January 14, 2023

Week 02 2023

  • accessibility
  • Canvas
  • CSS
  • html
  • scrippsAVID
  • ScrippsOMA
  • usability
  • webdesign
  • WordPress

Course preparation is in full swing. I will be teaching two courses this Spring—a 200-level interaction design course and a graduate-level Experience Design Studio whose focus is on contextual factors that affect experiences. Of course, I am rebuilding my Canvas LMS templates again—for the fourth time. I spent much of the week preparing those templates and developing the beta for ScrippsAVID, a web app that brings ScrippsOMA to anyone via video chat. I lived in code land this week.

I’m rebuilding my Canvas templates because last semester, a student raised an issue that my previous templates did not work in dark mode on mobile devices or when students used a plugin to force Canvas into dark mode. In these cases, ay typography in my old templates turned white—often on a white background. I teach courses on designing accessible products, services, and systems—it would be horrible to ignore the accessibility of my Canvas assignment templates! All my fancy HTML and CSS wizardry is useless if the templates I make cannot be used by everyone—even in dark mode. So… I spent the better part of a week redesigning every template. It’ll be worth it, I know. Gotta “practice what I preach.” A lesson I learned to live by this week.

I learned the same lessons from the ScrippsAVID project. A member of our team is an excellent usability tester—specifically for older adults. I’m pretty good at designing responsive type sizes, color contrast, alt tags… etc. This is the first time I paid close attention to tab order—the ability to navigate a website with only a keyboard. My prototype design flat-out failed on several pages. It was humbling. After some serious JavaScript hacking and WordPress retooling, I got the site to work so anyone with a keyboard can navigate it smoothly. +1 for learning.

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