It has been about one year since my last blog post where, on my search to find out how a graphic designer could enhance online learning, I realised that the largest barrier was the usability and readability of the online learning management system (LMS), for students and for lecturers.
Unsure of my next move, I have plunged into the world of user experience (UX), reading articles, seeking advice from experts, being hyper-aware of websites I visit, and completing the Human Computer Interaction course on Coursera. I’m not sure that this experience has improved my quality of life necessarily, as I now find myself frustrated when sites break the most basic usability guidelines, however, this has all culminated in an overall usability or UX assessment of the Moodle LMS.
As I see it, Moodle is this fantastic system that has so much to offer and provides genuine solutions to complexities that I still struggle to comprehend. Massively talented developers have poured their time and effort into making this product incredibly powerful and scalable (a task unto itself). So I ask that we give these developers the respect and kudos they deserve. What I am setting out to do, is ask that we help them to improve the usability of this software, so that the user can fully appreciate the amazing tool they have at their fingertips.
I must highlight that one of the first things I did was to explore what other LMSs were on offer “off-the-shelf” and was quite underwhelmed by my findings. Some were more aesthetically pleasing than the outdated version of Moodle that I was using at the time, however, it didn’t matter how many trials I signed up for, or how many features they offered, none met up to my expectations of an “Apple-like” experience (my apologies to the Canvas LMS reps who may have thought I was in a position of more influence, yes, I am still avoiding your phone calls).
In short, I have done a usability assessment on Moodle because that is the software in use within my organisation. My reasons for doing so are (a) because of the students who have to interact with Moodle (b) because of the lecturers who have to battle with Moodle on a daily basis (c) because I have to use it, and (d) because UX is actually kind of fun! As a side note, I would be surprised if, in this start-up culture we are in, no one was developing a rival, so there is a high possibility that a new LMS could be created to overtake them all.
I’ve decided to put this information on this blog to increase it’s discoverability, but my aim is to log these suggestions on the moodle.tracker.org site (an online update suggestion tracker). So if you agree with any of these suggestions or think they could be an improvement, the best and most likely way to affect change would be to support these suggestions on the Moodle Tracker site.
Anyway, let’s get to it! A humble graphic designers usability assessment of the vanilla (unaltered version) of Moodle, and some visual suggestions to improve it.
This will eventually be broken into separate blog posts for quick and direct access, but for the moment, the full UX evaluation in PDF format is at the top of this post.
Comments and feedback are super welcome. As stated, I have only been focused on this for one year and am not an expert by any means. Help and feedback are appreciated and necessary! Please comment on the relevant page. Thanks!