Instructional design/Online Presentations/Choosing Engaging Elements

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Typography, Color, and Graphics are Used Appropriately[edit | edit source]

You have entered the home stretch! The last pieces of the rubric are focused on making the presentation engaging. Using appropriate typography (fonts and font styles), colors, and graphics will motivate and engage the audience. Using them inappropriately will cause your audience to tune out and sometimes even get a negative impression of you and/or your content.

Typography[edit | edit source]

Typography should be used to keep the learner engaged. A familiar font and size will maintain learner attention. If you want to highlight something, choose one way to differentiate - either size, font form, or color. The eye will be drawn to this differentiation.

Incorrect Correct
Typography-bad.png Typography-good.png

Keep these tips in mind for typography:

  • use full sentences for slide titles and short phrases for bullets
    • do not overcrowd the slide with text
  • limit presentation to two or three familiar fonts
  • font size should be big enough to read
  • to emphasize elements use different fonts, sizes, bold, or italic
  • offset key text
  • align text consistently

Color[edit | edit source]

Color can be used for emphasis or to set a tone. When deciding on how to use color in your presentation keep in mind that your audience will have emotional reactions to your use of color. Adopting a "less is more" philosophy about color will help keep your audience's reactions positive. The images below show how to (and how not to) use color in your presentation.

Clashing Colors[edit | edit source]

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Color-bad.png Color-good.png

Colors that are difficult to see[edit | edit source]

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Dark background color slide.JPG Light background color slide.JPG

When using color to provide contrast it is important to avoid clashing colors. We can avoid clashing colors by using a color wheel (see below). Keep these tips in mind when using the color wheel:

  • use opposite colors
  • use adjacent colors
  • use colors which form a triangle


Are you interested in learning more about color in message design? If so, see either of these color tutorials: Color Selection for Message Design or Color and Design.

Graphics[edit | edit source]

We all know the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words", and we should use this to our advantage when we give a presentation. Graphics will add to the engagement and effectiveness of the presentation when they are used to add to the content or add motivation through humor or stories. Just like with typography and color, there is a good way and a not so good way to use them. Take a look at the slides below to see how you can use images to enhance the content being presented.

Add to Content[edit | edit source]

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Graphics-bad.png Graphics-good.png

Motivation[edit | edit source]

Incorrect Correct
Unhappy face gas.JPG Motivational gas pumping.JPG

Keep these tips in mind when using graphics in your presentation:

  • use graphics of good quality
  • graphics must add to the content or provide motivation
  • avoid copyright issues by using graphics
    • which you create
    • are in the public domain
    • are licensed for your use

Spelling and Grammar[edit | edit source]

  • use proper grammar and spell check your work
  • use a conversational tone

(Need we say more?)

Let's Practice[edit | edit source]

Typography Color Graphics
Cuisine-typog-bad.png Cuisine-color-bad.png Cuisine-graphics-bad.png

Choose the best answer for each question below based on the slides presented.

1 What is the most serious flaw on the Typography example slide?

A: There is no use of bold to cue the learner.
B: The bullets have too much content.
C: The background color is too dark.
D: There is no variation in fonts.

2 What is the most serious flaw on the Color example slide?

A: Color is used inconsistently.
B: Colors which are opposite on the color wheel were not used.
C: The gray background is inappropriate.
D: Colors do not provide enough contrast to view the content

3 What is the most serious flaw on the Graphics example slide?

A: The graphics are of poor quality.
B: The graphics are copyrighted material.
C: The graphics do not support the content.
D: The graphics clash with the background.

Here's how these slides could be improved.

Typography Color Graphics
Cuisine-typog-good.png Cuisine-color-good.png Cuisine-graphics-good.png

Alright, it's time to apply what you have learned! Click "Next" to access the final assessment.

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