How information is presented directly impacts how a person feels about the credibility of the information that is being presented. Having attractive and engaging visuals lead to inspired elearning results. In fact, it takes the average viewer less than five seconds to weigh the look of a product and make a judgment on the content’s credibility and value based on the site’s appearance. Those initial seconds can mean the difference between the learner pursuing the course or choosing instead to go to your competitor.
To make a strong first impression with your elearning course, you want a beautiful gift wrap that opens up to attractive and engaging content. Of course, creating inspired elearning courses and training programs that both engage audiences while also enhance learning can be tricky. Here are a few graphic design tricks that you can quickly master to create much more appealing content and course material.
1) Never underestimate a good color scheme.
Unless you’re in college or a busy bachelor, you’re not going to pick a random paint bucket on the home improvement discount rack. Most homes and rooms have a specific style and color scheme they’re trying to achieve. Think of the color scheme of your course materials in the same way, in that you don’t want one uniform approach, but rather complementing colors that accentuate the main attractions.
Other aspects you should consider when determining your color scheme include basing color palettes on your audience, content-type, and desired psychological impact. These are concepts that will take a bit more research, but in the end will enable you to create more engaging, inspired elearning materials. For instance, if your course is for daycare and elementary teachers, a palette featuring bright primary colors (colors often associated with young children) would be ideal. If your courses tend to more sensitive matters, such as helping others through grief, then you’d want to choose a color scheme around soft pastels while avoiding bright colors.
2) Explore your typography options.
Text is generally the primary way that information is conveyed in elearning courses and training. This makes the style and appearance of your typed materials a top priority. Follow these rules for a beautiful, inspired elearning appearance:
- Pair font with content. Just as with colors, fonts should match the subject. Fonts with lowercase capitals should be reserved for more serious or business content, while whimsical and decorative fonts are fine for more lighthearted fare.
- Mix and match fonts. Go for more than one font, but make sure they compliment and appropriately contrast each other and don’t go overboard. For example, pick one thin and one thick font for a nice balance.
- Alignment matters. Texts and pictures that are oddly aligned can be an eyesore for the viewer. Use guides and grids in your design program to easily line up and balance your content.
3) Include captivating visuals.
Visuals shouldn’t be used just to fill white space. Instead, select images to either make or reinforce points in clever and captivating ways. While text may be the main way information is gleaned, many people find such reading tiring and so great visuals are an excellent tool to keep their attention. Educate, don’t decorate and consider the following tips:
- Use images that reinforce your message. While stock photos of suits sitting at desks are cheap and easily obtainable, they’re not very specific. Take the time to really search out photos that reflect the specific training your readers are seeking out. If your budget allows, you may even want to consider crafting your own images. With the advances of smart phone camera technologies, it can be fairly easy to get that perfect, unique shot yourself.
- Incorporate visuals that evoke emotional responses. The best, most memorable visuals are those that induce a response (another reason why the stock person sitting in a suit isn’t effective). Aim for images that make the viewer laugh, think, or get them excited. Generally, having people involved in some sort of movement or action tends to make photos more interesting and memorable.
While it does take some effort, time, and money to incorporate good design concepts, creating beautiful, inspired elearning materials is well worth such investment. Your learners will be more apt to engage with your content and promote it to others. Your goal should be to create a meaningful elearning experience, and incorporating good design practices is one of the effective ways of achieving that.