Testing of H5P on the GDL

We are currently in the last stages of testing H5P as our tool to create mini-games and interactive content on the GDL. H5P makes it easy to create interactive content by providing a range of content types for various needs.

The GDL team is preparing to launch 5-7 H5P content types on the GDL platform in the first quarter of 2020.

You can also create interactive content by adding the H5P plugin to your WordPress, Moodle or Drupal site, or integrate it via LTI with Canvas, Brightspace, Blackboard and many other VLE’s that supports LTI integration.

For us at the Global Digital Library this is important because it will enable our users to take content from the GDL and start re-mixing on their own platforms.

The first rounds of testing were conducted in schools in Kenya and Nepal. We are currently planning the next rounds of testing in Cambodia. One of the great things with H5P is that one can test content types in different implementations without any technical programming or installation. If one content type does not work, just create a new element using a different content type.

Our most important finding from these first initial two countries is that H5P works really well to engage children that are just starting out as digital users and for children that are looking to mix reading with play and interactive content.

The focus of our testing has been:

  • to find H5P content types that could serve as interactive elements for early grade reading
  • find content types and implementations of these that work well on mobile, as well as tablets
  • work with content types that are easy to translate into new languages

In the following paragraphs, you can see examples and prototypes that we have tested, including 8 different content types.

Column and Course Presentation

The column content type allows users to add multiple-choice, fill in the blanks, texts and other types of interactions and group them in a column layout.

Column works really well on smaller screens and supports many subtypes of interactive elements within the same “user-flow”. Compared to the content type Course Presentation it presents content more responsive and device-agnostic.

The column content type we think can be central to our further work with interactive stories on the GDL while the Course presentation content type is not working well enough on smaller screens.

Examples of prototypes that we have tested:


An interactive HTML5-based flashcards content type lets you create a set of stylish and intuitive flashcards that have images paired with questions and answers.

This content type really inspires the children as an interactive element after reading a book, giving the child instant feedback on words central to the story they just read about.

Flashcards play well on smaller screens and will be used “as is” when we go live with H5P on the GDL.

Examples of prototypes that we have tested:

Memory game

The memory game content type allows authors to add their own images (and optional text) to a memory game. To play the game, users search for image pairs, which will display a specified text message once a matching pair has been found.

For smaller children that are just starting to use digital devices, this content type has been excellent as a training exercise.

Examples of prototypes that we have tested:

Branching scenario

We have experimented with this content type in user settings where the book or the story is presented as a video. The idea has been to add small quiz questions after the story to let the assess the child’s comprehension.

Branching scenario is not 100% mobile-friendly but will work on larger mobile screens.

Examples of prototypes that we have tested:

Experimentation with additional content types

We have also experimented with some additional content types that we will work more on before the next test in February 2020:

Accessibility at the core of the GDL platform

The GDL project will follow the principles of universal design and accessibility and will have a strong focus on making all content generally accessible, including for those with print disabilities, i.e. blindness or low vision, severe dyslexia, or mobility impairment.

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible. GDL will follow these guidelines to secure that the content is accessible for all users. By following these guidelines one will also often make the web content more usable in general.

The GDL platform is compliant to all WCAG 2.0 AA requirements and more than 15 of the AAA requirements.

Some of the titles that are part of the initial launch will not be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant, mostly because they lack alt-text for the pictures and illustrations.

User testing for accessibility

Successful digital initiatives are rooted in an understanding of user characteristics, needs, and challenges. User-centered design — also referred to as design thinking or human-centered design — starts with getting to know the people you are designing for through conversation, observation, and co-creation. Ensuring that our services are accessible for all has been an important part of the GDL project and we have engaged with users that have vision impairment.

Accessibility guidelines

All digital content shall conform to common accessibility guidelines (e.g. EPUB Accessibility 1.0EPUB 3 Accessibility Guidelines, and Top Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB3 Files)