Improving user experience on Koala LMS

Project carried out between October 2019 and April 2020 to improve the user experience within Koala LMS.

Koala LMS Logo

Development Team


Olivia Bove

Thomas Blot

Nolwenn Machon

Raphaël Penault

We are a group of students from the IUT Informatique de la Rochelle specialised in web development. We are a motivated and serious team that has been interested in Koala LMS since its presentation. Our willingness and our motivation pushed us to take initiatives to improve the user experience within Koala LMS.

Project Stakeholders

We were accompanied by :

  • Annick Lassus, our teacher and tutor. She brought us her expertise on issues related to the user experience. During our meetings, she was able to bring out points we hadn’t been paying attention to, which allowed us to improve ourselves.
  • Guillaume Bernard, engineer and coordinator of Koala LMS. He guided us through the whole process, helped us to understand Django and Python and to get familiar with the development tools. He trained us in the use of Gitlab, we were able to understand the importance of the versioning system and development workflows.

Context

Our second year of training at La Rochelle Université includes a compulsory project proposed by an external actor.

Our group was formed on the choice of project. This group, serious, motivated and pleasant was completely new, none of our group members had had the opportunity to work with another member in the past.

The coordinator, Guillaume Bernard, accompanied us to achieve the following goal: ” To create a form to allow the teacher of a subject to create his course easily within the django-learning application of Koala-LMS “. We also worked on the general user experience of the django-learning application, including the different workflows and navigation on the site.

Realisation

Overall improvement in the user experience of the learning management application


The changes made are as follows:

  • Preliminary definition of a graphic charter to discriminate courses, activities and resources. The coloured dots illustrate these new associations. Coloured separators have also been added between titles to identify the three types of objects.

Navbar update

  • Separation of the main navigation bar for widescreen use into three parts: Home, Study, Teach.
  • Editing sidebars, adding visual and colored cues, editing titles, adding the resource list in the sidebar of an activity.

Sidebar update

  • Removal of the modal window used to add or attach an activity or resource in favor of two simple buttons.

Buttons update

  • Improvement of the entities creation form: different steps have been identified to create a course for example. These steps have been divided into tabs. The course creation process is now lighter.

  • Implementation of the step-by-step forms for the creation of a course, activity, resource.

  • Add a progress bar to see the progress of steps in the creation of courses, activities, resources.

Progress bar

  • Addition of a Summary in the course, activity, resource creation forms.
  • Add user helpers/guidelines to the form.

Help text update

  • We have finally completely revised the product and proposed a adapted graphic chart.

Experience gained

Throughout the project, we developed new technical skills and discovered the issues related to a good user experience.

For the first time, we are working on a real project, different from what we have done before. Koala LMS, an already existing project, under free-license and community managed. By becoming contributors, we see the progress of our work and feel for the first time that we are useful. We worked according to the principles of the Agile manifesto and without pre-designed specifications. We worked essentially in autonomy, while being constantly accompanied throughout the development cycle.

Organisation

We have identified two major stages for our work: design and development.

For this preliminary design oriented work, we applied our skills in IT project management. We analysed the existing system and, with methodology, proceeded to its detailed review, we analysed the entire learning management application and reported each possible improvement according to the Bastien & Scapin Ergonomic Criteria for the Evaluation of Human-Computer Interfaces. We then focused on the possible solutions, proposed mock-ups while respecting the user’s path.

Concerning the development, we needed an adaptation time to understand Django and Python. We were accompanied in the discovery of the language and the implementation of the development environment. We learned the good development practices with Git with a flow similar to Gitlab Flow.

The future of the project

To ensure the continuity of this project and to allow the professionalisation of its developers, a ten-week internship has been offered to Raphaël and Olivia. They will have to continue their work in the django-learning application to improve the user experience.