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9. Navigation and Usability Design

  • Issued: October 2015
  • Content last reviewed: October 2015

Usable programs are generally efficient, simple to learn, easy to navigate and engaging from a learner’s perspective.

To ease the learner’s navigation and usability of the eLearning program:

  1. Menu structures must be “shallow and wide” (e.g. have a few levels but with many selectable items at each level) in preference to “narrow and deep”
  2. Scrolling content must be avoided wherever possible, on the basis that it may potentially conceal content from the learner and result in content being missed
  3. The learner must be protected from accidentally exiting the eLearning program (e.g. “are you sure you want to exit?” confirmation window is presented)
  4. Each screen must have a unique title
  5. The position of the learner within a sequence of screens within an instructional unit must be indicated
  6. The position of the learner within the overall eLearning program must be indicated (e.g. program map)
  7. The status of instructional units (e.g. not started, started, completed) must be clearly visible to the learner
  8. Clear indicators must allow the learner to easily keep track of where they are in the eLearning program
  9. Navigation controls must be simple, intuitive and consistent in naming, performance and screen location
  10. Controls must exist to allow the learner to:
    1. Move forward and backward through screens, as well as replay current screen if necessary
    2. Control video with play, pause, stop and volume controls
    3. Move up to the menu that presents multiple units of instruction
  11. Controls such as help, glossary or setup must be available throughout the eLearning program and operate on a “call and return” principle, where the learner is returned automatically to where they were in the program upon completion of the operation (rather than forcing the learner to navigate back to their place in the program)
  12. Appropriate accessibility guidelines must be adhered to, as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) 2.0 standards level AA (as published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 2008).

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