A design, in general, is never random. It is purely a product of intention, plan, and choice. It is always good to put in effort to make an appealing design, but at the same time, one needs to make sure that the design is effective and practical.
No matter how beautiful the design is, but if it does not communicate with the target audience, it would not be of any use.
If you learn about the science behind effective eLearning design, you would be able to communicate with your learners and help them understand more about your subject, change their perceptions and their way of thinking.
Characteristics of a Good eLearning Design
If you think colors, imagery, contrast, fonts, and shapes are the only parameters that help you judge a design’s appeal, you need to stop thinking that way. There are other things that add more to a design’s appeal.
Let’s discuss them in detail
- It Should Create The Flow
A good designer knows that the elements in a design should not compete with each other. They should focus towards one single goal and direct the reader without any hassle.
It should create a strong visual hierarchy. In other words, it should lead the learner’s vision in focusing on the first thing first and follow the rest in a proper order.
While designing your screens, one must consider the following points:
- Start by considering a center of attention, then use space, shapes, and size to lead to the next most important thing, one after the other.
- Use fonts that are large, eye-catchy and simple font for headings, sub-headings and important sections in order to make the important information stand out.
- Make clear and distinct sections. This can be done by using boxes, frames, color or anything that distinguishes the elements.
- Orient images and graphics in a way that it leads the viewer’s eyes inside-out, and never away from the screen.
- Make it easy to read for your audience, so that they don’t have to find it hard to understand.
- Do not stuff your words too close or space them too much unnecessarily.
- Stylize your headings and subheadings in the same way throughout the article in order to maintain a uniformity in it.
- Use bullet points. This is a very good example of distinguishing elements, that separates the important sections.
- Try to put the related information or elements as close as you can. This would enable the viewer to pull them together in their minds easily.
- A Good Design Uses Contrast To Highlight The Important Points
There are some simple techniques that draw the viewer’s eyes to particular elements within a group of multiple other elements. A basic example of this is, making a phrase or word bold. This catches the attention quite easily. This is the power of contrast.
This can also be done using shape, size, typography, and variety of the elements.
- A Good Design Has Images To Convey Emotions
As we all know that images are being used to trigger emotions these days. This not only engages the viewer’s mind but also helps them focus on things in great detail. For instance, when we see the features of a smartphone in pictorial form, relating and understanding them comes naturally in a playful way. In fact, we can remember more in less time.
When we see this from a learner’s perspective, it helps them get aligned and understand the info which in turn gets them engaged with the content.
- A Good Design Uses Shapes and Icons to Enhance Scannability of the Screen
During the absence of the tutor or the trainer, objects, icons or shapes keep a lot of value. This can be done using arrows as an obvious choice or lines with other elements. Visual elements like animations and GIFs make it easy for the reader to understand the subject when there is not live tutor.
This has another benefit that it keeps the viewer engaged and helps them follow a proper path. They also unclutter focus making it easier to go through the major ideas appearing on screen.
- A Good Design Shows A Great Use Of Color
The designer should understand that color has more importance than just enhancing the look of the course. Basically, the designer should display harmony in color combination that conveys the information better, and avoids distraction.
But, on the bigger picture, you should also consider the psychological factors associated with color. A recent study published in Management Decision shows that about 90% of decisions that we make quickly when it comes to products are based on the significance of color.
What makes these reactions so strong? This is closely related with our survival instincts, and that our reactions are sometimes subconscious.
We associate colors with our emotions and culture in one hand, and association with certain seasons, holidays, weather, etc. on the other.