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Easy Tips For Simple + Clean Course Design

As you recall, Zip Course is a new offering from Maestro that enables clients to work with us to create simple courses from client-supplied Powerpoints, Word documents, etc. Our customers get beautifully designed content at an affordable price—without worrying about the constraints that sometimes get in the way: team size, budget, team capabilities and so on.

In this post, we’ll look at them from the perspective of Maestro’s designers who actually put the courses together - Amy O’Donnell, Design Director, and Pete Rix, Senior Designer. We started our discussion with a question:

How do you transform the basic Powerpoint you receive from the client into an attractive, well-designed course?

“We work really hard to align every course with the company brand so that it feels like a natural extension of what the learner is already familiar with, within their organization, says Amy. “often times we’ll receive a pretty basic file that doesn’t always feel connected to the brand, but that’s ok, because it’s one of the perks of a Zip Course to create that connection! We’ll ask you a few questions about your brand, your style guide and even do some of our own brand research to make sure we’re delivering something that’s thoughtfully designed.” Amy explains that, “the whole point of Zip Course is to be simple and create a super clean look. It’s kind of like a refresh.”

What do you do to create a simple and clean refresh?

“One example is the hierarchy of type on the screen,” explains Pete. “When we get a Powerpoint, it will likely all be rendered in one point size. Once we figure out the hierarchy of the information—what’s a heading, what’s a subhead and what’s body copy—we can begin to communicate that by different weights and point sizes. It’s a little thing, but it makes a big difference, and it makes it a lot easier for the learner to understand. What we’re really doing is upping the perceived value of the content.”

Giving a logical hierarchy to the information on the screen is one way that good design helps learners, but we wondered if there were others. Amy answers: “Good design helps the story unfold naturally and logically, and it’s pleasing to the eye. We give the learner something that’s more interesting because it’s more engaging and interactive. And we can pull it all together with simple voice over.”

“There’s another way smart design helps the learner,” says Pete. “It has to do with that idea of upping the perceived value I talked about earlier. If everything on the screen is jumbled and crowded, if the images are poor and there is way too much text on screen with no organization, it sends a message to the learner. “I think it says, ‘I didn’t spend a lot of time preparing this, and I don’t take it very seriously.’ That’s not the intent, of course, but it may be the message sent nonetheless.

Good design says, ‘This is important. The way we have prepared and presented it proves we take it seriously. That’s why you should too.’”

So there you are—wise words from designers on the front line of Zip Courses. “I like working on Zip Courses,” says Amy, “because I like the challenge and because it’s an advantage to have everything all together at one time and know that this is it … everything I need to transform something accurate into something amazing.”

Interested in learning more about Zip Course?

We don’t blame you, $5,000 for a new course if pretty awesome.

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