Designing the dashboard in Mahara

I don’t know about you, but I’m always at a loss as to what should go on the landing page of Mahara. When we first used it we left the default block on there with the quick links to various sections, which also reflected what I deemed to be a great portfolio building process: Create > Organise > Share. But apparently not! Staff and students were still getting stuck on what to do when they first logged in. I did like the idea from PACE Uni in the States of giving students a choice of either uploading content or creating a page, however I felt that a bit of a ‘how to’ was more necessary.

So, as per usual, an idea popped into my head. The little ‘i’ icon dotted around Mahara is rarely used. What if we could replace it with helpful info? So I sketched it out in PowerPoint and emailed it to the Systems Dev (Roger) for his thoughts:


This prompted Roger to look at what was feasible and what would be the best solution for us. He suggested that instead of having 3 buttons and links on each section of the tabs, that perhaps one new button should be put in place that captures what’s to be shown. Using the first word in each of my explanation (what, how, see) we can build a great model that could be used throughout the site! It also meant that it would be easier and less effort to replace one button for each upgrade:



Now this was sorted we could start to work on the dashboard. Below are a series of ideas starting from my initial sketch to what will be used when we upgrade:



Initial idea before the ‘What, How, See’


First idea (by me!)


Version 2 by Christina Ryan (currently live)



Version 2 (dev server)

Version 3 by Paul Maple (on the dev server)

What I like about my job, especially in my team, is that I am free to put forward ideas that can make a difference. Hopefully what we are doing will have a positive impact on student and staff support (staff are supposed to meet with us prior to using Mahara with their students). Fingers crossed!



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