UX, and its intersection with Instructional Design
The goal in effective instructional design is to get the learners attention and hold it for as long as it takes to get the message across. Learning materials that bore the user, or distract them from the message, fail. That’s why I feel that I belong to a subset of the UX community.
I’ve covered screen design, metrics and best practices. I have sat test subjects in usability labs and watched the way they use my materials. I have taken menus and materials and used eyeball tracking to follow how users scanned their pages, and I’ve experimented with fuzzy glasses and clumsy gloves to reproduce the experiences of partially sighted users or users with mobility problems. Perhaps all of this doesn’t come out in everything I do, but the knowledge and experience are part of my background whenever I am designing materials.
My work with Volvo allowed me to include some excellent examples of UX design – where you could explore the 3D virtual interior of a car to find special features, for instance, or a game where answering questions gradually revealed parts of a hidden image. Learning and training materials do not have to be boring. Game design is almost an ideal. It’s a common concept: Learning is something that happens when you are doing other things – which is to say that learning is at its most effective when the learner doesn’t realize that it is happening.