‘Good’ design principles – what are they really?

I have been interested in this area for some time now and not just for the purpose of online course design but for good practice in the design of all my teaching and learning resources.  I realise that whatever form the resource may take, it needs to be designed in such a way as to provide the user with access to the information because the resource is clear, concise and communicates what it should.  I found a great presentation on Slideshare in my research today that was the best I’ve seen so far on Principles of Visual Design by .

It’s good to know from reading through this presentation that I have been practising the right design principles in the visual design of online courses for the most part.  I certainly have always got something more to learn in this area though and I love to digest anything on the topic.

I’m currently working on a project to develop a tool to combine all areas of design practice for both online and offline teaching and learning resources and this presentation certainly does give me further food for thought.  Design is not all about the visuals, however, but also about instructions as well.  I want my tool to combine both the visual aspects and the instructional or pedagogical aspects as well but I’m trying to picture how that might look in a matrix or other type of graphic for potential future use.

This presentation explores the four key aspects of: alignment, contrast, proximity,  and repetition but coupled with that, and to compliment that, should be pedagogical (more commonly referred to as instructional design) aspects.  I would at this stage say that perhaps in additional to these four aspects, a tool might also address aspects of familiarity, communication, practise, and assessment.  To explain:

  • Familiarity – reviewing background knowledge and outlining future knowledge to be attained through this resource;
  • Communication – information transfer and how it is communicated to users;
  • Practise – how is this new information put into practise and applied practically within an appropriate context; and,
  • Assessment – how is new information and understanding of it assessed and reviewed?

This is very rough for now but I will continue to rethink it.  Writing the above four points brought to mind the NSW Quality Teaching Model and aspects of that could most certainly be applied to the design of learning resources as well, so perhaps I’ll revisit the very familiar model.

Comments welcome…

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2 thoughts on “‘Good’ design principles – what are they really?

  1. Great design makes you feel something. As in the designer believes the world would be better if .. and sets out to forge a pathway to that end. It’s not 2D or visual alone in my view. Perhaps one of Disney’s dark-rides are the best example – the assessment is the smiles on the way out.

    • Great! Thanks heaps for your comment, it definitely isn’t ‘black and white’ but my brain tends to think ‘black and white’ so I’m mulling it over to try and not continue thinking always 2D. I might think more about it metaphorically, I love me a good metaphor 🙂

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