Huhn, J. (2013) A Guide to Superior e-Learning Graphics, BottomLine Performance, August 10
For those instructors or faculty new to online or blended learning, this is a very useful preliminary introduction to the importance of good graphic design for your online learning materials.
However, my advice is to team up with a graphic or web designer with experience in online teaching, before doing any development of materials. Not only will this save you a great deal of time in the long run, but it will also ensure that your materials look good and more importantly, students will learn better or more quickly as a result.
If you have a Centre for Teaching and Learning or a Learning Technology unit, they should have such specialists. It would also be sensible to make sure that an instructional designer also attends your first meeting, as their skills are somewhat different, although related.
I cannot stress though how important design is for online learning. Design includes the choice of ‘shell’ for your course in a learning management system (yes, you usually do have a choice!), font style and size, and general layout of web pages, as well as more detailed design issues such as consistent use of colours, placing and sizing graphics, and choice of tools for you to draft or create your own graphics.
This is why you should work with professionals trained in these areas if you can. If not, spend some time learning about basic design principles – and this article is a good start.