by Christopher Palm, media artist
With summer right around the corner, being stuck in an office while it’s bright, sunny, and 80 degrees outside can feel morally wrong. The last thing on your mind is how to create a beautiful interface design for e-learning, so here are 4 e-learning graphic design tips written from a consultant’s perspective that cost less than a cup of lemonade.
Tip 1: Do Your Homework
Take the time to do the needed research. Where is your client located? This answer alone could affect how you approach your design. For example, are they east coast or west coast? Large corporate entity or non-profit? Visit their website, poke around their media content. Do they have a presence on Facebook? What kind of social media postings are they making? Getting a sense of your client’s identity will ensure you’re in the right mindset when it is time to start thinking creatively.
Tip 2: Pump the Brakes
Especially for us visual-oriented people, it’s all too easy to occasionally dream too big. I know I am guilty of this and even posted a previous blog all about going big! I like to push the limits and break the norm when I can, but sometimes I need to reel it back in. That interactive 3D Oculus Rift video stream of a realistic environment I’ve cooked up in my head may be just a tad overboard for the client’s hazard training (but it does sound amazing, doesn’t it?) Remember, sometimes the simplest approach is the best and most appreciated. Know what kind of restraints you have to work with. Budget, time, resources, skill, bandwidth, deployment—these are all things that should be kept at the forefront of your design. Ultimately, what are you willing to commit your time to do? By no means am I saying to aim low, but whatever you end up pitching is going to require you to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.
Tip 3: Rally the Troops
Inspire your team! If you can win them over, you stand a much better chance of winning the client over. Work with your team or a few individuals to better refine your design―they may have ideas or considerations you neglected to take into account. Brainstorm sessions can be a fun exercise for the entire team, as well as a welcome break from the normal office duties. After all, knowing your team has your back is the best feeling you can have before entering the arena. But it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan just in case.
Tip 4: Talk to Your Client
Many of us dread the whole “talking to the client” thing; I get it, but it is an essential part of our job. Putting your work out there for critique can feel a bit like jumping into a frenzy of feeding sharks.
Don’t panic! Instead, relax and let go. Seriously. Tear down your wall of personal attachments and feelings you’ve constructed around your work and look at it from an objective point-of-view. You want the client’s input here, and allowing them to give feedback and add their thoughts will give them the sense of being part of the creative process. Don’t explain every color choice, font decision, or what you were thinking at the time—instead, focus on how your design will connect with the learner to provide a better experience.
With these tips in mind, turn some of those lemons into lemonade! And don’t forget to enjoy the summer!