graphic design

Effective Use of White Space in Graphic Design

The Community of Inquiry Framework

As I continue to create the graphics needed for my online course about the CoI Framework, I remembered that I needed a banner for my website.  I focused on how to effectively use white space as I created my banner.  White space does not have to be “white”, per se.  Essentially, white space can be described as negative space, or the portions of the screen that are not filled with text or graphics.  White space is used effectively between lines of text and paragraphs, if you’d like to compare white space to something you commonly see.

The justification for my graphic above in relation to white space demonstrates the variety of ways white space can be effective.

Justification of White Space-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

Lohr (2008) describes white space as a way to draw attention to important content.  The white space and symmetry used in the heading are to help the user focus.  Initially, I was concerned about using the graphic I selected because I was afraid that it was causing trapped space.  Trapped space can draw the user’s attention to parts of the page that are unimportant (Lohr, 2008).  I decided that trapped space was not a problem in the graphic because of the angle at which the graphic is, thus almost giving it a three-dimensional effect (not flat on the page, or only two-dimensional).  Also, the lightness of the dashes between the people helps to not create a trapped space effect.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He said that the white space was adequate.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I have not made any changes because the feedback was positive.  I will if my classmates indicate a change needs to be made.

References

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

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Organization Principle in Graphic Design

 

Steps to get started COI (2).png

The organization principle recommends the use of “chunking” information in order to make the most important information the primary focus of the graphic (Lohr, 2008).  For this project, I selected the top three “take-aways” that I want my students to focus on when they begin to design their courses using the CoI Framework.  In order to create my “chunks”, I had to review the three presences in their entirety and focus on the big ideas, rather than the small considerations made throughout the section.  The process was time consuming, but will help the learners get started in their CoI Framework course designs.

Justification of Organization-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

The most important information regarding the three presences are chunked into sequential lists.  I considered the “seven to nine” rule while determining what information was going to be presented.  All of the presences are have something that is difficult for the learners to create, therefore I did not represent the information hierarchically.   I had the information horizontal instead of vertical, but I want the learners to be able to easily print this graphic, and the text boxes when horizontal were too large.  I did my best to make the sections the same distance apart in order to create represent equal importance.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He viewed the horizontal version and agreed that the information should be vertical.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I have not made any changes because the feedback was positive.  I will if my classmates indicate a change needs to be made.

References

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

Best Practices for Color and Depth in Graphic Design

Instructor Profile (1)

 

This week I had the opportunity to experiment with color and depth while creating a graphic for my Community of Inquiry Framework course.  A few pieces of information stood out to me when I was learning about color and depth.  I was not aware of the three color attributes; psychological, physiological, and learning related (Lohr, 2008).  In my past studies, I had only learned about the psychological impact of color, so it was interesting to learn more about how color can represent meaning, such as white and the connection to purity.  I immediately thought of a design documentary I had watched a long time ago (the name escapes me now) that discussed how the Diet Coke designers deliberately chose a whiteish hue to for the main part of the can and red for the logo to indicate a “reversal” from the sugary regular Coke’s red with white logo design.  It was a psychological color choice, for sure, but the white hue also made consumers associate Diet Coke with words like “clean” or “pure”.

As far as instructional design for online learning is concerned, color and depth have to be used with a purpose in mind.  As Lohr (2008) indicated, color has the ability to enhance the learning process or detract from the learning process.  Additionally, depth, especially with text, has the ability to make words stand out from the page or screen.  Knowing this, I set off to create another graphic element for my course with color and depth in mind.

Note: The instructor profile infographic serves two purposes: 1) it introduces myself to the students that are taking my course, and 2) it is an example of the instructor profile I will be discussing in the teaching presence portion of the third unit.

Justification of Color/Depth-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

 

Color: The infographic I created uses contrast to separate portions of the infographic.  My website for the course will use various blues, grays, whites, and blacks.  I created the infographic with the overall color scheme in mind.  Gray, white, and black look professional and provide a good contrast for most users.  The blue color was added for the color’s ability to invoke feelings of serenity and tranquility.  The Community of Inquiry Framework is supposed to help educators connect easier with their students, but it can be a huge change for some educators.  I wanted to reduce the feelings of stress as the students (educators) learn about the CoI Framework.

