Coming soon, a new look for SmartSite

During winter break, SmartSite is scheduled to adopt a redesigned user portal that is easier to use than the current version, especially on small screens.

SmartSite is the main UC Davis learning management system (LMS), and the portal collects all of its tools in one common interface. The redesigned "neoportal" adds a tool menu that can be collapsed, a cleaner color scheme, and a few other changes. This PDF has details and screen shots.

Users see the portal page when they log in to their SmartSite accounts.

"The change updates the look and feel of the user interface, and employs the space on the screen more efficiently," said SmartSite project manager Constance Fuller. "It doesn't change how the tools themselves behave."

The main SmartSite page,, and individual account pages will also display the revamped navigation bar and updated colors.

The Wheel, an educational technology blog for faculty, summarized the revisions in a post Nov. 12. Fuller also discussed the changes at the Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education (DOLCE) meeting Nov. 1. (In this video, her presentation starts at 42 minutes 30 seconds and lasts about 10 minutes.)

Although the design is easier to use on smartphones and tablets, the neoportal is not a mobile version of SmartSite. Nor is it part of the project to choose a successor to Sakai, the software that powers SmartSite, in 2014. The Wheel posted its latest update about the LMS Transition Initiati ve on Nov. 5. The two candidates are Canvas and Desire2Learn.

Information and Educational Technology's SmartSite group has been testing the neoportal. If the tests continue to go well, the group will install the neoportal starting at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, during winter break.