What To Keep In Mind When Designing Moodle For Mobile Phone Access

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Have you tried to access your Moodle on a mobile device lately? How does it look?

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Over 50% of all internet access worldwide is now via mobile devices. Users accessing your Moodle content on a small screen device seems inevitable. And not all will be using the Moodle Mobile app, so you should give some thought to how your course looks in browsers. Here are some tips on Moodle design for a better mobile and small screen user experience.

First, consider the parts of your course that are deliverable via mobile. Some activities or resources are better to do on a desktop. If you cannot replace them, leave them for that medium and focus on the others. Which activities are suitable to do on mobile? Could you even make the experience better than desktop?

Next, think about readability. Even if you use a responsive Moodle theme, large chunks of text can be a drag to scroll through. Avoid text in images because when they are shrunk for mobile it may be impossible to read. And break up content into small chunks. Use a custom agent manager or mobile emulator to verify how your Moodle will look on any mobile device. Most modern browsers offer this tool, already available or through an extension or add-in. Note that this can be helpful during development, but the acid test is to check a real smart phone.

Some formats lend themselves better to mobile than to desktop. Podcasts, eBooks and similar formats are perfect for mobile, so use them when possible. Some educators have designed activities which use the phone’s unique input methods. From the location and motion sensors to the camera, they are good ways to make more interactive experiences.

Navigation can be tricky on mobile. Buttons, links, and icons that work on desktop can get lost on small screens. So make sure each screen has clear pointers on it indicating the next section or next thing to do.  Placing the content plan of the course at the beginning of each section can help orient the user. Repetition is key. Reiterate the learning objectives along the course.

Many users will be using the Moodle Mobile app. Familiarize yourself with its features and develop with the users of the app in mind. Make sure Moodle Mobile app access is enabled on your site so your students can access it.

Finally, be aware of file size. Large videos or images won’t work well in areas of patchy or slow internet. Keep everything streamlined for speed and accessibility.


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How do you make sure Mobile works for your Moodle? Tell us in the comments below.