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Community Member

How does the Enhanced RCE reduce clicks?

[skip to below for actual question]

After looking at the 'Enhanced RCE', I noticed that many of the available commands that used to be one click away are now buried in sub-items in the menu. Thinking back to my basics of web design almost 30 years ago, I remember learning that the fewer clicks users need to perform to achieve their goal, the better, so the Enhanced RCE seems to break this rule.

Additional clicks required by Enhanced RCE: 20 (table below)

To change anything within a web-based editor, the user must select the item they wish to change (e.g., text, image) then engage in visual search to find the feature in the toolbar then perform a click or series of clicks to affect change on the item.

This involves:

  1. Moving their eyes from the thing they'd like to change to the toolbar in general
  2. Engaging in visual search to find the action they'd like to perform
  3. Moving their cursor to the found item on the toolbar 
  4. Clicking the item to affect change

Every one of these actions causes a slight delay as the user searches for an acts upon User Interface elements, and this does not become automatic for expert users. This is why the reduction of clicks for users to achieve their goals is one of the most basic rules of web design.

In educational settings, many users, including teachers and students may not consider themselves experts at technology, and may become easily frustrated by more clicks and inability to find tools. In common word processing tools such as Word or Google Docs, which form the basis for experience for many educational users, the text editor toolbar usually presents all of these options in once place, similar to the existing RCE. 

As a case, this change in Rich Content Editor (RCE) currently planned by the Canvas LMS actually presents many points for slowing a user down (barriers). As the Enhanced RCE hides many features under sub-items, this may force users to have to click on items to explore and find what they're after if they're not sure of its location, or if the icons are not intuitive for them.

If a user is attempting to create a piece of content within the system that contains all of these elements listed, this means they are slowed down 20 additional times than they would be using the current RCE.

I guess my question here is "Am I missing something? Does the Enhanced RCE make the creation of content in canvas faster and easier? If so, how?"

I also find it interesting that even on this platform, many of the items listed below are one click away, and yet for the production version of the product itself, barriers are being put up for users. Anyone else feel the same way?

Clicks to access these commands

Set Heading22-
Bold text11-
Italicize Text 11-
Underline Text11-
Clear Formatting12+1
Left Align11-
Right Align12+1
Centre Align12+1
Increase Indent11-
Decrease Indent12+1
Numbered List12+1
Create Table12+1
Insert Media12+1
Create Link: External12+1
Create Link: Course24+2
Break Link12+1

Insert Image: Course


Insert Image: Flickr

23 (replaced by Unsplash)+1

LTI: Youtube


LTI: Kaltura


Record A / V


Check Accessibility

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5 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach


Great observations and I'm not going to dispute anything you say with regards to more clicks and not being easier.  I've only used it a little so far and it takes me longer to do things, but I've mostly attributed that to being so used to the old RCE and needing time to get used to it. Once thing I will mention though that is an improvement in my mind is moving the Content Selector from the right side of the page to the tool bar.  It may seem like a little thing, but when it's on the side and people are either on a small monitor or zoomed in, the content selector and sidebar items wrap to the bottom of the screen.  With the new RCE that is no longer a problem, but you have an editing area that is wider and more typically of what the end result is going to be for viewers.  So that part I do like.  We'll see if I like the rest of it once I get more time to play and get used to where things are now.


Great point @Rick - After writing this, I'm also mindful of the features that students will be using (who are the majority of canvas users, if I'm being honest). Content creation for instructors I'm sure pales in comparison to RCE users by students, so for that purpose it does make the design more straightforward and simpler.

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Community Participant

Hi stooatwork,

This is a great way to see some of the many problems with the new RCE. In addition to the extra clicks, there are extra actions as well (having to retype or copy and paste the text for links added to existing text into the link window).

I also think that having the popup windows automatically there for existing links is a distractor. I hadn't been able to describe what many of the problems are with the new RCE, but you nailed it when you described the constant having to look away to do things.

I've been lucky that I can turn off the new RCE and use it only when it is advantageous (primarily for using more than basic colors), but the having to scroll back and forth to the top of the page in order to format things has been a major time drag. I'm not looking forward to the rollout despite some of the features.

 @rmurchshafer ‌ I get what you are saying about the items moving from side to bottom vs. being at top, but I liked having them to the side and find the new requirement to dig into things and not having the easy top tab categories of links, files, images there at the ready really annoying. At first, like you, I thought it was just geting used to things. But now I've realized that it isn't just a new system issue, many of the new interface items are counterintuitive (from a generalized, not personal perspective). I can't give examples right now because I have the RCE turned off. At the end of the semester I'll try to come back and give some, but right now I have to get through all my tasks with alacrity, and the new RCE does not support that. Especially with all the scrolling. Oy!

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New Member

Hi Stoo,

I totally agree the new RCE "enhancements" make editing much more difficult and time consuming and a few of my colleagues agree with me. I am not convinced that the developers of this new experience have much day to day use of it.

The editing window which starts reduced in size and then immediately jumps to a larger size when you make one change (and you have to refind where you were working) means working on a longer page tedious. You have to scroll to the top for each modification as Rick says. 

Also the colour palette has changed from the previous one and it makes it difficult working on older modules with it. You can add to the palette with the old colour but the added colour doesn't remain when you close the course.

There are many problems with this new working environment including as you point out the increased number of clicks.Thanks for you comments. Cheers Debra Russell

Community Champion

I agree, there are many more clicks needed to do simple tasks.  I also miss the left side content selector, it made it very easy to quickly add links and content.  


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