Design Principles for Components

Too many choices

  • Finding an item on a list
  • Too many unnecessary form options and screens
  • Too many choices (course creation - group tools intelligently)

Missing content

  • Provenance - where is stuff coming from?
  • Titles should match the status of a task (e.g. edit announcement vs. view announcement)
  • (M) Not clear what to do to create new course
  • "Open in a new Window" indicator - analysis that a new window is required
    • Difficult window arrangement
    • No indication that this is opening a new window - can be confusing


  • Metadata inconsistencies (terminology, display, order)
  • Form submit buttons inconsistent (forums)

Visual Style

  • Resources: "x" button to remove files is an unusual affordance, doesn't work for first file
  • Calendar - In Focus
    • Uses visual cue similar to browsers. Need something like highlight to distinguish today from other days on calendar
  • Visual indicator of what's in focus
    • Browser visual cues too faint
    • Can we enrich what the browser does?
    • Particularly difficult for tool nav, checkboxes

Missing Functionality

  • Page vs. Tool: No affordance for multiple tools on a page
  • I-frames: turning off CSS leads to collapse of content frame

Missing Accessibility

  • Access Keys
    • Potential for conflict w/ browser shortcuts, mixed feelings about benefit
    • Argues for making an on/off option
  • Semantic page construction (headers, paragraphs, hierarchy)
  • Accessible/Keyboard tool navigator
    • Exist in many cases but should for all tools
    • Definition needs to be available


  • Pain point: scroll to bottom to find a button
  • Action buttons
    • Butons typically below the fold
    • User naturally chooses "x" to get out of wherever they are
    • Need to have buttons in view anytime they could be used
  • Banner: Welcome student message should be on the left sude of the banner. Current location makes it blend in with utility links

Back Button

  • Back button doesn't work - users expect it to
  • "back" and "cancel" used interchangeably across wizards
  • Back button should always take me to the place i just came from
  • Tools should not loose work if back button is pressed


  • Internationalization