hilary short

is a graphic designer and writer.

human-centered design for e-learning

When I was first tasked with applying my graphic design skills to e-learning modules, I intuitively discovered UIUX, and uncovered its deep link to education with the goal of culture change. Especially true due to the content of the e-learning modules I was tackling, diversity education topics subject to culture wars, was that success means iteration, collaboration, and a prototype.
    There is a traditional model that is implemented for e-learning modules that is restrictive: content is written, and then there are no questions, no feedback loops, and no collaboration. It simply gets developed. My design approach however, has always been driven by a deep curiosity and need to identify and articulate various approaches (the why, the how, the what if). I like to ask questions that have sticky answers.
    I do believe that if culture change is inherently innovative, then an innovative approach is needed. Innovation is hard to do alone. Because of both my background in sociology (B.A., ‘09) and my more recent practice in design criticism (M.A., ‘22) I have a unique capacity to extend myself between research topics, writing, and the visual world. There are always socio-cultural implications that often go unnoticed, but my skill lies in noticing and articulating. When working with other visual designers, I like to promote sketching, lo-fi work, and ideation as the first step. When communicating with subject matter experts or stakeholders, I like to hold space for learning how to look at visuals, and an (eventual) prototype. 
    By the time something gets to production, I have found that a prototype is the only way to ensure the whole team is on the same page. In fact, I introduced prototyping to an e-learning development team as a way to help them work better with clients whose topics are more sensitive. In diversity work, we celebrate the collaborative and understand the need for buy-in. 
    Effective communication is my underlying strategy. I ask follow up questions. I talk out loud about things that I see (a habit from being in the classroom). When I hear feedback starting with “I’m not sure how to say this...” or “I don’t want to offend anymore...” that is a sign that a shared vision or goal has not yet been articulated. This is my zone: between the designers, understanding the strategy, and engaging with stakeholders/clients.
    I have often been told that I am very good at explaning things—both as a designer and as a strategist. Personal tendencies aside, I credit this with my incessant obsession with information. How do people know things? Why is that form the default expression of this information type? This has been the crux of my scholarship that has been a launch pad for my professional perspective. 

Click into each project to see style guides and subsequent work samples.