Major usability issues in Moodle

Revision as of 16:46, 7 August 2009 by Olli Savolainen (talk | contribs) (Visual hierarchy)

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Moodle UIs that have such serious flaws that in practice they require redesign.

The user-to-user messaging system

  • Popups everywhere
  • Links point to unexpected locations
  • Getting trapped in a popup with the normal Moodle navigation


Processes in Moodle that resemble wizards should either be redesigned to be less sequential, or have all the elements that help users navigate, of wizards.

  • Installation
  • Backup
  • There is no proper navigation between the two steps/modes, and it is not even communicated explicitly what is the relationship between the two screens!
    • Two-step roles UIs (assign roles in course)
    • Two-step groups UIs (add users to groups in course: select group -> add users to group)
      • Lack of any visual hierarchy or distiction between navigation and commands
      • It is not communicated that some of the commands work on the selected item in the list.
      • Create group should be separate.
      • Add/remove users should be a link with the group name “Add remove users of group [groupname]”.

Visual hierarchy

One big issue is visual hierarchy of screens, i.e. even if there is not as much content on a screen as there was in the old quiz editing UI, in many places there seems to be no organization of the content, and as things are centered by default understanding the structure of some pages can be pretty bothersome - instead of "letting your eyes do the work", you have to really think about what is where and try to solve the puzzle, as it were. Includes things like conveying semantics and relationships of elements through usage of visual elements, like usage of headings and the usage of those funny grey partially rounded boxes.

In a sense this should be a guideline but I really cannot think of much to say, except something could probably be extracted from the web: . Also, perhaps if we define certain page types several moodle pages would fit in then most pages would have some common factors. Then again, this also risks restricting design too much.

There are lots of problematic UIs like this in Moodle, but to name just a few:

  • Chat
  • Groups (managing the groups of a course and the users in them )

Note: This is not graphic design as such, but usage of UI elements in a way that communicates their relationships clearly, facilitating users' preconscious scanning of the UI to make sense of it quickly: more information: [1]