Canvas Limited-Support Guidelines for Mobile Browsers on Tablet Devices

Document created by jivedocs@instructure.com Employee on Nov 17, 2017Last modified by Erin Hallmark on Nov 20, 2017
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Overview

Canvas supports the latest two versions of the most popular desktop browsers for Canvas. Many users also rely on mobile devices. Native Canvas apps support a limited set of features on mobile, but the apps don't cover all Canvas functionality.

 

Canvas engineering teams do not fully support mobile browsers for Canvas but will ensure that critical features and functions work for tablet devices (screen sizes 7.9" or higher used in landscape mode) running the most recent version of Safari (iOS) and Chrome (Android).

 

What is Limited Browser Support?

Canvas engineering will reactively address critical issues with core features that affect the most recent version of the native browser on iOS and Android tablet devices in landscape mode.

 

Key Terms

  • Native browsers: Safari (iOS) and Chrome (Android)
  • Reactive: Quality assurance teams test against each fully-supported browser before every Canvas release. For mobile browsers, Canvas responds to problems reported by Canvas users.
  • Critical issue: An issue that makes an important feature or function unusable.
  • Core feature: A feature needed for a key teaching and learning interaction.
  • Most recent version: If there’s a more recent version of the mobile browser and updating solves the problem, that solution will be suggested as the solution.
  • Tablet devices: Devices with 7.9" or larger screens.
  • Landscape mode: The device is held so the display is wider than its height.

 

How quickly will qualifying mobile-browser issues be fixed?

Canvas treats qualifying mobile browser issues as bugs. Engineering teams triage these bugs by severity and resolve them on the following schedule:

 

SeverityDescriptionResolution Time
Level 1User can't access CanvasResources will be assigned immediately and work uninterrupted until the problem is solved.
Level 2Users can’t use a core feature; no workaround existsResources will be assigned within two hours and will work uninterrupted until the problem is solved.
Level 3Users can’t use a core feature, but a workaround existsResources will be assigned within two business days and will develop and deploy a fix within two full release cycles.
Level 4All other issues affecting only mobile browsersThe problem will be reviewed within five business days, assessing impact, resource availability, and development priorities.

A given problem may not be fixed when the impact is minor, when the affected workflow is seldom used, or when a workaround exists.

 

Caveats

Screen size and orientation

The Canvas web application is not fully responsive yet. Engineers are basing all new development on responsive-design best practices. This initiative will take some time to touch all parts of Canvas. In the meantime, Canvas will generally work better if you use a larger screen. Canvas teams may not choose to address issues that affect only devices with smaller screens or that affect larger-screen devices only when in portrait mode, even if they meet other criteria described above.

 

Flash

Flash does not work natively in mobile browsers, which is a choice Apple and Google have made. Flash drives the media recorder in browser-based Canvas, so that won’t work on mobile devices. The native Canvas mobile apps support media recording without Flash, though, so this feature is available to mobile users through the native apps.

 

Big Blue Button conferencing

Screen-sharing in Canvas Conferences requires the Java plugin for desktop browsers. This feature won’t work in mobile browsers. Big Blue Button (whose software powers Canvas Conferences) plans a mobile-friendly HTML5 version of their application down the road.

 

Partners and third-party tools

Many customers use third-party tools in Canvas, including LTI apps. Partner networks are encouraged to build tools that work well in mobile browsers, and any reported problems will be reported back to them. Some third-party tools will work better than others on mobile, and some may not work at all.

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