User-Centered Design & eLearning Presentation – Nov 8, 2011.


To celebrate World Usability Day on November 10, 2011, we’ll discuss how user-centered design (UCD) and usability can be a strategic advantage in eLearning.

The discussion will cover:

  • Business case and justification for user-centered design and usability
  • Ten user-centered design techniques for increased usability
  • Examples of web sites, web applications, and mobile applications

Presentation and Resources

User-Centered eLearning Defined

  • Creating pleasant, productive eLearning tools for people
  • “Easy-to-use” doesn’t just happen… by design, using a collaborative process to solve problems

The Business Case

Increase Revenue

  • Attract more customers
  • Differentiate from competitors
  • Retain customers
  • Easy and fun to use (satisfaction)
  • Reduce support costs

Improve eLearning Impact

  • Increase learning or learnability (effectiveness)
  • Increase user productivity (efficiency)
  • Decrease user errors
  • eLearning for safety

Reduce Development Costs

  • Quicker to market
  • Litigation deterrence
  • Increase accessibility, design for inclusion

Top 10 User-Centered Design Techniques For eLearning

  1. Research & understand. e.g. field research, personas
  2. Good conceptual model. “match system and real world”
  3. Wireframe first.
  4. Learner in control.
  5. Appropriate assessment tools.
  6. Design aesthetics matter.
  7. Apt learning content design.
  8. Prevent errors.
  9. Simple search.
  10. Usability test.

Related Links


Alsumait, A.A. & Al-Osaimi, A., 2010, Usability Heuristics Evaluation for Child E-learning Applications, Journal of Software, 5(6), p. 654.

Cooper, Alan (1999).  The Inmates Are Running The Asylum, Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity 1st edition hardcover.

Garrett, Jesse James. 2002. The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web. 3rd Ed: Peachpit Press.

Johnson, Jeff.  2008. GUI Bloopers 2.0. Common User Interface Design Don’ts and Dos. 2nd Ed: Morgan Kaufmann.

Kantner, Laurie, and Stephanie Rosenbaum. 1997. Usability Studies of WWW Sites: Heuristic Evaluation vs. Laboratory Testing. Paper read at SIGDOC 97, conference proceedings, at Snowbird, UT.

Krug, Steve. 2006. Don’t Make Me Think. 2nd Ed: New Riders Press.

Levi, Michael D., and Fedrick G. Conrad. 1996. A Heuristic Evaluation of a World Wide Web Prototype. Interactions (July-August):50-61.

Howles, Les. Learning Styles: What the Research Says and How to Apply it to Designing E-Learning. Paper.

Minović, Miroslav , Štavljanin, Velimir,   Milovanović, Miloš, and Starčević, Dušan. 2008. Usability Issues of e-Learning Systems: Case-Study for Moodle Learning Management System, in On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems: OTM 2008 Workshops. Springer Berlin.

Nielsen, Jakob. 1993. Usability Engineering. San Diego, CA: Academic Press Professional.

Nielsen, Jakob. 1994. Enhancing the Explanatory Power of Usability Heuristics. Paper read at CHI 94, conference proceedings : Celebrating Interdependence, April 24-28, at Boston, MA.

Norman, Donald. 1990. The Design Of Everyday Things. Paperback: Basic Books.

Shneiderman, Ben. 1998. Designing the User Interface, Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction. 3 ed: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

Wickens, Christopher D., Sallie E. Gordon, and Yili Liu. 1998. An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering. New York, NY: Longman

World Usability Day 2011

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