At previous MoodleMoots where Moodle CEO Martin Dougiamas has spoken, from Germany to France to New Orleans, he has emphasized the importance Moodle’s user interface (UI) and, more generally, user experience (UX) for the future of Moodle. This goes for the design itself, but also as part of a strategy to keep winning over hearts, minds, and classrooms.
His declarations, along with other Moodle HQ communications like the latest “progress update” at moodle.com, are raising expectations for what the next Moodle will bring in terms of UI and UX. The progress update reiterates previous reporting on usability improvements, such as fixes in the behavior of the new Course Overview.
Another important improvement is the deeper integration of desktop and mobile users. Currently, users trying to use their phones to access sections of Moodle that are not available yet are redirected to the browser. Now, whenever a section becomes available on mobile, Moodle will make users aware.
When it comes to analytics, Project Inspire is taking its predictive features into Moodle 3.4. The role of usability in how teachers can apply analytics will be critical to making sure these powerful technologies have a real impact and broader adoption. The design of interfaces for analytics, often taking the shape of dashboards, faces two possibly paradoxical forces. We want insightful and rigorous analytics, but we also want them to be easy to use and understand. We will have to wait and see how Moodle solves this conundrum in the dashboard of the Inspire analytics toolbox.
Other features ready for usability upgrades, as reported, include:
- Merging lists of participants and enrolled users.
- Better handling and compilation of SCSS stylesheets.
- “Next” and “Previous” navigation buttons on activities.
- A better calendar.
Some of the preliminary progress towards the definitive look and feel of Moodle 3.4, scheduled for Monday, November 13th, is already available, but constantly changing at qa.moodle.net.