As I read online, I bookmark resources I find interesting and useful. I share these links periodically here on my blog. This post includes links on UX, accessibility, branching scenarios, Twine, instructional design blogs, free/freemium tools, and systems thinking.
A curated list of UX resources from Mel Milloway with relevance for elearning development
Rounded corners on cards and buttons can be helpful to users for differentiating between items and recognizing what is clickable. Fully rounded buttons (pill-shaped buttons) can also be effective, but they fail in some circumstances.
Rounded corners are easier on the eyes. When we align cards in a row, it’s easier to count the total number of cards when they have rounded corners.
Fully rounded buttons are excellent in interfaces that have adequate space.-Shan Shen
Accessibility and alt text
Guidelines for writing good alt text.
Examples of bad, okay, and good alt text
Longer guide to writing alt text, paying attention to the differences in the context for the image
360 images can be accessible in Articulate Storyline, according to the documentation (but I’d want to test this with a screen reader to make sure everything was clear in the flow of the activity)
Branching scenarios and Twine
Kimberly Goh shares tips on branching scenario structure, comparing the time cave vs. branch and bottleneck structure. She recommends skipping both of those and using a gauntlet structure, which she calls a “mastery loop.” This is her “optimized branching structure.” She builds on to it a little more by showing more consequences for bad choices, but it’s still ultimately a friendly gauntlet that always forces you back to the right path. I’m part of the “some people” who often discourage the limited gauntlet structure; I don’t think this is a true branching scenario. But, it is an interactive story.
In a Mastery Loop, every time you make a poor decision, you see the poor consequence play out, then you automatically get to make the decision again. Once you make the right decision, the story continues. There’s really only one way to get to the ending, and it’s always the best ending. Some people discourage the use of Mastery Loops because they feel it’s overly controlling to “force” people to eventually choose the right path. But if your business problem is relatively simple, and doesn’t require a lot of nuanced decisions, a Mastery Loop might be the best format to use.-Kimberly Goh
This hasn’t been updated in 2 years, but it’s a tool for adding Google Analytics tracking to Twine games. While getting xAPI to work with Twine is still probably the ideal option for most learning applications, analytics data would provide a lot of useful info too.
Kristin Anthony made this City Budget game in Twine and tracked with xAPI. She used Sugarcube, which is probably easier than Harlowe because it plays nicer with JS. Unfortunately, the finished product appears to have some errors in it.
A guide to getting started in Twine. This shows a different process than my getting started, using the Link macro in the Harlowe toolbar. It also includes directions for embedding Twine in Moodle.
How did Feedspot determine who was on their list of 31 (not quite 35) ID blogs and websites? It’s not quite clear; it’s based on reach and domain authority rather than quality, supposedly. But one of those blogs only posts 5 times a year? A number of these are organizational blogs. A few of these blogs are new to me, so you might find something new too. You’ll have to search for the blog by name, since the links are to subscriptions in Feedspot rather than actually to the blog. Still, it’s good to potentially find some new sources.
Free and freemium tools
Tool for creating live polls, Q&A etc. during meetings. The free account would be enough for many events. h/t Matt Pierce (who used it in a recent session)
Need to securely send a password or other sensitive information? This site lets you create a secret link that can only be used once, and then disappears.
A no code tool for building web apps and interactive surveys. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks like you could use this for building branching scenarios. In the info for educators, it says you can make CYOA lessons that adapt content and grade automatically. You can start with a free plan to try it out.
Julie Dirksen’s curated resources on systems thinking, including book recommendations and videos