2008/03/27

Is Moodle ugly?


One of blogs I have in my reader published today article about Moodle : Training the Web Worker Way: Moodle

Some interesting links there, but first comment under that article has brought up a question I heard more often recently. "Moodle is bad designed", "Moodle UI is too complicated" or "Moodle is just plain ugly".

I am working with Moodle for years, I am not encountering that problem often. (And when I don't know, how something is working, I just look into code...I know, I am weird ;-) )

What do you think? Is this correct? Are you getting lost all the time when you use Moodle? Any specific ideas for better UI? Any thoughts welcomed.

Picture inspired by Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame

7 comments:

everdream said...

Moodle is ugly and it could learn a few lessons from Joomla or Drupal as far as customizing the positioning of modules/blocks. In Joomla, it is so easy for me to move things around without having to resort to editing the CSS/HTML. In Moodle, this is not so.

Also, there are only a few well designed themes for Moodle (I know this is subjective, but compare it with all the available themes for Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress and you'll see what I mean). If I had more time, I'd work on creating some new designs for themes, but I've found that I like some from New School Learning, so I'll be happy with these and just "tweak" them as necessary.

Is Moodle ugly? Yes! But I still use it for my corporate LMS because its Open Source and there's large support community. It may be ugly, but it is functional!

Eamon said...

I agree @everdream. Moodle has had a lick of the ugly stick. Its hard to organise a lot of stuff in a course without sticking it all in one long page. I've tried social, weekly and the other formats and none of them are quite right.

When you link a resource in a frame it adds an ugly frame border. why oh why not supress the border?
WebCT was a plain old dame but even she 'd put Moodle to shame.

everdream said...

I ended up using the theme "Experience 24/7 4.5" because it has a nice clean look. I decided not to display course or categories on the front page and instead just create a table in HTML with icons from the Nuvola set which link to the categories I've created.

You can see a screenshot here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Richard.Ingalls/ScreenshotsAndStuff/photo#5185550426456467682

everdream said...

Sorry. Try ths screen shot again here

Eamon Costello said...

@everdream
I like it. nice icons and a good uncluttered feel.

everdream said...

Thanks eamon. Sometimes simplicity is really the key - and in my organization it is the difference between success or failure. I work in a rural hospital with lots of non-tech-savvy people. They need simple, intuitive buttons and not a lot of text to read. This layout was quick, easy, and simple. I think the designers at Apple are on to something with the iPhone interface, so I was inspired to follow that pattern. Nuvola iconset is just great! I wish I knew how to design icons like that (and had the time to do it).

Anonymous said...

Taming Moodle? Nice idea. If it ever happens!

Yes, it is ugly, but most of all I think it is extremely user unfriendly in terms of getting this thing running for the first time - when the end user is not too much of a software geek. I wanted this to run in my Windows 7 machine with Apache and mysql server I already have. Instructions looks way too complicated, sort of a tech tool designed by sw engineers for sw engineers. Unless there is a dedicated IT team, this is not going to fly for small scale users...