Exploring Snap: The Redesigned, Open Source Interface

Snap is the open-source custom-designed theme that we built and shared with the global Moodle community of educators.

Snap focuses on the user experience by reducing the number of clicks, bringing information to the surface, and modernizing the look and feel of native Moodle. It also has a number of accessibility features built-in, with parts of the theme designed to help improve the accessibility of the regular Moodle experience.

What is Snap? About Our Intuitive User Interface That Facilitates Navigation on Any Device

Open LMS uses a design language that is both beautiful and functional. The aesthetics are modern, attractive, and customizable. Most importantly, it can match your institution or organization’s branding.

You will be able to modify the design in-house, or you can add our Brand Match service to your delivery package, and have us take the responsibility for replicating your brand and maintaining the style for future releases.

Snap view

Snap allows you to customize the information that best suits the audience you are addressing. For example, you can provide support information or instructions, add featured information spots, news sections, or show featured courses easily and simply by changing the settings in the Snap theme.

This experience was designed with mobile in mind—our responsive design adapts the interface and shows the content in the layout that best fits the screen size and profile of the device being used. Any device with a modern browser can connect to and use the Open LMS platform. This allows for true desktop and mobile learning experiences without the need to install an app.

The design is also highly accessible. With accessibility and responsiveness at its core, Snap provides a user interface that is accessible by design. It is also supported by a third party review and accessibility assessment, and our VPAT is available for your needs.

Why We Built Snap: Creating a Clear Structure for Learning

Open LMS worked closely with clients, educators, and learners to develop a professional, responsive tool to meet the needs of learners and educators in online learning today. With Snap, the overall end-user experience improves significantly for everyone.

A key observation that was identified during the development stages of Snap, was that having too much content on a page led to less confidence in the quality, value, and applicability of that content for the user. Ultimately, this perception could impact the user experience.

Planning consistent navigation and content structure that works across all devices is vital for any organization providing a professional cross-device learning experience. With Snap, we delivered on three key client requirements:

  • increase engagement
  • offer intuitive navigation across any device
  • enable a simpler learning curve for both educators and learners using a streamlined interface that’s appealing and easy to use.

Snap’s primary focus is to make the content created by a user look professional and engaging for learners on any device, and without having to learn HTML or CSS to achieve it. It allows for the creation of the modern web content users expect, and not just a list of links.

Snap courses

What Navigation Improvements Have Been Made in Snap?

The standard Moodle navigation block makes it difficult for educators and learners alike to decipher the structure of learning content. In Snap, we forgo the navigation block completely to deliver usability improvements. It also makes use of information architecture that enables instructors to easily focus on the content and make learning more engaging for students.

The Personal Menu is the primary method of navigation in Snap. It provides easy access to courses from any page and to any information important to learning such as deadlines, messages, and feedback.

The menu is a great example of how Open LMS information architecture helps users find what they need in just one click. Learners can see the courses in which they are enrolled, see their progress, and organize the courses using the favorite (star) functionality.

Snap course

In this view, users can also get useful information regarding the tasks that need attention at a given moment, such as deadlines, activities for instructors to grade or provide feedback for learners. The information is contextual for the different roles and provides important information for all users.

Social interactions, which are proven elements that greatly impact learners’ success, can also be found in this view. Users can find the latest messages and recent contributions in forums.

Getting Back to Where You Were With The Table of Contents

The re-designed table of contents in Snap allows instructors to build courses that follow a narrative and flow. By placing the table of contents at the start of the course, learners can quickly understand course contents and focus on a specific page or topic by jumping directly to the chosen section.

The table of contents also shows learner progress so its function is much greater than a simple list. It helps keep track of where the learner is at in their course journey and helps alleviate the stress of not knowing where the learner should go next. It is all clear, simple, and consistently presented.

Customizing and Configuring Your Courses

For site administrators, Snap includes detailed menus and pages of settings so users can control and adjust the layout of their site without having to master CSS to make the changes. The course display page allows users to change the layout template for courses, move the table of contents, or choose how resources are displayed.

If users want to choose from presets or add their institution’s color code into the settings, they can use CSS overrides to change the settings to match their brand style guides.

Ready to take your LMS experience to the next level? Contact us for more information or to request Brand Match.

Andy Braden
About the author

Andy Braden

Customer Education Consultant at Open LMS

Customer Education Consultant at Open LMS

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