We all know that educational materials are a great way to engage a readership and address the problems being faced by your market.
What fewer businesses realize is that educational materials are the perfect way to improve your business image and enhance your audience’s perceptions of your brand.
Why Offer Education?
The Internet offers us unlimited choice; consumers will never just “take your word for it” when purchasing online. Buyers are willing to shop around until they find the best combination of value and quality. But when quality and price are in close contention between two brands, buyers are becoming more reliant on how a brand portrays itself when making the final purchasing decision. Brands that broadcast authority and confidence generally get the most business and receive the best returns on their marketing efforts.
But knowing how to project this authority is key. It’s not easy to build trust with an audience. Many businesses find that establishing themselves as industry thought-leaders who have the knowledge and experience to solve consumer problems to be the best solution. This strategy involves solving consumer pain points by providing educational content that supports the growth of a market. This can include product training tips, new initiatives coming down the corporate funnel, skills training for new strategies, or even general how-to’s about basic information.
Web design for educational materials follows many of the same design best practices that we’ve talked about before. However, the type of educational content you display can end up making or breaking your outreach. The success of educational content depends on how engaging you can make it for your audience.
Choosing a Style
Everyone learns in different ways. Some are visual learners who respond well to imagery, charts, and graphs. Others are auditory learners who can’t internalize something without hearing it spoken aloud. Some learners are kinesthetic, or hands-on, and need actual practice with the exercise in question before they’ll remember the steps.
Your web design should accommodate this range of needs by offering education materials in a variety of formats.
- Offer text descriptions for those who like to read.
- Use examples and practice problems to reinforce the steps in the minds of hands-on learners.
- Utilize video and audio when possible to meet the needs of visual and auditory learners.
And, as always, make sure your web design best practices are enforced. Don’t overload the screen with too much material for your students to take in. Balance text and white space. Strategically lay out your content to emphasize the key concepts of each lesson by manipulating font size and colors.
The type of educational materials to offer your audience will depend on what content your market is interested in.
- Video: Videos have high rates of audience engagement and are the ideal option for learners who take in information best through audio and visual cues. Videos can also help make connections for learners who can’t read a language but can understand it.
- PowerPoint: A Microsoft classic, PowerPoint presentations can be highly effective at relaying essential information in digestible ways. The slideshow nature of PowerPoint lets presenters offer critical data in the text while offering supplementary information through speech. This style of outreach targets learners who retain information best through reading.
- Online Quizzes/Tests: What better way to test the knowledge of your audience than a light-hearted quiz on the material? Many of us don’t realize we know something until we’re specifically asked about it—online testing materials can help reinforce concepts in users’ minds and provide feedback about what areas they may be falling short.
- Third-Party Resources: Rather than shouldering the burden of creating all educational materials, many businesses have found success by linking to third-party educational resources, such as informational content on YouTube or data-backed research articles on sites like PubMed. Outside materials can ease the burden of content creation on businesses and help bridge the gap between the knowledge your brand offers and high-level concepts.
The education process is straightforward but relies on your market picking up and internalizing your information. If your market doesn’t learn, it doesn’t matter how effective or diverse your education materials are—you are doing something wrong.
Regular feedback is the piece that ties education web design together. Make sure you’re easily accessible. Listen to your market, and review engagement across each of your different educational materials. Some might generate real discussion, while others gather dust. Refine your content over time to focus on the materials your market wants to see. When you have a fine-tuned website that offers a wealth of content to educate your audience, more visitors and more authority won’t be far behind.