New Canvas User Interface

March 16, 2016

Instructure’s new Canvas user interface (UI) will launch at Harvard on May 31. The new UI is a significant step forward for Canvas’ design, and Harvard is excited for the ways it improves the user experience and makes the Canvas platform more efficient.
Key updates to the Canvas UI include:

  • a Dashboard with Course Cards that represent a user’s courses
  • streamlined left-hand Global Navigation
  • a Theme Editor for school-level branding
  • more Responsive Design for mobile viewing
  • an overall Visual Refresh for the platform

New Canvas UI
TLT is helping to prepare students, faculty, and staff for the new UI by:

  • Communicating: At February’s Coffee & Canvas, TLT led an activity with school partners to ensure that the timeline of the new UI rollout is clear, and that the impact is well understood by academic support staff. We will continue to work with school partners on communication and training, and we will update Harvard documentation and resources to reflect the new UI.
  • Addressing technical differences: TLT’s development team is reviewing how the new UI interacts with existing Harvard customizations, and we are working with school developers to ensure that school-level customizations are reviewed and updated.
    • The new UI is available every Thursday in the test environment of Canvas so that users can begin to familiarize themselves with its enhancements.
    • A new UI preview server will be available so that school developers can work on updating local customizations in preparation for the roll-out.
  • User testing: TLT is organizing user testing sessions to learn how students, faculty, and staff interact with the new UI so that benefits and challenges can be reflected in communication planning. The new UI has also been enabled in Canvas Catalog, a platform being piloted at some schools for executive education programs, to gather as much information on the user experience as possible.