A huge part of the eLearning experience is the visual aspect. That’s why a graphic designer is such an important part of any eLearning team. And any graphic designer worth their salt should have a discerning eye for the trends that grab people’s attention and get them clicking.
In recent years, web designers—especially those of user interfaces—have gone from making 3-dimensional clickables and hyperlinks that look like the President’s nuclear panic button to smoother, flat designs that you’ll want to rub your cheek on. Perhaps there is a mild gradient or drop shadow to give us a little contrast but for the most part, flat is the new black.
In the similar pop art vein of flat design, monochromatic color schemes achieve a unified look through the use of different shades of the same hue. It works well for creating streamlined designs that shift the focus off color and onto the texture of the design and it’s overall content. However, a word of caution: When used to the extreme, a single color can get a little boring, so use a steady hand when deploying it.
Create a retro-looking, technologically influenced design by tessellating geometric shapes. Hearken back to the days of Atari and NES by taking design cues from dawn of computerized art. This throwback trend in popular modern art can give your learners a little nostalgia trip with their course.
Skeuomorphism is the practice of taking design elements that were structurally or mechanically necessary in the past and applying them to newer technologies. An example of this might be using a digital display to show an old analog clock face or the sliders on the equalizer in the graphic above. In some situations, this gives us a visual cue for what the new item is supposed to do, but at other times it used merely for familiarity or some kind of nostalgia aspect.
A simple, uncluttered design can go a long way when implemented correctly. Decor takes a backseat to function for a more utilitarian layout.
When it fits the overall tone and voice of the course, a rougher, hand-drawn style can add a bit of flair to eLearning. Depending on the sketch style, it feels youthful, innovative, fresh, and inventive. However, if this style does not jive with the rest of the material, don’t force it, as it comes across as hokey and disingenuous.