When creating a great elearning UI/UX, it’s important to consider not only what will work from a technical aspect, but also what your learners are expecting to see. Consider your own personal experience - if you found yourself at the DMV watching a video refresher course on driving laws and the video looks grainy, dingy, and had cheesy graphics and animation, you might question whether the information being presented is as up-to-date and relevant as it should be. Even if it had been filmed a day prior, its outdated visual style may have you automatically and unintentionally assume that the information is no longer applicable and so you disregard the training content or lose interest altogether.
Your learners could experience the same thing when taking an elearning course that appears outdated. As technology improves and virtually everyone spends at least some time online each day browsing different websites, certain design trends have emerged that users come to expect. If your courses diverge from those expectations in monumental ways, they’ll either seem ahead of the curve (which could be a great thing!) or woefully behind the times and old-fashioned (which would be bad).
Below, we’ll take a look at some design trends that your organization should try to implement or maintain as you touch up your course for 2018 and some resources that can provide you with additional inspiration for creating a great user experience and interface.
As you scroll through websites today - whether it’s content-based (news, blogs) or ecommerce - you’ve probably noticed that digital design is trending towards minimalism. On many sites you see clean white spaces with images that are prominently displayed without clutter. Text is generally in a large, easy-to-read font, with plenty of spacing between characters and lines. Sites that boast garish colors, cheesy animation or graphics, and text that completely overwhelms the page may be perceived by the viewer as annoying at best, or completely outdated and unreliable at worst. That isn’t to say, of course, that you should place the importance of a minimalist design over the creation of a site that is informative and useful, but a design that’s void of unnecessary clutter, garish colors, and cheesy graphics and animations could go a long way toward impressing your learners.
What has been the biggest change over time? The “flat” design trend. The biggest UI change is that interactive buttons are harder to identify now. In the past, buttons were dimensional and were easily identified as interactive, but now with the “flat” design, we have had to rethink how we can signal to end users that the buttons are clickable.
Responsive and adaptive websites
In today’s digital climate, having a responsive or adaptive website is non-negotiable for elearning UI/UX designers and all web designers in general. Users expect to be able to switch between devices with ease and without having to deal with the frustration of graphics and text not displaying properly or being far too small to be practical. Though the two options have a similar end goal, their means of construction and design are completely different. A responsive site simply responds to the size of the device - adjusting itself to fit the screen as necessary. These sites can be more difficult to create initially, as they require the parameters of each device and browser type to to be taken into consideration in the code. Adaptive sites, however, require completely different versions of a site to be created so that when the page is opened on a specific device or browser the proper version loads. When comparing the two, a responsive design will most likely be the best option - and is the option that Kineo employs - as it’s virtually guaranteed to display properly on any browser on any device, whereas an adaptive design will display properly only if it’s showing on the version that it was created for.
Pagination or infinite scrolling
When deciding whether to employ pagination or infinite scrolling in your elearning UX/UI design, it’s important to consider the content you’re displaying and your overall goal. For some scenarios, such as those where there is a moderate amount of text designed to be consumed in one sitting, infinite scrolling can be a huge convenience. Conversely, if the text is too long infinite scrolling can lead to frustration on the part of the reader as they desperately attempt to reach the end with seemingly no end in sight. When there’s a large amount of content that can be easily broken up into sections to be reviewed over the course of multiple sessions pagination may be the best option, as your learners can pause their reading and come back to it at a later time without having to … well, infinitely scroll, back through the content.
Now that you’ve got a few ideas for polishing your elearning UX/UI in 2018, find out how to successfully incorporate design trends that will do more than just get your learning seen with our recorded webinar: Digital design trends in learning for 2018 and beyond.