Introducing the newest minimal design
The greatest strength of minimal design is the clarity of form, the clean lines, the ample white space, and the minimal graphical elements. This is why we usually say that “less is more” or else, “less is easier”. Our brand new design is stripped of everything except from those components that are absolutely essential. Minimal design is a discussion with yourself as a designer since it forces you to understand better and polish your message, it urges you to avoid all the unnecessary clutter.
Minimal design is a psychological design. The ‘clean’ space, and more specifically the whitespace that creates a breathing space, a calm sight that relaxes the eye, allows you to focus on the task at hand and enjoy it. This is the feeling that the new authoring environment provides, “easiness, simplicity, speed, beauty”.
In order to find out yourself, let’s compare the Pages Βuilder in the previous UI and the new one (drag the handler to compare the two screenshots).
This new design lends an air of simplicity to even the most confounding subject matters, and it’s also respectful to your content – and the next image proves it, the course layout page you are designing. This way you have minimal invasion, you focus on your content, you value proposition, and you are free from distractions.
Minimal design also means the use of less colors as we had to transit from a vivid multicolor UX experience to a simplified color scheme, a monochromatic one. We played a lot, researched a lot, tested a lot with testers and we finally managed to achieve designs of two-color icons, that respect the white space and offer a beautiful tone of color.
In regards to the typeface, a safe bet is to rely on the platform’s default font and even better to our clients most used platform, Apple. Apple uses the San Francisco family of typefaces to provide consistent reading experience across all platforms and we just followed, nothing major for us to decide. However, the readiness of the UI improved dramatically.
When minimal design becomes coherent, it beautifully open ups a design space where it is easy to develop new features and set up cleaner dialogues with the user. Since we have a lot in the queue this was an essential requirement.
Giving design power to our customers
LearnWorlds is the only product out there that gives you so much control of your school. More than anyone else, this is one of our main design values. With LearnWorlds you own your school, and everything is under your design, and most importantly without the need to be an experienced designer.
In this new incarnation of LearnWorlds there are three great related advancements:
1The Course Layout Page can now be edited with the Pages Builder
The list of pages that you could edit with the Pages Builder was getting bigger and bigger each month for about 6 months before we made the switch. However this was the most decisive step. Each course layout can now be edited with the Pages Builder! With the release of our new UI we are proud to announce that we are the most easily customizable platform in our industry, with great distance between us and the second place.
Let’s recap. When you create your school, you can customize the site appearance with the wide range of templates we offer. For the purpose of creating and promoting your own, distinct brand, we provide you with an exquisite set of tools, such as:
With these on-site tools and our Pages Builder, LearnWorlds allows you to create a fully-customised, unique design for your school.
2A powerful Link and Course Manager
When you are at the process of creating pages, you reach a point where you’ve designed a great many of them and then a new need arises: how to connect them fast and conveniently. In order to accomodate the need, the Link Manager of our Pages Builder has been upgraded and now it offers you the greatest possible connectivity between pages:
For better site navigation and flow it’s important to link everything to everything. With the Link Manager, you can redirect your learners to the checkout page of all your products. Course, Bundles and Subscriptions have a choice to go directly to their checkout pages. As a school owner you can send your learners to any other page just as quick regardless what page they are at.
The second need was to create custom “Shop Windows” for showcasing your products in all these pages. This helps you to present all your courses, with the exact same appearance, in multiple locations across your site.
With the latest update you can:
With these new features you can create whatever course list you can imagine, no matter how elaborate; and this only on LearnWorlds!
3Finally, the templates
Sometimes we are getting blown away by what a trial user can develop, in one minute or less, when they have a clear idea of what they need. At the moment, we offer a rich library with more than 170 highly responsive templates and we keep adding more.
Also, there are page-specific templates, i.e. templates which are useful for specific situations. For example, as you can see in the following image, we specific templates for the “topbar” or the Checkout page. It’s funny, but several of our clients are asking us to offer our product with the Pages Builder as a blogger platform saying “I would love to create my blog posts with the Pages builder”. I think that this reveals the hidden power of designing with it. There are some quite big surprises coming in relation to the “template-driven design”.
