Breaking News! Digital Magazine Format Great for Elearning

Welcome to the first issue of “The Environment” Pinched Head’s new digital magazine – just kidding – this isn’t a magazine it’s an idea for an elearning module. Built in Articulate Storyline of course! When you think about it, digital magazines and elearning have a lot in common. They both rely heavily on text and graphics, with judicious use of audio and video, to get their message across – they have some type of menu or contents list, and navigation elements to allow viewers to move through the material.

You can launch the demo by clicking the image above.

The Design

I took my design inspiration from Net-A-Porter’s online magazine but applied it to an issue that is important to me. One thing I really like about Net-A-Porter is that you can click to buy almost everything featured in their pages. Just for fun, I used layers and variables in Storyline to incorporate this idea into my magazine. Online shopping may not be a natural fit for elearning but, who knows, there might be some application in which this makes sense – I know I’d be more engaged if I could shop as I learned.


Navigation in digital magazines should be readily available and non-intrusive so that it’s accessible when needed but doesn’t detract from the content design. In my version, I placed the navigation panel on a layer in the slide master so that when opened it would sit on top of the content. I made the panel semi-transparent so that the content would still show through. If you try the demo you’ll notice the navigation panel opens when you place your mouse (or finger on an iPad or Android device) along the bottom of the screen. To achieve this effect, I created a second layer on the slide master with an invisible shape that acts as a button to launch the navigation panel.



Because text is such an important element in magazine design, I took special effort to make my text pop. I used one font throughout – Google Fonts Droid Sans – but played around with the character spacing making some text spacing tight and some loose for emphasis. This is a new feature in Storyline 2 that came with the revamped text editor and it worked really well here. The choice of font is also a key consideration – I used Droid Sans because it has a clean, modern appeal and was designed to be comfortable for reading on mobile devices and on websites.

I’ll leave you with one last design trick. I used the color picker in Storyline to select the colour of the text from the main image on each page. This little trick helps create a cohesive look to the page.

So what do you think? Would a magazine design work for your next course?


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