Custom eLearning Topics: 3 Tips from a Training Company Design Team to Improve UX
Custom eLearning courses must be built with the user experience in mind to be most engaging and effective. Could you use tips to improve the UX of your custom eLearning courses?
In our article this week, the graphic design team at training company AllenComm provide valuable information on what makes for good UX if you’re running an online, asynchronous course as part of your custom eLearning initiative.
Let’s start by outlining some UX basics.
WHAT IS USER EXPERIENCE (UX)?
Often, you’re likely to hear the term “UX” used when referring to software products. However, UX as a term broadly refers to the user’s experiences and needs to optimize those experiences. In learning design, it means taking the needs of the learner and constructing an experience around these needs. That’s what custom eLearning is developed to do.
Some basic, key factors when creating good UX include the following:
- Keeping everything consistent and simple
- Giving users control and freedom in cases of mistakes (undoing and redoing)
- Providing error feedback
- Avoiding technical jargon to favor familiar user language
- Reducing memory and recall loads
- Minimalize screens and dialogues
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of these points. In the FAQs below, the graphic designers that work with the AllenComm instructional design team provide three of the most important best practices for anyone building a custom eLearning course.
ASK THE CUSTOM ELEARNING EXPERTS: TRAINING COMPANY GRAPHIC DESIGNERS ANSWER QUESTION ABOUT UX
Question: What makes for good UX if you’re running an online, asynchronous course?
Answer: Keep module pages short and digestible. Learners get distracted easily and you risk losing your audience by making pages that are too long.
If the UX design process is too complicated, the design doesn’t work. For instance, when a page is chock full of distracting elements, the learner becomes disengaged.
Some simple design ideas include:
- Creating a single purpose for each page. IE: a resource page only has resources with links.
- Keeping each page’s purpose easily understandable with little explanations. IE: navigation is simple and user-friendly.
- Placing inessential information at the bottom of the page.
- Highlighting valuable information. IE: effectively using subtitles and subheadings.
- Ensuring action buttons, search fields, and navigational tools are easily found. IE: subscribe icon
- Muting background colors.
- Utilizing blue for text links and red for important information (alerts or errors).
Question: What are some tips for keeping learners on track?
Answer: Keep content interesting and relatable to their jobs. Avoid e-learning jargon.
There are many methods you can use to make your content engaging, such as gamification, simulations, images, media, questions, quizzes alongside sprinkles of trivia, and statistics.
The key to keeping it relatable, however, is knowing your audience. You cannot have an effective UX design without understanding your target audience’s needs.
Tips on getting to know your target audience during the design process include:
- Researching how users use your courses or similar courses
- Using surveys to gather user feedback
- Thinking of who, what, and how questions. WHO are your users? WHAT are their needs? HOW do their needs fit with your interface design ideas?
- Knowing your target audience demographics-age, language, education, etc.
Question: Any other tips or advice you would give?
Answer: Miller’s law states that average person can only hold 5-9 (7 plus or minus 2) new pieces of content in their short-term memory. When designing a course, keep this in mind as you can easily lose your users with anything longer than this.
Think of Miller’s law as the cardinal rule of UX. The more information added to an interface, the more difficult it is for the user to process the content. Think of it as overloading your learner’s brain with too much content.
To avoid breaking this cardinal rule, think about:
- Organizing information into categories – preferably by 5 chunks and no more than 9 chunks – as chunking helps separate complex learning tasks into more manageable categories.
- Ensuring your interface can accommodate new features without breaking this rule.
Finally, as you consider your UX design, there are three takeaway phrases to remember…
keep it simple
keep it relatable
keep it engaging.