And we did not stop there, we made templates even more awesome. How can you make an awesome thing even better? Well, by adding some Magic to them:)
“Magic Templates” is our latest handy and time-saving innovation you will fall in love with. With the click of a button you can easily cycle through the dozens of design templates we offer and choose just the right one for you.
So you can preview, in real time, numerous variations of your pages, and achieve stunning visual results with the least possible effort.
Let me tell it once more, that’s something you can achieve only in LearnWorlds.
And here is an additional note for our Pages Builder: A few pals are asking us “I want to put the element in the page wherever I want, not to follow your templates” or I want to change a particular template. Our job is to speed up your development process and, at the same time, to protect you from easy mistakes, without making you feel like a fool, don’t you agree with that?
How easy would it be for us to offer such a capability, of randomly placing elements where you like? It’s so, so easy to implement and that’s why several similar web design tools offer it. But, what will happen in different screen sizes? How would that look on an iPhone or a large Android tablet? Total mess, a disaster. Only experienced web developers can manage such requirements across hundreds of different devices, screen sizes and form factors. That’s why we offer you highly responsive designs that are functional across all screens. So, when it comes to the design of the templates, just trust us. We know what we are doing;)
The new UI does not concern only the experienced course sellers. There are a lot of instructors, that are just transitioning onto online courses. For those people LearnWorlds may be the first course platform they use and they learn how to sell their courses through us. Since they started working with us, they discovered what a coupon is, how to setup a questionnaire or how to filter users in order to send targeted marketing emails.
Evenmore, different platforms have different approaches in how features are designed and implemented and,,\ since the flow of customers coming from the competition,\ increased significantly in the last few months, we decided to become the most easy and informative platform to use. In every service, every feature, every empty table, every page, assignment, coupon etc, there is the right chunk of info to guide you through the process. Nothing to be scared of, just the opposite, our testers consider every task to be so easy to complete with LearnWorlds.
Now, let’s check out a couple of examples.
In the following image you can see an empty ebook with a clear reference to the two basic functions of the ebook:
The second feature used to be, paradoxically, the less-used feature in our previous ebook authoring environment, while it was one of the more powerful ones! Not any more: in one of our tests, 90% of the users who visited the new ebook uploaded a Word document, and that worked fantastically well for them!
The second example was one of the most complicated forms, the form for creating discount coupons. But, this too isn’t an issue any more. Our forms are separated now in two columns, one is dedicated in explaining the form fields and the other column has been simplified enough to use as you type in your data/values. The user can see examples, tips, remarks, directions and notes and update the form with self-confidence, fast and easy. You might have noticed this here the first time you used it! We strongly believe that this will become a trend in a few years time in other platforms and many will follow our lead 😉
There are a couple of informational layers already designed, but hidden in this release of our new UI. Wait for even more support while you design your school. Some of that support will be intelligent soon!
Making the navigation wider and faster
Most learning platforms like ours have a great opponent: the difficulty to demonstrate all the possibilities and offerings to their users, to let them “index” in their mind quickly all the opportunities, to help them understand our value proposition. Creating your online school is not a simple service for just selling pre-ready products. In LearnWorlds, you can create the products, sell and promote them and even create a social community for your customers. How can someone identify, test and master all this functionality? On top of that, we are adding new functionality twice a month!
The solution for us was the most demanding one: total redesign of our navigation system and the whole front-end infrastructure. What will you notice?
