When I talk about visual design in online training, I talk about simple things a designer can do to lay out a slide so that it makes the most of evidenced-based instructional design techniques that maximize learning. I am not a huge stickler for visual design in online training. The reason might be because I am not a graphic designer. But neither are most instructional designers.
I recently stumbled upon Bill Gammell's ebook on marketing lessons learned from Seinfeld. Because of Seinfeld's ongoing pop-culture resonance, I've been mulling over the idea of a Seinfeld-themed post for a while now - but I'd never taken the time to further conceptualize it. Thankfully Bill's ebook demonstrated not only how to make some meaningful connections between Seinfeld and the real world, but how to do so in a way that was surprising and fun. It got me thinking: Are there any meaningful training lessons to be learned from Seinfeld?
I'm a big proponent of "paying it forward" so a while back I gave away 3 free PowerPoint templates for use in your training projects. Recently, I got a phone call from a friend and former colleague who was excited about putting these freebies to good use...
The more I experiment with PowerPoint 2010's new features, the more I'm impressed. Here's a quick video that nicely highlights some of the coolest new features.
4 tools to help make your PowerPoint slideshows amazing
Continuing the recent trend of PowerPoint in the news, I stumbled upon an article in USA Today that provided some tips and advice for designing more engaging presentations. While the advice was good, for me, more dos and don'ts aren't really helpful. Having moved beyond the basics, I'm looking for cool techniques and new tools to augment my PowerPoint designs and help me take them from good to great. Ideally these tools are easy to use and help me to create better-looking, highly effective content more quickly - and free is always good, too.
Keeping your training lively and memorable requires the constant application of great design, clear, clever writing, and engaging visuals. This task is made a little easier for those of us who are fortunate enough to have some creative license with our designs; however this freedom can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand you’re not forced to adhere to a strict style guide which gives you more flexibility. On the other, it’s easy to end up in a design rut – working with the same basic color palettes, layouts, and visual metaphors week after week, month after month – just because you’ve already done the heavy-lifting.
Have you ever found yourself struggling to find a stock image with a transparent background? Or, maybe you’ve wasted hours of your time trying to remove the background from an image? You’re not alone in being annoyed by this problem. In fact, whenever I mention being a PowerPoint junkie and online training developer, I always get the same question:
Like other visual design elements, the right font has the power to grab your audience on an emotional level while reinforcing your message. But unlike other visual elements such as color scheme, photos, or clip art, which are readily translated from inspiration to application, a stylized font can be harder to replicate and integrate into a design. Add in a healthy dose of behavioral conditioning from brand management and marketing folks who want everyone using only the approved presentation templates and style guide, and you've got a recipe for a visual plague of 12pt Times New Roman! So, how can you use fonts to add a little more personality to your training – without breaking all the design rules and regulations?