Black and White and Beautiful in eLearning design!

Boston, Black & White:

This week’s challenge at the eLearning Heroes was using the two most basic colours in the course design – BLACK and WHITE. Right up my alley!!

We were planning to visit Boston on the upcoming long weekend, so I decided to use that as the topic of my Demo. Here’s the demo:



This is a classic example of the basic functionalities of Storyline. Till date, the bulk of my course development had been in Adobe Captivate, so it was an interesting experience to take Storyline for a test ride.

Hows and Whys:

Here‘s a step by step rundown of the design, and my thought process:

  1. I started with getting all the resources in order. It is amazing how difficult getting the right map can be! I wanted pictures that look good in monochrome but aren’t monochrome themselves.
    Why: I knew at some point in the course, I’ll play with colours to contrast against the black & White, and wanted to keep my options open.
  2. I played with horizontal and vertical bars and simple animations to create the title slide.
    Why: The backdrop of Boston shoreline remains static, so a little movement creates energy & interest.
  3. The title itself – BOSTON – is a simple textbox in two states. The Storyline built-in states make this work oh-so-easy! The Hover state displays colourful BOSTON if someone hovers over it. I realized after my first preview that it may not be obvious to a user to hover over the textbox. I was not keen on adding any instructions on my clean title slide (“Please mouse over the title to see my clever trick!”). Workaround? I added a trigger that changes the state of the title after a couple of seconds. That gotta catch their eye! I also added a trigger that will proceed the slide if user clicks on the title.
    Why: Since the title is the center of attraction on the slide, it is natural for users to want to click there. While there is a next button in the layer options, it is just bad UX to not have an event associated with an anticipated user action.
  4. The next slide is a simple one- it just sets the stage for the rest of the course. I picked the travel guide image, as well as the layout from Lonely Planet website.
    Why: For a longer course, I find it desirable to have a “This is what follows” slide after the title slide, and just before we deep dive in content Adult learners do not like to be surprised. And while this is just a demo, I guess it is ingrained in me to respect that tendency of my audience.
  5. The Boston map slide starts the content with a big picture. The image is zoomable.
    How: I used the handy “Zoom Picture” tool from Storyline to add that piece.
  6. The next slide houses all the content. I chose just 3 places- anything more than that on one slide is too much clutter. (And of course, you could only put so much time in a demo).
    How: I used the layers to achieve the interactivity in this slide. Each button on the left is associated with its corresponding layer. The layer has the same map laid exactly over the base layer – except that it is coloured and cropped to show just the area of interest.
  7. Player options – I chose to keep the standard navigation buttons for this course. Just removed the ‘Back’ from 1st slide and ‘Next’ from the last slide.

Hope you enjoyed my mini demo!