The New MIYO Textbook Editor
A few weeks ago we released a major upgrade to our textbook editing software, MIYO (Make It Your Own). Editing a textbook on the web is no small challenge considering it’s complex layout, special character sets, images and even equations. Our first major editor release attempted to cover as much functionality as possible but it came at the expense of ease of use. If you look at today’s LMS platforms you see the same challenge and result. Too much functionality to hit everyone’s specific needs resulting in something that is only usable by techies and power users.
With this in mind, we re-architected the new MIYO editor with the professor in mind.
- The most commonly used features are move and delete chapters and sections
- A less common but valuable feature is to move and edit individual text paragraphs.
- Seldom used features were around editing pedagogical data like learning objectives and key terms.
- The most complex and hard to use features were around charts, tables and figures and importing large blocks of content that require significant modification to fit into the on-line book formats.
- The on-line reader and the MIYO editor should be based on one user experience that is seamlessly integrated.
- The most common functions like moving and deleting chapters should be intuitive and easy.
- Basic editing should be seamless with the reading experience, that is WYSWIG, editing the paragraph in the page.
- Only release new features that are easy to use and highly resistant to user mistakes and system bugs.
- Ensure our power users still have access to the original editor.
One of the biggest challenges was to get true WYSWIG editing working. Most system leverage a pop-up widget that has been around for years called TinyMCE which presents a MS Word like editor to edit paragraphs. You don’t fully see the results until you save and exit your work. The extra keystrokes and clicks to move between editing and viewing can be quite cumbersome and time consuming. The future of editing on the Web is being driven by the new standards of HTML5, not yet fully supported on all browsers. To achieve this today we leveraged an open source technology called Aloha developed by Gentics Software GmbH. We took a bit of a risk with this is fairly new technology and hit some hurdles to make it work on all our supported browsers and textbook content but the end result was worth it.
Take at look at our new MIYO editor and let us know what you think. We hope it leads to more professors adapting our books so that they more closely match their curriculum and improving the quality of course material in their classes.
VP of Technology