The Visual Cortex is that little spot in the back of our brain where we store long-term memories and behaviors.
In the learning and development industry, the focus is around visual design and can be applied to both PowerPoint presentations (classroom training) or elearning. In elearning we often add unnecessary text on screen such as, “Click the next button.” Yet, most other screen designs do not follow that same design methodology, rather the design is all in the user interface (UI).
When’s the last time you visited a web site that had instructions on how to navigate? I’d venture to guess not many if none at all. So why do we insist on adding extra text on screen in elearning design?!
For example: the little red button with the white x in the upper right corner of the window you have in front of you right now (or upper left if you’re on a Mac). What does it mean? – close the window. Yet, there are no instructions to tell you. I’ll go back as far as Bill Gates where he taught us many years ago that if we wanted to close a window we click that button. THAT is stored in long-term memory as a behavior.
Another example is the right-facing white triangle to kick off a video. I don’t recall ever seeing, “Click this button to play the video.” Not sure where that began, but I’ll throw credit to YouTube for teaching us that behavior.
In the end it’s about tapping into learner’s Visual Cortex and designing experiences with less clutter on screen and focus more on intuitive design.
I go into more detail with presentations and workshops. If you’re interested in *seeing* what I mean, I invite you to attend my upcoming Essentials to Storyboarding for E-Learning online with ATD where I incorporate this thought process into elearning project design. Or, next year I’m presenting this as a session at Training 2016 in February 2016.
Chuck Jones says
I agin agree Kevin.
For those folks who need that navigational help, it might be nice to have an optional link were they can go for directions. Now games are a different story but they should , nay must also be intuitive. I’m a firm believer that if the learner has to spend time figuring out how to play a game, that can not only be frustrating, but if they stick around to play the game, having to figure out the interface takes away from their cognitive load.
Next time you’re in Vegas or in Tunica, check out the hundreds of various types of interfaces presented to you on all of those new-fangled slot machines. And look at all the old ladies with their cigarettes as they play these games. No need for directions on any of them . . . people walk up to them, look at the screen, and immediatley see what constitutes a win. It can’t get any simpler than that. And that should be our inspiration!
And I have it on good authority that you’ll be in Memphis delivering this presentation early next year along with some Storyline training. Can’t wait!