Depth:  When I attempted to use drop-shadowing, I did not like the appearance.  Therefore, I used bold fonts in all caps for the heading categories to improve learner focus on the headings.  The adjustments made in regard to scale ensure that the headings do not blend in with the text.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He did not have any suggestions and noted that the colors really “pop out” when he views each section.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I have not made any changes because the feedback was positive.  I will if my classmates indicate a change needs to be made.

 

References

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

 

Selection Principle in Graphic Design

cognitive-presence-1

This week I learned about the selection principle in relation to graphic design.  Lohr (2008) states that a graphic should be concise, concentrated, and concrete to maximize selection.  Additionally, the designer should consider the “figure”, or what the learner will pay attention to, and the “ground”, or what the learner will not pay attention to when designing a graphic.

My justification below highlights how I considered the three “C’s” when designing the above graphic.

Justification of Selection-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

Concise: I reduced the amount of visual information by keeping fonts and colors basic.  I had originally designed the graphic with a gray background and a black silhouette which caused problems with figure and ground by drawing the attention to the silhouette instead of the words inside the graphic.  The switch to a plain white background and a light gray silhouette helped solve the problem.

Concentrated:  I kept the information in the graphic to the key terms only, instead of defining what each word means.  The definitions of the terms will come in the instruction instead.  This graphic is meant to be a “quick look”, so being concise was necessary.  Additionally, only a silhouette was used in a non-attention grabbing color with the words written inside of the oval where the brain would be.

Concrete: The use of the graphic showing the words inside the brain makes it apparent that the words relate to the brain as a whole.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He helped me determine that the random placements of the words inside the brain made it difficult to read the words, and he suggested I align the words in the way you now see in the graphic.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I changed the word placement and alignment.  I also tested the black versus gray silhouette just to see figure/ground in action, and we determined the gray silhouette was needed to reduce where the learner’s attention is drawn.

 

References

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

CARP Principles & Designing a Course for Online Educators

social-presence-tools (The PDF has clickable links)

social-presence-tools

My experience in EDTECH 506 has allowed me to work on a large unit of instruction project.  Each week I am challenged to create a graphic using proper design methodologies, principles, and processes. This week was no exception, and the assignment required use of CARP while creating a graphic for my course.

The justification for my project is as follows:

Justification of CARP-Considered Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

I have used CARP from the beginning of my Edtech career, so I feel quite familiar with the principles of contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity.  In the graphic I created to provide information and suggestions regarding social presence in an online classroom, I used the four principles.  Contrast was used through color choice, although I am uncertain of my final course color-scheme.  Therefore, the colors could change.  I enjoyed the dark background against the colors of the icons.  I also liked the white background with dark orange, which is very striking.  The orange and white really helps the headings stand out.  Alignment was considered, and attempts were made to ensure the alignment is consistent with the paragraphs and bullets (left aligned), and with the top of the icon and the top of the heading.  Repetition was used as the format is always the same: icon, heading, bullets of information.  The colors are also repetitive in the body of the graphic.  Finally, proximity was utilized by keeping the content related to each particular icon grouped together.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He did provide the suggestion of adding bullets to the list, as I had previously created the list in paragraph form.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I agreed with the addition of bullets to make the design cleaner, but also add to the repetition.  Each bullet is a stand-alone portion of information, so it does make sense.

CARP is an effective and easy way to remember the best practices of graphic design.  I’ll continue to use CARP in every design I create.

Design Process Models and the Development of a Graphic Organizer

community-of-inquiry-framework-graphic-overview-page-1-3

This week, I had the opportunity to read about various design process models and how to use them.  I was already familiar with the instructional design process called ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implement, and evaluate), but the design process I learned about this week went a step farther.  Essentially, I learned that within the ADDIE process, there are additional design processes to consider.  When developing graphics for instruction, the instructional designer must also follow ACE (analyze, create, evaluate) during the design and development portions of the ADDIE model.  While following ACE, the instructional designer must also consider PAT (principles, actions, and tools) to enhance the design of the graphic (Lohr, 2008, p. 91-94).

