I'm pleased today to be able to announce the release of Adapt Framework v4 - our first major release since that of v3 back in March 2018.
(Considering v2 was released in August 2015, we've certainly speeded up our development cycle considerably!)
The main focus of this release was on Adapt's accessibility functionality. We've always taken great pride in how good the accessibility features of Adapt are - but some recent feedback from the community and some of the clients of the various collaborators made us aware it wasn't quite as good as it could be - and, to quote the revolutionary thinker, philosopher, political activist and one of the founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Paine: "A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be." - so naturally we felt we had to improve on the work we'd done in v2 and v3.
The headline change to accessibility in v4 is that we have removed the need to have an 'accessibility mode' that a user of assistive technology has to enable. In Adapt v4, accessibility is always there - but essentially invisible to anyone not using assistive technology.
A side-benefit of this is that keyboard accessibility has been greatly improved in that only interactive elements of the page will receive tab focus when there's no screen reader running.
In addition to this, we've also improved the use of headings within the page, following feedback that many screen reader users make extensive use of headings to quickly navigate through the page - these headings now also state what's been completed and what hasn't, allowing a screen reader user to quickly find any incomplete content on the page.
This new page level progress functionality is further enhanced by the addition of completion indicators which can be enabled at page/article/block/component level.
Alongside the extensive accessibility updates, we've also made the following improvements*:
- the media component can now remember the learner's choice of closed caption setting, so they only have to set this once per course
- the language picker now has an option to retain the user's progress when changing language (providing all the languages follow the exact same course structure)
- improved support for Adapt content in iframes (via the new
- page level progress drawer view can also now show the progress of articles and blocks
- the Accordion component now supports 'inview' completion (bringing it in line with all the other presentation components)
- support for
- free unicorns for all Adapt users
- ongoing improvement to the code with more model-view separation in plugins and much of the code that was duplicated across plugins moved into the core code
* some improvements may be fictional
So please do fire up the old command line to download and start using the most accessible version of Adapt ever made!
In the meantime we'll be working away in the background putting the finishing touches on all this, which will involve:
- Getting a new demo course onto adaptlearning.org (the current demo is Adapt v2!)
- Writing some accessibility documentation
- Reviewing and testing the updates to the Matching component (the old version wasn't at all accessible)
One thing to note: we didn't make the updated plugins dependent on v4 of the framework unless they would out-and-out break if you tried to use them with an older version. This was to allow anyone using v3 but no requirement for accessibility support to take advantage of the latest version of plugins. If you are using Adapt v3 in a course that needs accessibility support, you should not update any plugin to one that has a new major version number.
Finally, it's at this point I always like to thank all the many, incredibly talented, hard-working, beautifully-scented people who contributed to the release. But this time I think special mention has to go to one Mr Oliver Foster who contributed an immense amount to this particular version- and who will absolutely, definitely have the new accessibility documentation finished any day now...