not me
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
 

Hi

Have you considered using something based on the Bootstrap theme?

 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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Possibly, if a 2.4 version of that is available (currently not).

 
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Picture of Nadav Kavalerchik
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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I wish this new design was not on the front page of the new moodle site. 

It seems more appropriate for some kind of dashboard or personal notice board, on an inner page.

but not the front page.

Please consider leaving the Moodle.org page as it is smile

 
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It's only an avatar...
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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I totally agree with Nadav, it seems out of place or perhaps not developed fully yet. I don't like the idea of having inline styles for each of the columns either, this seems to be a backward step for themes, I thought we had dispensed with that kind of styling. But perhaps it is only an idea and so just a mock up of what it might look like if it were made into movable blocks.

Mary

 

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
I assume Nadav and Mary E. are talking about the theme behind http://clone.moodle.org. If not, I apologize.

Looking at it from a different perspective: Following the motto 'Moodle HQ has always been “eating it’s own dog food”' http://www.moodlenews.com/2013/moodle-org-2013-reboot-coming-to-a-browser-near-you/ if the default theme of the current Moodle (2.4) can handle moodle.org that would be a great benefit IMHO. See "Let the theme being the standard theme of the latest stable version of Moodle. Period." in our famous discussion "Ideas needed: moodle.org improvements" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302#p856602.

 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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The moodle.org theme is not going to be the standard Moodle theme because:

  • A lot of sites will look like moodle.org (bad for branding and recognition)
  • It's a lot more work.
 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Martin

I came to the same conclusion for other reasons: moodle.org is much more than a collection of courses! Though the premise "eat one's own dog food" sounds tempting, Moodle as a LMS needs to be bent to make it a CMS (community management system). I don't know how much of http://clone.moodle.org is Moodle core, but I believe you want to keep the differences to a minimum for practical reasons.

Also I missed the other point, branding. I wouldn't have repeated that topic if got a reply here https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196302#p856602.
 
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Dan at desk in Moodle HQ, Perth
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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I don't like the idea of having inline styles for each of the columns either, this seems to be a backward step for themes,

Hehe, everyone! Please, please, PLEASE don't treat what is on the clone as the final design! (see the mockups Martin attached for something like that).

I'm currently working on backend things, and whilst I do that, i'm doing many horrible things in html, like hacking in inline styles and reusing activity module icons! Its just placeholders.

 
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It's only an avatar...
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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Sorry about that Dan, I did not know you were a HTML hacker! LOL

I'm sure the site will look and work great when finished.

 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
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Yes, please ignore HTML and design for now on the clone site.  It's just for development/experiments and not ready for much feedback yet.

However, regarding the feeds on the home page, I think it's essential to "surface" some of the many things going on around moodle.org to the front page.   Currently everything we do is very buried and there is no indication of life at moodle.org.  it should be more like a portal into everything.

You should also notice this difference in the feeds:

 
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Picture of Jacob Walker
Re: Moodle.org 2013 re-design imminent
 

I know this posting is partly off topic, but I hope it is on-topic enough, and that my partially-novice perspective can be useful. 

First, I don't see clone.moodle.org having the same homepage as moodle.org.  I'm sure this is intentional for testing purposes, but I think the current homepage has a nice layout, and assuming it works well with smartphones and also screen readers, then I don't see a reason to change it, or at least I think if you do want to change it, you should show it someplace on the clone website, to really be able to fully test the clone website.

But, overall I think the goals of the redesign are very good.  What I would really like to see (and maybe it is in some forum or on a page I couldn't find off-hand), is to see how moodle.org works so a school website could make itself the same way.   What I mean by this, is that it seems that moodle.org has had to transform Moodle into a fuller content management system, and this is something that I would really love to be able to do for some of the projects I'm working on, as I don't want to learn a whole bunch of different systems, and I'd rather use something that I know will always be in active development, because it is used as the main site for the main project.   Plus, if more websites would be more like moodle.org, then there would be more developers, bug finders, etc. to help with moodle.org also. 

So in summary, I hope you can point me to a page that gives details about how moodle.org works, if there is a current one.  And/Or as the next re-design comes into being, to make a page that gives a fuller explanation of how the moodle.org website works, so that others can take most of the settings, and make their website very similar.  (Except for the theme, as I agree that for branding purposes, and lacking confusion, other websites should not LOOK like moodle.org, but having the same functionality would be great!)

 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: How moodle.org is made up
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Hi Jacob,

Thanks for your perspective. Unfortunately our moodle.org redesign is very much delayed, and so the clone site is still only showing 'bones' and no new theme. We'll let you all know when the new theme is ready for testing.

We don't currently have a page explaining how moodle.org is made up; thanks for the suggestion. smile Moodle.org is basically a Moodle site with a few local plugins, such as the Plugins directory and the developer credits, plus the downloads site download.moodle.org and Planet Moodle.

 
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Picture of Jacob Walker
Re: How moodle.org is made up
 

Thank you so much for the reply.  I'll check back in the future to see how the new theme is coming along.

Do you have  a quick list of which plugins moodle.org uses?  (Or does it only use the ones listed.)   I really like the navigation moodle.org has with the drop downs at the top, and I've been trying to figure out how to get my Moodle site to do that, and go to generic pages, such as "About", etc.  Are these based on plugins (like a Mediawiki connector or something), or is it a feature of Moodle I just haven't found yet? 

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: How moodle.org is made up
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Hello Jacob. You can do similar in a standard Moodle by adding your URLs to the custom menu items in Appearance>Theme settings. And while it's not quite the same as Moodle.org you can make pages in the Main Menu on the front page and link to those URLs in your custom menu so they appear in the dropdown.

 
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