Intuitive navigation is an important element in e-learning design. Course designers who stick with default player menus usually don’t have to worry about user interface (UI) design since player manages the navigation.
One reason rapid e-learning became so popular with instructional designers is because the tools generated the course menu, freeing IDs to design content rather than program course menus. If there’s a downside to prebuilt menus, it’s that they encourage linear, click-and-read courses.
Custom navigation menus, like those often used in nonlinear courses, can permit learners to jump around the course as they choose. But moving beyond traditional menu navigation means course designers need to think more like UI designers.
To jumpstart this week's challenge, I’ve rounded up some creative navigation examples your fellow community members have shared.
Video game consoles, traditional board games, and tablet-inspired menus are excellent ways to seek inspiration.
Tabs are the most popular type of menu navigation we see in courses. They’re highly customizable and can be created using a variety of shapes and styles. If you go with a tabs menu, please cross-post in the tabs challenge.
More tabs templates:
- Web Style Tabbed Interaction by Phil Mayor
- Storyline 2: Power Teal E-Learning Template by Tom Kuhlmann
- Web Inspired Tabbed Interaction by Trina Rimmer
- Tabz by Przemysław Hubisz
- Simple, Clean Design: Tabs Template by Nicole Legault
- 4-Step Tabs Interaction by Anand Timothy
- Interactive Steps Tabs by Matthew Guyan
- Menu Template by Nancy Woinoski
- 5-Step Action Interaction by Kevin Thorn
- Folder Tabs Interaction by David Anderson
- Six Tabs Interaction Layouts by Montse Anderson
Icons and graphics are another popular approach to course menus. When used consistently, visual buttons can remove the need for on-screen button labels. If you’re looking for tips on building your own icons, check out last week’s icon e-learning challenge.
More icon-based examples:
- Icon-Based Navigation by Tom Kuhlmann
- iPhone Tabs Timeline Interaction by Montse Anderson
- Tabs Interaction: Meet the Team by Montse Anderson
This mobile-inspired menu includes bookmarking features to indicate completed lessons and a collapsible menu to free up slide space.
More examples of mobile-inspired menus:
Similar to the icon-based navigation, map themes are a creative alternative to text-based menus. Nicola shared a branching example based on a village illustration.
More examples of map navigation:
Challenge of the Week
This week, your challenge is to:
- create a custom menu example for an e-learning course
- share your favorite UI design tip for building custom navigation menus
You can design any kind of menu navigation you like. The focus this week is more on navigation ideas and concepts. Don’t worry about putting together a highly polished menu or interaction.
Here are some tutorials and articles that will help you create your challenge demo.
- Build Your Own Course with Storyline by Michael Hinze
- The Ultimate Guide to Buttons in Storyline 2
- 6 Creative Navigation Examples
- More Than a Dozen Ways to Navigate an E-Learning Course
Here are a few website navigation showcase examples that can help give you some ideas. If you come across a site or example that you think would benefit this challenge, please share in the comments below. I’ll update the list with your recommendations.
- 50 Beautiful And User-Friendly Navigation Menus
- 50 Stylish Navigation Menus for Design Inspiration
- 50 Interesting Navigation Menus
- 25 Examples of Navigation Menus in Web Design
- 15 Best Websites with Non-Standard Navigation
Share Your E-Learning Work
- Comments: Use the comments section below to share a link to your published example and blog post.
- Forums: Start your own thread and share a link to your published example..
- Personal blog: If you have a blog, please consider writing about your challenges. We’ll link back to your posts so the great work you’re sharing gets even more exposure.
- Twitter: If you share your demos on Twitter, try using #ELHChallenge so your tweeps can track your e-learning coolness.
- Facebook: Share your work on our Facebook page by replying to this Facebook post with a link to your example.
Last Week’s Challenge:
Wishing you an easy-to-navigate week, E-Learning Heroes!
New to E-Learning Challenges?
The weekly challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. I’ll update the recap posts to include your demos.