Edtech must have: good design

Ever wondered why most education related web resources are adorned with images of apples, rulers, chalk, and yellow pencils? To me these are signals of bland obscurity in design.  I see a yellow pencil on an “ed tech” page—these are usually borrowed from a kitsch clip art library—and I know that whoever was in charge of that project did a bad job. They did not think through even the key details of the design, let alone the more important minute details.

With very, very few exceptions, anything that is rolled out nowadays in the education space on the web is done without much consideration for usability or user experience. Or in plain English, web ed tech design sucks.

Really bad design is a big problem that permeates the education space.

Our team understands this problem very clearly, and we are striving for a magical user experience. Thus, users and their satisfaction with all aspects of our service—from User Interface to quality of content—are right at the core of our design effort.

Dieter Rams formulated ten axioms of good design. Although his rules were meant to be directly applicable to designing new objects, these are applicable in web design:

  1. Good Design Is Innovative—The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
  2. Good Design Makes a Product Useful—A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
  3. Good Design Is Aesthetic—The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
  4. Good Design Makes A Product Understandable—It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  5. Good Design Is Unobtrusive—Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
  6. Good Design Is Honest—It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept
  7. Good Design Is Long-lasting—It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
  8. Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail—Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  9. Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly—Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the life cycle of the product.
  10. Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible—Less, but better because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Needless to say, when we launch Rukuku services, you won’t see rulers, pencils, or red apples for that matter.

This entry was posted in Technology in education, Updates by Denis Zaff. Bookmark the permalink.

About Denis Zaff

I am the founder of Rukuku.com - Training Cloud. My interests are diverse and changing all the time; things that are at the core of my everyday life are my family, books & road cycling. I almost never watch TV, constantly remain pretty clueless about competitive sports, and I don't own a microwave oven.

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