Font, Background, and Skin Color Choices
| This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas |
| Idea will be open for vote Wed. June 3, 2015 - Wed. September 2, 2015 Learn more about voting...|
What I envision is simple themes in course settings (similar to what Blogger allows) or in the rich content editor. With HTML 5 and CSS 3 this should be possible, http://www.alistapart.com/articles/more-meaningful-typography/ (hint, hint). Keep the themes simple so they are accessible. The area that I would really love to see some improvements is the font settings. I would love to have some high quality font choices for body text and better font settings for line-height. I really hate the default font. It is hard to read. This was requested in the old community and it had 101 votes and much discussion on it.
| Comments from Instructure on YEAR-MM-DD|
After Discussion with our Engineers we are marking this idea as complete. Some of your requested features have been implemented and some have not:
Thank you for your feature idea. Please check out the new Theme Editor currently in Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-08-08). The new theme editor does not allow for font selection, but it does provide color personalizations as you suggested. For usability and accessibility reasons, we don’t plan on adding the ability for users to pick their own custom fonts to the Theme Editor though.
Added to Theme
Completed Ideas that pre-date the Ideas and Themes structure Theme Status: Delivered
Thank you for taking the time to submit to the feature ideas forum.
I just now updated your idea submission to the queue that will open for vote on June 3rd.
I love your idea of simple themes! This would make Canvas really visually appealing, especially for our younger users, as well as easier to access for our teachers who are new to an LMS. Thank you for suggesting this!
I really love this feature request snugent - we have requests from instructors so often who want to make their content more visually appealing. The ability to do this in a simple way would be a great benefit.
Thank you for your feature idea. Please check out the new Theme Editor currently in Canvas Beta Release Notes (2015-07-27) . The new theme editor does not allow for font selection, but it does provide color personalizations as you suggested. For usability and accessibility reasons, we don’t plan on adding the ability for users to pick their own custom fonts to the Theme Editor though.
For theme fonts I would like to see some choices like Lucida Grande or Arial Unicode MS as available. I teach courses with phonetic symbols (e.g. ə,ɛ,ɪ,ŋ), not all of which are in Helvetica Neue. At that point the browser switches to a random font and it looks ugly.
I can use CSS in the Rich Content Editor in code view to work around this in most parts of the course, but it doesn't work in item titles.
P.S. I'm also a fan of SIL fonts like Gentium which are licensed for this kind of use.
I really like this suggestion and appreciate that Canvas engineers have responded favorably, but it needs to be developed further. I believe the reason Google Classroom, Weebly, and Blogger are attractive to users is their ability to choose a theme. I have found Canvas to be very tedious and time consuming to make appealing for myself, much less a younger, more visual generation. Canvas designers commented that "the new theme editor does not allow for font selection, but it does provide color personalizations as you suggested." I have tried to use the background feature, but it only highlights the sentence in a color of choice. It seems that I need to learn html language in order to apply this feature? This is neither practical nor efficient for most teachers, which will drive teachers to always choose an easier option! I spoke with more experienced teachers and was told that you could utilize features in Google docs to decorate a page, but I tried it and didn't like the way it looked. Twentry-first century learning requires visual aesthetics. A picture (artistic page) says a thousand words! I want my students to be able to enjoy my Canvas page. While different fonts would be cool, I'm more concerned with making my page visually pleasing according to my classroom environment and personality. In short, Canvas is easy to navigate but it is visually unappealing to me as the teacher and I'm sure to students!
Personally, I have to respectively disagree with you. Visual attractiveness is defined by the personal experience and perspective of the user. I prefer a clean page with very little color and a high contrast ratio. So what is aesthetically pleasing is different for every individual. Furthermore, as Lily Calder says, "Here’s a stone-cold, irrefutable fact: accessibility trumps aesthetics. Every time." For example, as a member of the older generation, I find nothing visually aesthetic about the 8 point font you used in your posting. Why? Because I can only barely read it with a struggle!
As educators using an LMS our purpose is to teach, to guide minds to deeper understanding, to share ideas, to spark the creation of ideas, to engender creativity, to lift the imagination, develop wonder, foster a love of learning, share information, stir emotions, inspire ideals, develop frameworks of understanding and so much more - the most important job on Earth! And most importantly, it is our job to do so for all of our students! Not for just those with perfect vision and who share our sensibilities of design aesthetics. One of my hobbies is as an artist craftsman in mixed media. You like my art, fine. You don't like my craft fine. I don't have an obligation to teach you my vision. As a teacher, I have an obligation to do everything in my power to create an environment in which all of my students have an opportunity to learn.
this means that for me, accessibility is very important, and I remind myself by falling back on the definition of web accessibility found on w3c's website,
"Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging. Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities.”
There is a great interview with Tim Wright and Steve Hickey on the Fresh Tilled Soil web site that you might find interesting, and informative. Accessibility vs. Visual Design
Check it out.
Oh yeah, one more thing - I really prefer reading 14 pt. font.
Like others here, I would like to see added to the text editor the ability to choose fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman. I teach writing, and Arial, in particular, comes closest to 10 words per line and 250 words per page.
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