Typography in eLearning
Sometimes, the little things count more than you think. Typography has the ability to make or break your eLearning course. Distracting typography can prevent your learners from absorbing information, tacky typography can cheapen the appearance of your application, and great typography can create fluid, memorable design. The devil is in the details, and typography is the little devil that holds more power than you think.
Here we list the top 5 Tips for Typography in eLearning:
- Avoid obnoxious fonts.
Creative, artsy fonts may seem fun, but they’re very distracting. Graphic designers and web professionals espouse their hatred of fonts like Comic Sans and Papyrus. They are too stylized and look cheap. Your font choice should be straightforward and easy to read. Leave the decorative aspect to your graphics and select a universally agreeable font. Minor details in decorative fonts are okay, but important information is best shared with a sans-serif font. Helvetica is vastly popular for its minimalist design, and that’s exactly what you need for your eLearning content.
- Text and backgrounds shouldn’t clash.
The reason that most Internet content is a black font on a white background isn’t purely coincidence. This contrast makes content easy to read. Fonts should be dark and backgrounds should be light. Putting neon green text on a yellow background can cause eyestrain. No one is going to retain information if it’s impossible for them to even see what’s been written. Don’t make learning harder than it should be by requiring readers to decipher your content. When in doubt, stick to the classics.
- Use the proper form.
ALL CAPS, unnecessary italics, phrases underlined for no particular reason, and strikeout text all have their place in writing, but their uses should be few and far between. By using these techniques without a good reason, you’re going to confuse your learners. You’re cluttering your paragraphs, and learners may not understand what you’re trying to emphasize or why you’re trying to emphasize it. Be very sparing with these typography features. They don’t exist for decoration. Consider your spacing after periods and make sure you’re leaving adequate gaps between paragraphs.
- It’s not a sardine can.
There’s no reason to pack allot of content into small spaces. Make sure content has enough room. Blank spaces are used to separate ideas, and jamming two paragraphs together is confusing. Sticking graphics in distracting places, especially if text has to conform to the shape of the graphic, serves more as an interruption than an embellishment. If you want to keep the attention of your learners, use sufficient line height and keep your margins empty.
- Have a structured layout.
If you’re doing things on a whim, the end result is a product that will look like you just threw some random elements together. There’s text over here and pictures over there, and none of them seems to go together. Try creating some templates. Some spaces need to be blank. There’s nothing wrong with allowing the background to show through, and gaps don’t demand graphics. Consider how the display on an Android phone differs from the display on an iPad. Your content needs to look just as good on all devices or be designed differently for each platform.
Though art and style are fun, typography has a specific place in eLearning. It shouldn’t be what dominates the page when what you’re trying to convey is a lesson. Using a gentle hand with your typography will greatly improve learner experience.