One of the things that’s still very much on the WriteToReply to do list is to identify and address the various accessibility issues with the site that might prevent government agencies, and other publicly funded bodies, for adopting the platform for the republication of their own documents.
We face a similar problem in education, (the need to conform to quite stringent accessibility guidelines), so I started to wonder whether or not we could reuse tricks and tips from the OU’s Moodle VLE. Now I don’t think that the VLE supports document commenting in the way that we do on WriteToReply, but it does support forums. Which got me thinking: what would WTR look like if we supported inline comments, using a metaphor along the lines of: suppose each paragraph is a forum post, and each comment on a paragraph is like a reply to that post…
Here’s what an OU forum looks like:
And here’s how reply (comment) threads work:
So what sort of layout do we currently have on WriteToReply? Well, the comments are siloed in a floating comment box, with icons associated with each paragraph that allow uses to open up the related comments in the comment box, as well as displaying the number of comments associated with the corresponding paragraph.
The question now arises: can we learn anything from the way forums are presented about how we might render inline comments within a document? It’s important to bear in mind that we are exploring the notion of exactly what we mean by commentable documents, particularly atomised commentable documents, so don’t get too hung up on the idea that we might be proposing things that would make a PDF look clunky…
Here’s my first guess at what inline comments might look like, put forward purely as a straw man:
What do you think? Worth exploring further?
PS on the accessibility question, see also Name that tool: forthcoming ‘BBC Accessibility Settings Tool’ needs you