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More intuitive term sorting/presentation

More intuitive term sorting/presentation

(12)
So, my impression is that terms are sorted based on date and, perhaps, name. But it doesn't seem consistent. For example, here's the term order on the admin Terms page, which appears to be in descending order by start date, with terms with the same dates sorted alphabetically. Which makes sense.

38274_Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.48.16 AM.pngScreen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.48.16 AM.png

But now, when I go to a term pull-down menu, that order is reversed, putting my active terms at the bottom of the list:

38275_Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.50.12 AM.pngScreen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.50.12 AM.png

I see three key improvements to be made in the presentation of terms:

  1. Let's be consistent and use the same order in every listing. Doesn't matter what order -- but it should be the same. I don't have the bandwidth to re-figure this out every time I look at it.
  2. Let's make sure the active terms are most readily available. This probably means that they should stay at the top of the Terms page and move to the top of the drop-down menu.
  3. Let's mark active terms so that they're more readily apparent. For example (as you can see below), I use some CSS to highlight active courses in user details -- that visual cue for active terms would be great. And in the drop-down, there could be a divider between the active terms (top of the menu, ideally) and the inactive terms (bottom of the menu, ideally).

38276_Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.54.05 AM.pngScreen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.54.05 AM.png

(As an aside… what on earth order are courses listed in? I mean… jeez. Also, obviously, I fiddled with the CSS of the div that holds the course listing so it autosizes to include everything, rather than just display 3 or 4 courses.)

42 Comments
biray
Community Champion

I can see how more consistency and intuitive organization of course and term sorting in Canvas would make more sense. Smiley Happy

mlattke
Instructure
Instructure

I agree with this very thorough assessment of the way terms appear.  It is currently overly difficult to find the term you are looking for if you have a long list of terms.

SHEBENE
Community Champion

Additionally it would be nice that eventually we could hide or archive a term without nuking it.

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Okay. It's not that I've been obsessing about this. Much. But I was pondering what my optimal ordering would be, given my agglomeration of terms and term dates, and I came up with this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 8.29.27 AM.png

Essentially what I've done is create four groupings of terms:

  1. Active Terms -- at the top, most frequently needed, sorted in order by start date ascending and then alphabetically ascending
  2. Undated Terms -- also frequently used (maybe it should be first? who knows? This is what UX testing is for, right?) sorted alphabetically
  3. Future Terms -- next most needed, sorted by start date ascending and then alphabetically
  4. Past Terms -- least often needed (amiright?) but not never needed, sorted by end date descending, then alphabetically. Why end date descending? Because it feels right to me… it feels like I'm positioned in time and looking forward and back.

Of course, my actual term list is somewhat longer than the menu I mocked up, but the general idea stands, I think. And it makes me happy just to look at a better organized version of my term list.

SHEBENE
Community Champion

Why can't I "like" this comment more than once?

That's awesome. Let's make that screenshot happen people! (and add archiving if possible)

clong
Community Champion

YES!!! I was just thinking that as institutions start approaching more and more years of Canvas use this is going to be a big problem. I'd love to see something like  @SethBattis ​ suggestion above come to be.

mhebert
New Member

Please! This gets very confusing when you have dozens (hundreds?) of sections that look virtually identical.

ejbauer
Community Member

Definitely need courses sorted by term! Something similar to following screenshot.

courses by term.JPG

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Huh. As I'm resetting the academic year, I notice that there is a third space where term sorting could be gainfully employed: individual users' course listings (duh).

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.11.08 AM.png

Right now, you can see a mix of courses where I went back in an renamed courses at the end of the year (since Canvas wasn't showing the terms next to them) and those that have not (yet) been renamed. Really, this list should be broken up into (persistently collapsible -- remember what I collapsed) sections by term. Sorted in the same order as everywhere else.

hesspe
Community Champion

I can't see a reason why Canvas doesn't enforce putting a start date on any term that is created.  It seems to me that would help build a sort algorithm based on term start date, and I can't see a downside to doing that.  If you do, I'm curious to know what it is.  As it stands now the default start date is "whenever".  For some reason where I am, we've left the default in place, and I can't see how that can be useful.  One thing it really complicates is someone attempting to adjust dates when copying a course.

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Well… I do have a term or two that have no dates associated with them, so that they are just always open. But I could create that same phenomenon by picking a start date like Thursday, January 1, 1970.

hesspe
Community Champion

or even a start date of today would work, right?

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Probably, yes.

allison
Instructure
Instructure

Thanks, everyone, for your feedback and comments. I am currently planning a project of small UX enhancements for Admins and this seems like a great candidate for my wishlist of fixes. I don't have a timeline on when the changes would be implemented, but I do want to dig a little deeper and get an estimate from our engineers. I will be limiting my research this go around to lists and dropdown menus containing terms. Changing how courses are listed or sorted other places in the UI would be a separate (but important) feature request.

I'd like to start by assembling a complete and prioritized list of these locations so I can get an estimate from our engineers. Exact URLS would be really helpful for our UX team, for example:

Admin Courses Page https://allison.instructure.com/accounts/1

Admin Users Page https://allison.instructure.com/accounts/1/users

Admin Terms Page https://allison.instructure.com/accounts/1/terms

Admin Settings Page https://allison.instructure.com/accounts/1/settings

Are there any others we should add?

 @SethBattis ​, I really like your suggested categorization. Does anyone on the thread have different ideas about how terms should be categorized? We'll definitely reach out to the community for additional feedback once this request makes its way to design.

Thanks again everyone!

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Deactivated user​, here's my list of where I see the terms list showing up:

btatham
New Member

I agree. Too many terms for each school especially if your school has been a customer for many years. Too bad that the old terms could be set to a "disable" phase so that they are no longer viewable. Not sure if deleting them makes sense when I don't know the extent of harm that would cause to the data integrity.......????

allison
Instructure
Instructure

 @SethBattis ​, I have taken an inventory and screenshot of each of these URLs you shared and added them to a larger project for making small improvements to the Admin UI. This is something we definitely want to do but it's not something we can commit to during the next six months. I will archive this idea in the meantime.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. This a solid idea and something I'm excited to work on just as soon as we can squeeze it in.

scook
New Member

I added another request to hopefully get this higher on the list to do.  Here is the request  

Hopefully we can get this done sooner than later and take in to account the additional idea of show / hide.

scook
New Member

I am going to try to get this done a bit faster by doing another vote, check it out.  Thanks

scook
New Member

I am want this to change sooner than later, lets try and vote it agian  

Thanks.