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Improving Stylus Functionality in DocViewer

Improving Stylus Functionality in DocViewer

(1)

The original idea to enable stylus use in Doc Viewer for touch enabled Windows devices like the Surface pro has been partially met - https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8810-use-of-stylus-with-docviewer?sr=search&searchId=c983e3a5-...

However, the process of using the stylus requires the Action Button on the side of the stylus to be pressed down continuously whilst you write. Whilst this may have not caused issues on the stylus used to test the product (Wacom Bamboo pen?) it is both uncomfortable and unnatural for most of the other devices eg SurfacePro pen.

The Action/Right click button the stylus was not intended to be held down for long periods of time. Pressing down the button when using the Surface Pro stylus is not easy and is not a natural use of the stylus. What is more, you have to grip the pen tighter which is not great for any long term use.

A number of testers and commentators on the original idea have recognised similar impracticality with the current solution and you can also read their views in the Comments section of the original idea.

The idea being submitted asks Canvas to revisit the stylus and improve/develop the functionality of the solution.

Please can we use the stylus in the way it is intended WITHOUT the need to hold/press down any additional buttons at the same time as annotating.

Many thanks.

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For details, please refer to the Canvas Release Notes (2019-05-11) .

28 Comments
h_g_e_meijer
Community Member

I just want to annotate the PDFs handed in with my feedback in a way that students understand naturally.
Holding this button for a long time is asking for RSI, and I just cant keep it pushed for much more than two seconds.

shaider
Community Member

Before Canvas got rid of CrocDoc and made their own annotating tool in speedgrader, while kludgey, it was usable.  There is no way I can annotate and have it reasonably legible and grade with ease while holding down a button on the stylus.  Canvas!!!  Annotating documents is now the way of the world and you are VERY behind the times.  You obviously did not have feedback from users while designing the new feature.  I'd be happy to work with you (I'm in Utah) as you work and improve this feature.

Shawna Haider
Professor Emeritus Mathematics
Salt Lake Community College.

gbaxley
Surveyor

Yes, this feature is still in need of significant improvement. Get rid of the requirement to hold in the stylus button, and move the 'accept/delete' pop up box that obscures the writing surface.

Or, start a program where Canvas buys anyone who comments here an iPad Pro tablet so we can use their system.

Thank you, Gideon!

GideonWilliams
Adventurer III

I like both your suggestions :O) I would opt for the Surface Go just to balance things up...

GideonWilliams
Adventurer III

I take all your points and it is a source of continued frustration to me that more could be done to address the Ed part of the EdTech. There are many features of Canvas that are good but feel that with a little more engagement could be amazing! Elements of Quizzes.next, Rubrics, Self Assessment and ePortfolios being amongst them. Perhaps I am a little unfair as my comparisons are always with Moodle.

I dont live in Utah but would happily come over from Netherlands to help out too... :O)

cc_armidale
Community Member

I entirely support this suggestion (surprise, surprise). I'll pass on the details to my colleagues and see if we can't push the vote up significantly over the next week or so. It's a term break here in NSW, though, so maybe we won't have a significant response immediately. However, I'm passionate about this and will ask others to respond.

Power to the people!  

cc_armidale
Community Member

PS: I'm not alone in my school in feeling this way. The sense of disappointment among my colleagues when they found out about the button issue was palpable. We are all still downloading documents to annotate them in other platforms (MS Office, Acrobat Reader, etc.) and uploading them into the SpeedGrader comments for student access when we finish. It's a workaround, but it adds multiple steps to what should be a seamless process within Canvas.

jlloyd
Surveyor

Completely agree with this - proper annotation should be entirely possible! Just think inking tools on the Microsoft suite ... would have some very happy teachers! 

natalie_shephar
Community Member

The button issue is a pain - I have given up attempting to write comments and instead use the annotation tools within Speedgrader - time consuming. Anything to streamline and make life more efficient with regards to annotating would be most welcome, as it would better support the learning of students to provide quicker feedback. I have to resort to downloading pics to word, annotating, scanning and uploading to Canvas.  Not exactly the greatest use of time. 

j_terrington
Community Member

Getting this fixed would help with speeding up the process of commenting and grading - which is what Speedgrader is meant to do! Fully agree with this.

arensburg_maitl
Community Member

Currently it is painful marking in speedgrader. Pushing in the action button is very awkward and therefore not at all helpful when marking. Marking work and giving feedback is an integral part of teaching and should be the main focus in canvas. It is therefore very important for CANVAS to get this right if they want teachers to use CANVAS.

GideonWilliams
Adventurer III

Good news - I hope!!

This from Saturday's release notes:

DocViewer

Stylus Action Button

In DocViewer, the stylus action button is not required for point, free draw, free text, or area annotation types.


Explanation: When a user used a stylus in DocViewer, all annotation types required the action button, which did not align with typical stylus usage. DocViewer code has been updated to better align stylus usage with expected behavior. Note that users will still need to press the stylus action button to use the highlight or strikeout annotation types. When using a tool that does not require the action button, users can still scroll through pages using their finger.

Please try out and report back to this location which explains the chanegs made:

https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas/blog/2019/05/14/thoughts-on-stylus-support-in-speedg...

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

Thanks to everyone who is engaging in this discussion, and thanks especially to  @GideonWilliams  for linking to the Release Notes. We hope you'll find this blog post illuminating: Thoughts on Stylus Support in SpeedGrader 

h_g_e_meijer
Community Member

Wow, it actually works now. Not perfect, but I can really write my comments! Yeah.

cc_armidale
Community Member

I've not had much of a play, but from what I've done so far in SpeedGrader, this is working much, much better. Being able to move the page with my finger and write much more naturally with the stylus (given it's on a screen rather than on paper) is what was needed.

I haven't road-tested the update very extensively, but in terms of the basic functionality that we were seeking, it's now in the right place, for sure.

Thanks for the heads-up, Gideon! Thanks for the great work, Instructure engineers!

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team
Comments from Instructure

 @GideonWilliams  Thank You  h.g.e.meijer Thank You  shaider Thank You   @gbaxley  Thank You cc.armidale Thank You   @jlloyd  Thank You natalie.shephard Thank You   j.terrington Thank You arensburg.maitland Thank You  for your contributions to this conversation. This requested enhancement is now part of Canvas!

For more information, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2019-05-11).

locke
Community Member

Yeah!  It works without holding the button!

Thank you Gideon for your work and dedication to getting this operational.

nesterd
Surveyor

How, exactly, has this been deployed in Canvas? There is no Canvas Instructor app for Windows or Windows Surface, as far as I can tell, and the browser experience is still clunky. Am I missing something? 

GideonWilliams
Adventurer III

Its still not great for me I'm afraid. Nothing like the App version. If Canvas could get its stylus functionality sorted and extended - then it would make such a difference. At the moment it loses out every time to OneNote on the Surface Pro.

nesterd
Surveyor

My dream is to be able to mark up student work directly into a non-iPad Tablet, using a modern stylus on a tablet inside a modernized Canvas app. That dream will have to wait, I suppose!