How Usable is Your Course? Presentation for online instructorsDistance Education and Educational Technology, Central Texas College
“Visible” reading Attention depends on purpose novels vs. textbooks Reading = [too much] = Automatic disrupt automatic reading Boldface terms Capitalization Titles Specific phrases Hierarchy
Enhance Remembering Chunking Break into manageable steps Primacy and recency “Seven plus/minus two” rule of working memory
Beware: Web vs. Print Adjust the writing style to users’ preferences and browsing habits Promotional writing won’t be read Long text blocks without images and keywords marked in bold, italics or different color will be skipped Exaggerated language will be ignored
Visible Language The concept was introduced by Aaron Marcus in papers on effective visual communication “visible language”— is the content users see/read on a screen 3 principles were stated
User behavior on the web Users appreciatequality and credibility Web users areimpatient and insist oninstant gratification.Very simple principle: the higher is the cognitive load and the less intuitive is the navigation, the more willing are users to leave the page.
3. Users don’t read, they scan in the “F” pattern
4. Users don’t make optimal choices Users don’t search for the quickest way to find the information. Neither do they scan web-page in a linear fashion, going sequentially from one site section to another one. Instead users satisfice-they choose the first reasonable option. Optimizing is hard and it takes a long time Satisficing is more efficient.
Auditory memory Enhances visual Appeals to auditory learners Wimba Voice Tools Length – 3-5 min Need transcripts for ADA Video
What can we adapt from web design principles? Be obvious - don’t make users think or search for information Be user-centric - strive for simplicity Users are impatient – intuitive design flow Conventions are our friends: Only links are underlined Menu on left
What can we adapt from web design principles? – cont’d Use “white” space generously reduces the cognitive load for the learners makes it possible to perceive the information presented on the screen Break the monotony: blank lines, bullets, etc Test with peers – creators are not suited to test their own courses – need fresh perspective