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Why Design a Simple User Interface for Mobile Learning?

Last week I attended a meeting in our office regarding the development of an e-learning course on a mobile platform. A topic that caught my attention was the importance of user interface in mobile learning. Many of our course developers actually agreed that developing an interface which requires simplistic knowledge or approach is very important for a mobile learning course to be effective.

Here are some points I gathered from the meeting, which stressed upon why and how to keep the user interface simple for m-learning courses:

  • The screen of a mobile cannot be compared to that of a laptop or PC. Users must access the course through this small screen space. So, having many navigational tools on the screen makes learners confused when trying to locate the content. For example, consider the user interface of Facebook on a PC and mobile.
  • Mobile learning courses are best known for just-in-time learning. Learners may require some information instantly. So the accessibility to the course just by touch and by switching between slides should be smooth, easy, and user friendly to learners.
  • If the screen is crowded, it is difficult to navigate; especially with the smartphones with touch screen capability, selection errors are common. One should remember that learners navigate using their fingers and not a mouse. So the touch points should be large enough.
  • The design of interface should allow users to focus more on important learning bytes at a glance. One needs to remember that a majority of learners access the mobile when they are on the go or during short breaks. For the purpose, the design should be intuitive to enable users to navigate through the course without spending too much time on figuring out how.
  • It’s often a common practice to reduce the font size in order to save space for more objects, while designing mobile learning courses. But the best practice is to keep everything clear and visible. So for the purpose, it is recommended that unnecessary elements that are added just as a flashy ingredient are removed and elements that are absolutely needed to give a gist of main content are included.

These are a few points that I learned while attending the meeting with respect to developing e-learning courses for the mobile platform. Do you think there are other aspects that have been missed out? Please do share your thoughts.

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