Articulate Studio ’13 is an amazingly versatile e-learning tool that gives you a lot of control over the look and feel of your courses. That said, when it comes to working with Studio, some people don’t realize their full graphic design potential because they’re making three easy-to-fix mistakes. Here’s a quick look at these oversights and how to correct them:

Using the Default Player

One of the simplest things you can do to customize your course and make it look better than average is to update the default player. The default light-gray course player is perfectly nice looking; however, it’s overused because a lot of people don’t take a few minutes to customize the player and instead publish as is, with the default player.

Now, one of the great things about Studio is that there are so many default options that come with the player, like the seekbar and the resources tab. However, you shouldn’t show them all at once—you should carefully select which options to highlight and get rid of anything else that you don’t need so your player is as streamlined and simple as possible. Take a look at this course published with the default player:

Between the menu on the left-hand side, the title, the links, and all the buttons along the bottom, it’s a lot to take in visually. Now, take a look at the same course but with a streamlined and customized player:

The slimmed-down version lets the learner focus on the CONTENT and what’s important, not on the player and all of the additional features. In the example above, by making the entire player white, it blends in with the white browser background and becomes almost invisible. The player gives you the ability to customize colors, fonts, text labels, and much more, so go ahead and take advantage of that to customize your course.

Leaving the Standard Story Size

The standard project size in PowerPoint is 10 inches by 7.5 inches, but you can absolutely customize the size of your project by going into the design tab and choosing the Page Setup button. Make the stage long and skinny, or make it a perfect square. The size and shape of your course is totally up to you, and that allows for some pretty cool and funky designs. Of course, you will want to make sure there’s a reason for the size you choose and that it will fit on the screen of the device most used by your learners. Check out this cool example of a more narrow stage:

Not Customizing Your Engage Interactions

The default interactions in Articulate Engage look pretty snazzy, but customizing them to work with the look and feel of the rest of your course is an easy step that will make your design really pop. For example, take a look at this article I wrote where I shared a before-and-after of a Pyramid interaction. You can see how simple color and font changes take your interactions to the next level.

Those are three simple steps you can consider next time you want to jazz up a Studio course. As you can see, you have a lot of control over the look of your final output. Got questions or feedback? Leave your comments below, or give us a shout-out on Twitter!

Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate software? Download a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

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Jeff Kortenbosch