How to Create Beautiful Online Courses: Layout
When you create an online course, you want it to be beautiful, and one must to creating a beautiful online course is mastering the layout.
Why Is Layout Important?
There are three reasons that the layout is vital, besides merely the fact that a good layout lends itself to beauty. The first reason is that when you have a good design, it merits your company with credibility. When you see a website that looks like a novice built it, it makes you think of the company as a lower-end company. The same is true with a learning management system (LMS) or online course. However, a higher-end online course must belong to a more pronounced, better-known, all-around better company, right?
Secondly, learners perceive a beautifully designed online course to be more usable. This fact was proven through a technical study. This perception is known as the “halo effect.”
Lastly, people make snap judgments about people and products within the first half-second of seeing them. This is known as their “first impression.” A person’s first impression of an online course can send them packing in horror to never return with the idea that your course is unfriendly and untrustworthy. On the other hand, it can have them warming up to the idea of using your portal and the possibility of taking more courses than they originally came in search of.
Online Course Layout Templates
The best way to build a course is to use a template that already lays everything out for you. One company that does this is Miami Visuals. They have several course templates from which to choose. This way, you don’t have to worry about layout. All you have to do is click the placeholding text and images and replace them with your own. It’s as simple as uploading your own to the website and clicking replace!
Another great thing about Miami Visuals is that they are also a website, funnels, E-Commerce store, CRM, and more all in one place for cheaper than you can get through Teachable, ClickFunnels, or Kajabi!
Creating Your Own Layout
When there isn’t a template available, or if you choose to create your layout from a blank page, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind.
Guide Your Learner’s Eye
Titles, subtitles, introductions, headlines, paragraphs, sub-headlines, more paragraphs… There’s a specific flow to the way things go. We like to be warned of what’s coming first, and then we want to get the content. This is just human nature.
This hierarchy does two things. It gives learners the ability to scan the content. It also helps them to understand which pieces of the content is more important to their learning experience.
Another way you guide the eye has to do with the images you use in your course. These images should further direct the eye down the page rather than outward and away from the content.
Use White Space
Remember that you need white space. Clutter is not your friend. You do not need to fill every area of your screen with graphics and text. When you use white space, otherwise known as negative space, correctly in your online course, it can boost interaction, comprehension, and focus. Digital reading is already tricky enoughfor learners, and clutter only increases confusion and frustration and lowers the attention span.
Use Focal Points
The focal point is the point that attracts your learners’ eyes upon arrival to the page. It should consist of what you want your learners to focus on in that particular lesson. You should only have one focal point per lesson.
To create a focal point, you can:
- Insert an image;
- Present a vital concept in a few words; or,
- Arrange multiple statistics in an infographic.
Use this focus point to then gradually draw their eye down the screen to the rest of the content.
Your graphics, fonts, colors, images, spacing, and button styles should be consistent throughout the online course. Your course should only have two different types of fonts total. There should only be three colors total used in your online course. The images should consistently be of similar lighting, and you should not mix hi-resolution and hazy pictures in your course. Also, be careful that your heading sizes, sub-headings, and paragraph fonts are the same throughout the course. Being inconsistent in any of these things will make your course look unprofessional.
Lastly, you want your content to line up. Your headings should all line up with one another. Your pictures should all be aligned. If you have a column or table, be sure that the contents in it are appropriately aligned. Make sure that everything looks organized and neat.
Remember, first impressions are essential! If you want to create a beautiful online course that leaves a good impression, you must master your layout—whether by using a template or building it yourself. Though failing in the layout of your course isn’t one of the seven deadly sins of online course design, it could keep your learners from getting to the point where they can even consider them.