We have estimated that the exploration of all our features requires now 70% less navigation time! Also, our novice test users explored 70% more characteristics than in the previous UI. That’s a great achievement and it means, that new trial users learn more about our product before buying and hence they are making the right choice easier 🙂
Wizards for all (Step-by-Step Guidance)
A typical definition for wizards claims that “a wizard presents a user with a sequence of dialog boxes that lead the user through a series of well-defined steps“. Tasks that are complex or unfamiliar may be easier to perform using a wizard. Before the change, it was obvious in our data logs that we needed two wizards, e.g. a school setup wizard and a course creation wizard. Both processes are not difficult by themselves but to find and set the necessary properties, you have to first develop a comprehensive understanding of an online school, and this should not be a prerequisite to build an online school.
The first step was to search all of our tickets in our support system regarding school and course setup issues and then to identify and categorize the difficulties and the expectations of our users. The second step was to offer simple well-defined steps to let the users complete the two processes. But the values of this new UI were more demanding. We had to find ways to help you build a better school and a better course, not just a school and a course. That’s why we envisioned a wizard also separated in two columns. The first column is there again to provide you with real world examples and effective guidance, as you are making your choices. For example, in the Create Course wizard, when the users are creating their course slug they have guidance on how to optimize the course url for SEO purposes.
In wizards, there is always the “focus” factor. Several users try to do the job quickly and dirty in order to discover the UI by themselves later. Hence, we had to find a way to grab their attention and let them know that we are there every moment to help them out. As such, we addressed the need with two nice but quite rare tricks:
These two unconventional wizards will make our users feel more secure from the very first moment and also understand, that we are to help them do the job in the best way possible, and not to help them fill in the forms.
A brand-new course development environment
The main product sold through LearnWorlds is the online course. And it was a priority for us, based on the experience we gathered throughout all these years working with course sellers, to re-examine it methodically and offer a more solid experience of building your point-of-sale. Our objectives on this frot were also clear: expressivity, speediness and awareness.
Expressivity was achieved through letting the instructors design their course description pages with our powerful Pages Builder, as mentioned earlier. That was probably the biggest change in this release. Additionally, new templates were added especially to go with the course layout page.
Speediness was achieved with a new content manager. Contents now are being edited in a separate tab offering an exclusive space to focus on the structure of your course. However, the most effective update was the way you add and edit learning units. No forms, no new text fields but in-context additions and changes.
Click “Add an activity” and automatically new learning activities are created, just waiting for you to decide on their type and name. Click on an existing learning unit and change its name in situ. This makes it easy for an instructor to create the structure and the learning units of a whole course in just a few seconds. And it provides the essential flexibility needed in instructional design: being able to easily develop and review the outline of the course as you progress.
Awareness means that the users should quickly and conveniently recognize what they are changing and what is happening in their courses. We interpreted the first issue as a need to offer more previews of the changes made in the course properties. The course UI now has 3 new previews!
We want our instructors to understand better the selling power of these options as we believe this thinking is the way forward.
Awareness is also achieved with the new course dashboard, which offers you a quick overview of how the course is developing. We knew that we missed that and again we designed it simple, useful and focused to the important ones.
Below you can see a comparison between the old UI general school dashboard and the new UI general dashboard as well:
Our first tests show so much more satisfaction and perceived expressivity and awareness for the new course authoring UI.
Can an online school be administered from my mobile?
We took it a step further and we set the bar high for the responsiveness of the new UI. We decided to dedicate a lot of resources in order to let our instructors to manage their whole online school through their mobiles.
Have you ever imagined creating a course, building a page or changing a setting from your mobile? Well, now this is possible! In regards to using the administration menu or the add blocks menu of the Pages Builder, the process is made easy – you swipe right or swipe left and everything from there on is expecting you. We have already seen instructors that develop their online schools through their mobiles (while on the bus, or the train!) and are using the LearnWorlds for hours. This exceeded even our best expectations, but concurrently this showcases the power that mobiles can provide to each professional.
The new UI…
The challenge was clear – to provide the most beautiful, the most expressive, the most supportive, the most responsive online school administration UI out there. The first signs show us that we have probably nailed it! We have to keep in mind that our design partners were – and always will be – our clients and all of the thousands of instructors that have been in contact with LearnWorlds. We hear you. We are here for you.