I practiced my newfound knowledge by creating a graphic organizer that segments the entire unit into “chunks”.  I had to use ACE while considering PAT.  Here is an overview of my process: 1. Analyze: I thought about the goals for my graphic.  Essentially, I wanted the learner to be able to see each of the three presences within the Community of Inquiry Framework, and the individual subsections and descriptions.  I determined the purpose was organization.  2. Create: I considered principles, and I knew with the large amount of text that I did not want any decorative graphics to detract from the information.  The actions of CARP (contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity) were considered as I thought about the design.  Finally, I thought about what typeface I wanted, if I wanted to use color, and what shape the bubbles should be.  3.  Evaluate:  After I created the graphic using LucidChart, I reviewed my design.  I then conducted a user-test, which you can read the results of below.

Justification of Graphic Organizer Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry (COI) Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your design solution work?

This graphic organizer takes the entire COI Framework and divides it into sections.  The colors help to divide the organizer into three evident sections according to “presence”.  The lines help the user navigate through the subsections, with each bubble becoming more specific in relation to the parent section.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He stated that it was evident that there were three distinct categories, but also a variety of subcategories.  He stated that the organization chart was easy to follow.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

I did not make any changes to the graphic after the user-test.  When I initially evaluated the graphic myself, I did not have three colors to help divide the graphic.  I knew color would help create distinction, so I added color prior to the user-test.

In summary, the ACE with PAT process incorporated into the ADDIE process definitely works.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with the big picture, and ACE helped to isolate a portion of the curriculum development that is a necessary “part of the whole”.

References

American Public University System (2016). The Community of Inquiry. Retrieved                                    from http://www.apus.edu/ctl/faculty/community-of-inquiry/

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education

Shape Tools for Graphic Design

coi-balance

The use of shapes in communication is as old as the first cave paintings.  Today, we have a wealth of tools at our disposal to create graphics.  Our tools are considerably more complicated and technological than the first tools used for cave paintings, but researchers note that simple shapes are still effective from a “functional and aesthetic perspective” (Lohr, 2008, p. 248).  Additionally, simple shapes in conjunction with words can create powerful graphics that are aligned with the multimedia principle.

I am currently in the process of creating a unit/course about the Community of Inquiry Framework (see http://www.apus.edu/ctl/faculty/community-of-inquiry/ for more information if interested).  Part of creating the unit is designing a graphic (above) that uses simple shapes to help convey an instructional message.  I chose to create a graphic related to the three categories of the Community of Inquiry Framework.

Justification of Typography Design

  1. Describe your users (people that will see the typography in the unit).

The users of my unit will be educators, either undergraduate or graduate level, that are learning the Community of Inquiry Framework in relation to online course design.  It is assumed that they are adults with at least one student experience in online education.  The users would be capable of reading college-level material.

      2. Why does your typography design solution work?

This graphic represents the idea that without a “teaching presence” (the base of the balance), “social” and “cognitive presence” would not be able to balance.  Additionally, without the “social presence” circle, the “cognitive presence” circle would fall off the scale.  Lohr explained that there are many tasks simple shapes can represent, such as comparison, focusing attention, etc.  My example represents a process and a hierarchy.  Circles were selected deliberately, as “circles create a natural balance” (Lohr, 2008, p. 250).  The teacher is the one setting the social and cognitive presences, but all three presences must be applied for the course to have a perfect “balance”.

3.  What did you learn from the “user-test”?

My user-test was performed on the same individual from last week’s assignment.  He immediately noticed that each presence could not achieve perfect balance without the other presences.  He appreciated the simple design.

4.  What changes did you make to the design after the user-test?

Color was suggested, however, I am uncertain of the color scheme I would like to use for my unit.  Color will be adjusted at a later time.  The concept portrayed in the graphic was easy for the person I showed to articulate, so I did not adjust the graphic.  I may choose to adjust it is my colleagues have other ideas.

Reference

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle                    River, NJ: Pearson Education