“You had me at hello.”
There’s an interesting post at the Guardian this week. Evidently it takes a half a second for people to judge whether you’re trustworthy. Assuming that’s true, how long do you think it takes someone to judge your e-learning trustworthiness?
Portfolios are like e-learning selfies
Just like book covers, movie posters, and every other type of product packaging, your e-learning screenshots convey an impression. How you present them matters.
Disagree? Ask yourself how many times you’ve changed your Facebook profile picture in the last year. What about your LinkedIn picture? I think it’s time course designers spent the same amount of time on their portfolio pictures as they do on their social media pictures.
And that’s what this week’s challenge is all about!
Be deliberate when you show your work
You don’t need a portfolio of award-winning courses to be judged, “e-learning trustworthy.” Your goal should be to present the projects you have as if they’re award-winning courses. There’s a difference and I’ll show you an example.
Earlier this week one of our community members wrote me to review his portfolio. I can’t show his work here so I’m using one of our demo courses to illustrate the point.
In one example, he had a project for a well-known company. But the screenshot he used was from an Articulate Engage interaction.
There’s nothing wrong with Engage, but Engage interactions are templates that are mostly built for you. So even with some slick color and font skinning, the interaction is already shaped by the software. He should have led with one of the more custom slides he built.
Remember, what you show matters.
Give a crop about screenshots
Most e-learning courses are created around a 4:3 aspect ratio with a slide size of 720x540. That’s the standard, but there exceptions.
If your online portfolio's thumbnails are based on the same aspect ratio, then you don’t have a problem. But if your portfolio page is based around a different aspect ratio, you need to get creative in how you show your work.
Show the full slide
The most common way users display their work is by grabbing a screenshot of the entire slide. It’s an easy technique because it doesn’t require any additional editing. As long as your portfolio page or template uses the same aspect ratio, this format is perfect.
Another approach is to show creative or interesting elements from a slide. This means you won’t show everything at once. I do this for your challenge recap posts each week.
This works great when you’re limited on space or want to show a lot of thumbnails on the page. You can see a working example in our Storyline downloads. Nearly all the templates are 4:3 but our site's thumbnails are displayed in landscape mode.
Rebuild the screens
Have you ever noticed that movie posters are always shown in portrait mode while the movies are filmed in landscape mode? Clearly it would have been easier to take a still from the movie and use it for the poster. Instead, designers create custom designs—in portrait mode—to promote the movie. That's something course designers can do, too!
There’s nothing wrong with creating a custom screenshot for each space where you share your projects. It’s a bit more work, but it’s the best way to control your screenshots across different social channels.
Challenge of the week
This week’s challenge is all about your e-learning portfolios. We already know you do awesome work, and we want to help others find your awesome work.
There are four parts to this week’s challenge:
Part 1: Share your e-learning portfolio
Using the comments section below, include a link to your e-learning portfolio page. This should take you less than one minute. Woot!
Part 2: Create the header image for next week’s recap post
That’s right! I’m taking the week off from photo editing. This week you’re creating your header image for the recap post.
You can show a single project or pull together a collage of projects. Use a screenshot of your website. Or use your logo. Or use a cute kitty. It’s up to you what you show. Check out last week’s recap post for an example.
- Screenshot dimensions: 760x380. That’s a 2:1 aspect ratio.
NOTE: This part could get spammy, so I’m reserving editorial control to ensure submissions are viewer-friendly.
Part 3: Create portfolio screenshots for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
We’re getting a long way from the 4:3 aspect ratio, now. Facebook and Twitter both use landscape modes. This means your 720x540 e-learning screenshots aren’t optimized for Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest is a little more flexible.
The emphasis in this part is on adapting your screenshots for different social channels. You’ll need to crop or create versions of your portfolio header image so they align with each channel’s image specs.
Twitter and Facebook will auto-crop your images so they fit the stream. That sounds nice, right? Yes and no. Failing to respect the different aspect ratios could mean cutting off the heads of your customers. Sorry guys.
Thanks to @KellyMeeker for calling this to my attention. I won’t make that mistake again.
Part 4: Share your portfolio on social media
Tweet your screenshots and a link to your portfolio. Remember to include #ELHChallenge so we can find them
- Image sizes: Twitter follows a 2:1 aspect ratio and recommends sizing images at 1024x512.
- This is the same aspect ratio I’m now using for challenge recap posts so you kind of get a pass with this one.
Reply to this Facebook post with your portfolio screenshot and a link back to your portfolio.
Pin your portfolio image to your Pinterest board and use #elhchallenge. I'll search for the tag and re-pin your images to the Elearning Portfolio. You can message me to let me know you've pinned your image, too. But I'll check Pinterest each day for new #elhchallenge pins.
- Image sizes: You’re not limited to using the same 2:1 aspect ratio like you did for Twitter and the challenge recap.
- Pinterest pins use a fixed width of 236 pixels. You can use a height of up to 882 pixels so that gives you some interesting options.
- The single image size is capped at 736 pixels wide and 1102 pixels tall.
Last week’s e-learning challenge
Before you show off the cool work you’re doing in this week’s challenge, take peek at the audio tips your fellow community members shared in last week’s audio challenge:
More about the 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.
Wishing you a pretty-as-a-picture week, E-Learning Heroes!