Picture of Simon Date
Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by Simon Date - Monday, 24 October 2016, 9:37 AM

Hi everyone,

Now that the UI update to the Authoring Tool has been released for almost three months now I thought it would be good to get some feedback from the community so that further improvements can be made to it.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • The navbar and sidebar are slightly too large. Whenever I seen screenshots of the Authoring Tool from users on smaller screened laptops I notice that these elements take up way too much of the screen.
  • Radio buttons on the config and project settings screens. We made a change to make this make more sense in a UI sense (all buttons are on to begin with and you click a button to turn it off). However that means if you want to view this one setting on it's on you have to turn click every other toggle instead of just clicking the one you want. I suggest we change this to an exclusive click. You click an item to turn that one on and it turns all the other ones off.
  • Colours could use some improvements. I think there are some inconsistencies in colours picked and in general the colours used may be a bit too bright.
  • The page editor screen could use some improvements
    • The 'Add block' button is way off center. (I've already addressed this in this pull request).
    • Having the component picker on the side on the right isn't great. If you have lots of components then you will be scrolling for a long time to find your particular component. I suggest that we could instead use a 'lightbox' component picker which takes up most of the screen and enables more components to be shown or more information about them. We could even link to the Usage and tips wiki.
  • The component editor screen is still missing some basic functionality

I would really appreciate it if you could share your opinions on the Authoring Tool UI so that we can reach some kind of understanding of where to prioritize future development.



Picture of Tom Taylor
Re: Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by Tom Taylor - Monday, 24 October 2016, 1:09 PM

Thanks Simon.

I think the new theme works really well, and is a massive improvement over the original design (and not to mention looks awesome).

I don't have any specific complaints, but think that there are a couple areas which could do with being the focus in the near future, namely: asset management and the 'editor' screens (ones with the actual inputs). From a usability perspective, these still leave a lot to be desired in my opinion.

I think there are actually issues logged already for most of the areas you describe (and various others besides). 


If I can also ask that any feedback people have is submitted via GitHub issues, as that makes it easiest for us to organise :)

Picture of Sam Tsiu
Re: Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by Sam Tsiu - Tuesday, 25 October 2016, 4:36 AM

Hello Simon

I really like the UI, it's so cool.

I have registered a suggestion with the AT's repo for the config radio button which is quite similar to your point 2.

I'm also thinking whether it is feasible to have 'dashboard, asset management, plugins management' on the navigation bar, instead of in a submenu. It will save a few clicks, and make them easier to find.



Picture of Nicola Bamford
Re: Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by Nicola Bamford - Friday, 11 November 2016, 6:49 PM

Hi Simon

Not sure where to log these so I'll add them here. Happy them to copy them across elsewhere if needed.

Overall, I really like using the authoring tool. I think it's an intuitive and easy to use.

A few suggestions (bit of a waffle):

- MCQ styling: Would it be possible to add bold, italic and underline buttons for the question options editor? Not everyone will know how to add the CSS tags (although these do pull through if you add them). 

- Add instruction text above the cog on the menu editor: This stumped me when I first started working with tool as I thought it meant 'edit the page' rather than edit the text for the menu item. It took me a while to work out that I had to double click to be able to edit the page itself. Yep, dumb moment.

Maybe a bit of instruction text here like "Select the cog to edit the menu text, or double click the menu item to edit the page." 

- Add an amends log: Would it be possible to have some kind of amends log integrated into the tool? Say you have multiple people working on the same module and want to log the action, date and time for version control reasons (e.g. "Removed text component Y following design review..")

(Temporary solution - text block on the end of each page to be hidden during download, but it would be good to get an actual log in there.)

- Temporarily disable a block or component: At the moment, the tool lets you 'hide' a component from but not sure if this affects the functionality. Say the page is coming up with an 'Error' message but all components are in place. You want to try disabling the components one by one to see which one is causing the issue without rebuilding each one.  

- Create a bugs FAQ

Sorry if this already exists. I noticed the Help section in authoring tool versions I've used does link you to some great info. But if I was writing a bugs FAQ, some things I would include would be what causes constantly buffering (e.g. menu settings) and a translation of common error messages.


Think I've rambled enough. Well done if you got to the end of all that.


Picture of Christian Lee
Re: Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by Christian Lee - Wednesday, 21 December 2016, 11:18 AM

I'm new to the authoring tool, but I'm finding it leads to a good workflow once you get used to where things are. The one thing for me that is missing is removing a theme. I've uploaded a theme I modified (but doesn't work) so I'd like to remove it but cannot, not from the authoring tool anyhow.

Wishlist: A preview image of the theme would be a nice touch from an e-learning designers  perspective


Picture of aaron quinn
Re: Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by aaron quinn - Friday, 30 December 2016, 8:21 PM

after using the authoring tool, it would be nice if the add component sidebar would separate the built-in plugins from the user uploaded plugins. this would make it easier to spot the core components that are included with the tool.

in addition, it would be nice to sort the plugin browser by date updated. this would make it easier to find what’s new, for those (like me) that have almost everything installed.

Picture of Phil Wray
Re: Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by Phil Wray - Monday, 16 January 2017, 2:42 PM

When configuring a lot of extensions on components and block in the authoring tool it would be helpful to have some sort of visual note that something is enabled on that block/component, without having to go into it to check.

icon's would be better, also may be link direct to its settings

a rough example

T = trickle, A = assesment, P = Page level progress


Picture of Brian Quinn
Re: Adapt Authoring Tool - UI update
by Brian Quinn - Monday, 16 January 2017, 4:40 PM

Hi Phil,

That actually sounds like a useful features.  I'm not sure if letters are the way to go, due to conflicts between plugins which begin with the same letter, but I could certainly see some kind of call-out type widget which could display the plugins when you hover over or click it.

I've raised this as an issue: