The principles for increasing the usability of educational content

UDC 004
Publication date: 04.08.2017
International Journal of Professional Science № 4-2017

The principles for increasing the usability of educational content

Ryabkov A.V.
graduate student
Don State Technical University,
faculty of «Informatics and Computer Science»
Abstract: In the article typical errors of educational content placement on the site of the educational institution are considered and principles of increasing the usability of the educational content that forms the basis of modern e-learning are formulated.

Keywords: usability, educational content, electronic training

The term usability is estimated from the point of view of its user-friendliness.

Educational content on the site of the educational institution forms the basis of e-learning, which has many advantages over traditional, classroom instruction [1]. The usability of educational content is characterized by the convenience of searching and understanding the educational material on the site.

Consider the most typical errors in the placement of educational content on the site of an educational institution [2].

  1. The trainee does not have a direct entrance to the site section, in which he would see only the study materials intended for him. Instead, the student ends up in a «common heap», where he has to go through multiple referral links to find the necessary teaching materials.
  2. Slurred navigation, understandable except that the developers of the site, from the lack of a first-level menu and ending with the absence of a personal office menu. At the same time, there is no single page containing links to all training materials, which are often randomly scattered around the site. To get to the necessary educational material, the listener needs to repeatedly click through the links every time, and he often is deprived of the opportunity to quickly return to the original page.
  3. Lack of internal search for educational materials. On the site there is no internal search either, or it is not optimized for the needs of the student and gives out a lot of useless links.
  4. The lecture material is presented in one file or scattered into hundreds of files by structural units in the absence of a table of contents, from which it would be possible to click on the links to the desired section of the text (chapter, paragraph, point).
  5. All text materials have different fonts — from too small to too large, with the compilers of the texts overdoing with bright colors, using the entire palette. From this variety, it is dazzled in the eyes.
  6. Video materials, illustrative, graphic materials are either missing or presented in formats that require the installation of additional software.

Based on the identified problems in the interface of the educational organization, we formulate the basic principles of increasing the usability of educational content.

  1. A visitor to a training site who has received the status of a course participant should have a direct entry into the section of the site, the interface of which is no less than half of the menu, links, training materials intended only for him. The top-menu of the site, various other information, advertising and all that is not for the learning process, should not be in the center of attention of the trainee, that is, they should not be located in the center of the screen. It is very important that the personal cabinet contains its own menu, which would include links to:

— the main page of the personal cabinet,

— curriculum-program,

— a list of test questions,

— instructions for training, including templates of documents necessary for filling out,

— page for sending documents for examination by the curator and completion of training.

From the successful experience, we will highlight the site of the Academy of Training of Chief Specialists (, where the main page of the personal cabinet has a direct entrance and contains:

— the most important instructions-hints that allow a person, who first appeared in his personal office, to clearly understand their further actions,

— start and end dates of training,

— links to the page with training materials and a test page.

At the same time, the page with educational materials contains links to all materials that are strictly sorted and presented in the form of an understandable table:

— in the lines — module number (curriculum section),

— in columns — types of educational materials: lectures, normative acts, reference documents, video, audio lectures, tasks for independent work.

  1. Navigation of the educational site should be implemented in an extremely simple way, especially in the personal cabinet — there should be nothing superfluous in it. It is important to avoid a variety of colors and use, as a rule: white background, black font, blue links, purple viewed links. In rare cases, use a fifth color, for example, red, to attract the attention of the listener to some important details.
  2. The organization of an effective internal search is based on the following principles:

— the form of internal search should be on all pages of the site, as an option, be located between the top menu and the main menu of the personal cabinet,

— the length of this form must be at least 25 characters,

— search in your account should only be based on educational materials.

  1. Lecture material is not properly placed in one file — it’s very inconvenient for reading purposes because each time the reader has to spend a lot of time scrolling an electronic document in search of the right page. Optimal splitting of lecture material, given the experience of e-learning contract managers [3], in paragraphs. In doing so, try to ensure that the total number of paragraphs does not exceed 50 pieces — this number corresponds, for example, to 5 paragraphs in 10 modules.
  2. All text materials must have a single main font of at least 12 pt. Thus headings can have a font on 2-4 pt more basic, and tables and figures — on 2-4 pt it is less than the basic.
  3. A full-fledged e-learning system should include video materials, as well as a variety of illustrative, graphical materials presented in the most widely available formats that do not require the installation of additional software.


1. Golodok D.A., Alekseev V.M. Advantages of distance learning // Innovative science. 2016. No. 11-2. Pp. 168-169.
2. Alekseeva M.S., Ilchenko S.V. Typical errors in the use of information technology in distance learning contract managers // Modern technology and technology. 2016. No. 7 (59). Pp. 46-48.
3. Alekseev V.M., Ilchenko S.V. Features of modern distance learning contract managers // Actual problems of humanities and natural sciences. 2016. No. 9-1. Pp. 168-171.