Well thought-out UX Design is crucial for developing an outstanding eLearning course. But, it is essential that any User Experience Designer and/or eLearning developer has taken the time to really consider what makes a User Experience successful. So, here are 5 things that we recommend considering to ensure that any learner/user experience is the best it can be.
1. Plan, plan, plan
Planning is an essential part of the UX Design journey, as this prevents wasted time from correcting mistakes and revisions that may be necessary if you jump straight into the digital design of the User Interface. Planning involves really delving deep into the mind and needs of the learner, and what they really need to take from the eLearning experience. With them in mind, the aesthetic elements of the UX design process should begin with an exploration of ideas, for example using site maps and user-flow diagrams to organise thoughts and test out possibilities.
2. Always know ‘how’
One rule of thumb is that no learner should be at any point during the course left wondering how to perform a task. If they have to stop and think ‘how’ to close a tab, progress to the next page, or exit the course altogether, then this is not a successful UX design. In order to prevent this, the user interface should be designed in such a way that the learner can easily navigate around course without any confusion. After all, you shouldn’t assume that the user knows what you know about the design itself. Make it easy for them!
3. Is Navigation the Most Important Element?
In short, no. While extremely important for User Experience design in the context of eLearning, the learner’s ultimate aim is to complete a task or goal, and to retain the information presented to them. It could be argued that the actual content of the course is more essential to the learner than the means in which they navigate the content. Yet, the way information is presented to learners can affect the level of retention of the course content, as smooth, seamless navigation can lead to a more enjoyable user experience, meaning learners are more motivated to, well, learn. Therefore, the navigation of the interface should complement the learner’s goals.
4. Consistency is key
In terms of the User Interface, the navigation and design should be consistent to prevent learners from having to guess. If the ‘next’ button is in a particular position on one page, be sure to keep it there on the next. It’s a relatively obvious thing to consider, but inconsistency in the design is a common mistake. If the User Experience is consistent, then learners can trust the process of the course, as they know what to expect. This makes the experience more enjoyable and easier as a whole and prevents wasting any time playing hide and seek with buttons.
5. Be inspired by daily life
In a world surrounded by digital experiences, take advantage of your exposure to the various user interfaces you come across in life. Pay attention to what you like, as well as what you don’t like, be it checking your email, surfing the web on your IPad, or even at the self-service checkout in your local shop. As opposed to a UX designer’s perspective, this puts you in the shoes of the user/learner and gives you an invaluable opportunity to register the emotions and thoughts you have when interacting with the digital world around you. After all, learners will experience similar emotions when interacting with your UX design, so be sure to take some inspiration from what works and doesn’t work for you.
While there are many more factors to consider for successful User Experience design when designing eLearning courses, these were but a few examples of what you could consider to make your own design really great.
More information on things to consider for successful UX Design for eLearning: