I Know It’s Ugly, but I Can’t Tell You Why: Fixing Common Design Mistakes

Conference Archive

Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2015 - March 25, 2015

Bianca Woods

Customer Engagement Manager

How many times have you designed something like a slide deck, eLearning lesson, or job aid, only to look at it afterward and think it’s awful? Your gut is telling you that something about it just isn’t right, but you can’t identify exactly what’s wrong with it, let alone fix the problem. This is the tricky part about designing learning and performance support these days. In the past we might have worked with graphic designers to create our content, but today many of us are doing most (or all) of the design work ourselves, despite not having formal design training.

In this session you will learn how to actually interpret those gut feelings you have about the look and feel of your projects and leverage them to make what you design more successful. Through exploring samples of bad design (some of them from real projects), you will be given tips on what some of the common graphic design problems are and how to listen to your instincts to identify them. This session will also go into depth about what your quick and easy options are for fixing these issues, as well as show multiple examples of what “fixed” versions of these bad designs can actually look like.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to recognize when a design legitimately isn’t working
  • To diagnose specific design problems, such as weak layouts, poor image choices, inconsistent design, distracting typography, and more
  • How to use design best practices to fix these issues
  • How to communicate these issues (and how to repair them) so you can give constructive design feedback to others

Novice designers and developers.

Technology discussed in this session:
Common tools requiring effective graphic design skills such as PowerPoint, Word, and rapid eLearning tools.


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