There’s a lesson here for IDs…

I laughed out loud at this video. I am sure I have done this to some courses I’ve developed. I’ve certainly received slide decks from SMEs that are similar to the final design of the package.

p.s. This is an old internal video created by Microsoft’s own packaging team as a humorous look at branding and packaging issues for marketers.

via MacRumors


Make it simple!

This week I heard a NPR Planet Money Podcast that’s probably the best piece on Instructional Design that I’ve come across in a long time. I think it’s very relevant because a majority of e-learning designers write courses for regulatory or technical compliance and we often work with SMEs whose viewpoint on the subject matter to be taught resembles the view of the attorney in the piece who thinks every line of the credit card agreement is important and that every one who receives such a notice should read it (like she does!)

I encourage all my designer colleagues to give this podcast a listen (click here)! Not only is the content excellent but the podcast uses humor so well to make its point.

Some thoughts around User Generated Content

User Generated Content is all the rage on the internet. Large billion dollar businesses such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Yelp rely solely on their users to generate their content. All they provide is a platform where users can post content and share it with their friends or the world at large. And it is rare that these large businesses compensate their users for creating this content. It begs the question: Should this desire to create content be leveraged inside the enterprise to create learning?
I recently came across an excellent post by John Hathaway at the Velocity Made Good Leveraging Learning Blog about User Generated Content in Learning. John suggests that the question is not IF but WHEN. Here’s a quote from the post:
“So, let’s ask the question “When should we use User Generated Content?” To me, the answer depends greatly on the nature, audience, and goals of the content.”
In the post, he goes on to suggest that while core content critical to the business should probably be produced through a formal and structured process, niche content doesn’t need to be. Particularly because it’s possible that you’re not creating it currently because it has a niche audience and producing formal learning is not cost effective.
Read the full post here and let us know in which areas in your organization would YOU be comfortable with content generated by your end users.

reBlog: Dan Roam: Healthcare on the back of a (4) napkin(s)

Dan Roam has an excellent presentation on SlideShare about the questions around Healthcare reform in the U.S. The post on his blog that lead to the presentation on slideshare is here.

How Jack in the Box does Nutrition Facts


My current role at work involves providing functional input for an online tool we’re designing. This has involved preparing screen mockups for the application interfaces, designing workflows etc. So I am always on the look out for good examples of user experience design particularly form and workflow designs.

The other day when I had a particularly satisfying burger at the Jack in the box I was compelled to seek out its nutrition facts. (Because anything that tastes that good cannot be good for you.)I loved what the web designers at Apollo Interactive had put together.

I even did a little narrated screen capture video.Check it out!

This is good design!

Recently I reported a lost DVD to Netflix . They asked me a few questions on the website and they sent the next one in my queue right away. That’s good customer service. What’s a DVD between friends (particularly when one pays 15 dollars a month to the other!)

So a few weeks go by, I find the DVD and mail it back.  I get an automated notification. Someone had thought this scenario through and designed the right feedback mechanism.

Thinking through things is good design.

(I am particularly impressed with this one, since I am working on automated notifications at work!)

Usability, please!

Don't make me do it!

I have been interested in usability all my adult life.

In architecture school, I was very focused on function (sometimes at great peril to academic success, times when I just couldnt get things right and knew they were wrong or could be so much better.) In the very recent past, I was very frustrated with the usability of an app I am working on, so much so that I sent out impassioned e-mails to a few classmates who work in consumer software engineering or web based businesses to help me write a paper on how to start a usability and interface design group in a company that is not in the business of software, but builds a lot of software anyway. (None of them sent me a credible reply: Yes, I have read Norman and Neilsen, thank you!)

I was talking about “satisficing” today and was trying to remember where I heard it first. It’s Steve Krug. I love his book “Don’t make me think”. Hear him talk about “the least you can do about usability” here. (Note: wordpress doesn’t allow embeds, please clickthrough.)