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Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

Swipe-ify Next and Previous Links?

I’ve just been looking at the OU’s Moodle VLE which have things like this in them (my highlighting):

Unit_1_Overview_of_H818__1_3_Introducing_the_idea_of_an_‘open_studio’_and_Unit_1_Overview_of_H818__1_3_Introducing_the_idea_of_an_‘open_studio’

That is, previous and next links, in quite small type. Increasing amounts of out materials are presented as HTML docs, with sections automatically segmented into separate HTML pages. So for example, here’s the navigation (i.e. page chunking) for a randomly selected unit of a randomly selected course.

pagification

The same materials are also made available in a variety of document formats:

alternativeFormats

One of the disadvantages of the HTML page link click model is that it requires mouse cursor movement and click actions. I’m not sure how quickly you can tab to the previous and next links, or whether keyboard shortcuts are available. (If they do exist: a) what are they; b) where would I learn about them as a student?)

On a tablet, the keyboard shortcuts aren’t really relevant – however, what might be useful would be to be able to swipe left or right for the previous/next actions. Maybe the VLE supports that already? Or maybe the browser ties the swipe to forward and back history buttons/operations and overriding them for previous and next link operations (so maybe use upswipe and downswipe, or diagonal swipe, instead?)

I’m guess what I’m really wondering is, is there a progressive enhancement library that allows swipe gestures to be tied to click actions, and if so, if implemented in the VLE (assuming the VLE doesn’t already provide a mobile theme that supports this sort of action), what would it actually feel like to use?

Written by Tony Hirst

July 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Posted in OU2.0

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. There aren’t any keyboard shortcuts. That might be a nice thing to add in future – even if not obvious, it’s the sort of thing people could just try (assuming we can use left/right arrow) and knowledge will spread.

    The swipe possibility is interesting, but I would be concerned if it does override default browser behaviour. Also don’t think up/down (confused with scrolling?) or diagonal would be useful. If we can’t have the natural gesture then it’s probably better to have none at all.

    I think the links should probably be given either bigger text or at least bigger hitboxes, as they may be difficult to press on a phone screen.

    BTW there is currently a separate mobile theme, but I am hoping we can retire it when we next redesign.

    sam marshall

    July 8, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    • Sam
      I’m surprised there aren’t keyboard shortcuts? Is there a Moodle accessibility theme?!

      Re: the swipes – agreed probably less than useful if not intuitive, but then I started wondering about what intuitive is… eg I don’t get on with iPad at all, and sometimes if there are scroll bars on a page things can get complicated deciphering what the intent behind an action might be?

      Tony Hirst

      July 8, 2014 at 4:40 pm


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