Help to focus the learner with color values

If you want to control where your learner looks first and keep them focused on the content, color values can help you do that. The value of a color in online learning is simply put, the grayscale equivalent of the color. Notice the original colors here on the left and the grayscale equivalence on the right. If you look at the dark red square and how dark its grayscale value is, you’ll see that you can train yourself to see the value of the colors you’re designing, and it helps create high contrast and very readable content. I have seen e-learning modules that worked but used all the wrong colors. I’m willing to bet you have too. Although they have delivered the content properly, improper use of color can distract the learner. Using color properly not only makes the slides look better, but you can help control how the content is viewed. The example on the left has so many bright colors, my eye is drawn to them first. Imagery should enhance the story, but it should not be distracting. On the right, is a much classier, more professional look, and my focus is drawn to the title of the course. In the first example, I’m jumping around on the colors and not sure where to look. Do you see the difference? In this example, very limited color is used.

The colors chosen are appropriate for the era, and my eye is drawn to the title on the slide first. Here’s an example of an infographic I created to make a point about using color to draw your eye to the right place. Notice the trees and the mountains in the background are muted and monochromatic. This just means they’re the same color but with different values. By applying this muted look, the green trees stand out. They become the focal point, and it helps direct the learner’s eye. Remember to use color values to focus on what’s important. In the left example, my eye is drawn to the purple shape instead of the headline. Is that really what I want to happen? By contrast, the right example has changed the emphasis, and you can see the course title first. The lighter background behind the type draws me in, and the color attracts my eye to the right spot. I used the color value to redirect my learner’s eye. Okay, this is an extreme example, but which would you rather see? I prefer the one on the left because it’s still colorful, but the colors are muted and they complement each other nicely. The example on the right is too bright, and I’m not sure where to look first. You can see how color values can enhance or detract from your content. Let’s take a look at another example. I’ve put a bright yellow behind the photo on the left, but it detracts from the photo and becomes the main focus. On the right, I chose a darker blue that matches the colors in the image but doesn’t detract from its beauty. Once you start noticing the value of colors, your design work will improve and so will the flow of your courses.