On August 2, 2014, the CLE underwent a major refresh with the installation of a completely new user interface. While this update also included a number of important performance and course-building enhancements, the crucial new feature — one that impacts all CLE users — was the new interface. Finally, we were able to fulfill easily the most requested CLE feature for the past few years — make it so that the CLE works better on smartphones and tablets. The new interface is now mobile-friendly, and incorporates responsive web design principles, which means it seamlessly conforms to the screen size of the device viewing it, be it a 27-inch desktop monitor, iPad Mini, iPhone or Android smartphone. Along with the refresh, we also released a short survey on August 2 to start gathering some feedback about the changes. We received seventy-three submissions through August. In this blog post, we report on some of the survey results and some directions for the future.
The survey asked everyone to grade the CLE refresh. Over 71% gave the refresh a C or better, and half of all respondents gave a grade of B or better. Here is a sampling of some of the comments:
This look is much clearer, cleaner and user friendly!
The graphics/skin of the interface is clean. All functions appear to be intact. No major re-learning required for average user.
THE NEW FACELIFT TO THE CLE IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!!
It is clean looking and more up to date.
I like the clean look. There are less extras that take your attention away from the content. The colors are softer and cleaner as well.
Looks less cluttered which helps with visual appearance.
Much more mobile friendly.
It looks more updated and seems to be less buggy. Also, it seems to work better with Chrome than the old version.
Given that this refresh brought some major changes, this was a good start. But while most gave the new CLE a passing grade or better, there were also some who felt that the new CLE look and feel didn’t quite past muster:
I do not like the mobile version nor do I like the new homepage, too sparse and it doesn’t highlight my interest like the login button.
There is too much blank space for each menu. That has made it a bit too bulky and can’t fit all the necessary information without scrolling.
I usually use CLE to get to UCSF’s library resources like Pubmed, and it has been difficult for me to figure out how to navigate to this page.
There needs to be a drop down menu for lecture capture. Having all the classes on the same screen with the calendar is too cluttered and overwhelming.
The calendar does not fit, I needed to drag every time I need to move to the next week for see Friday.
The CLE team has already incorporated some of this feedback into a recent update. Some felt that the blocks (e.g., Navigation, Administration) that appear in CLE courses on the left and/or right were taking up too much space. We were able to reduce the block footprint so that there is now more room in the center area where the main course content resides. Other survey comments will be reflected in upcoming updates, including:
- Reduce the block footprint even more so that the main course content takes precedence.
- Make sure that on smaller screen sizes, the blocks do not take up valuable space so that important course content, such as the Ilios calendar, doesn’t get squished.
- Making the Log In link consistently visible at the top for all screen sizes. Currently, the Log In link is no longer visible on small screens — it gets hidden inside the menu icon when the screen size gets small, making it difficult to locate.
- Add a Maximize this page button on all CLE pages that will allow the main content area to immediately fill the entire screen.
Future updates to the underlying Moodle learning management system that powers the CLE will also bring new features, such as much improved responsive behavior for all screen sizes and a user menu in the header that provides quick access to personal pages. Other survey comments suggested what would essentially be entirely new features, such as a way to provide quicker and less cluttered access to lecture capture recordings.
We invite you to continue providing feedback — the good, bad and ugly. The August 2014 refresh placed the CLE on a solid foundation from which to grow and improve. Your comments, feedback, and feature requests will be absolutely vital in this process. We plan to release new short surveys over the coming months. We also invite you to send any and all feedback to the Learning Technologies Group.