Library Instruction West 2020
Seattle, Washington
July 22-24
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Thursday, July 23 • 11:00am - 12:15pm
Usable Instructional Materials are Inclusive Instructional Materials: Using Gestalt Principles and Plain Language to Create Effective Teaching Tools

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Instruction Librarians frequently design teaching materials for students, faculty, staff, and colleagues. For these materials to be readable and accessible, they must contain accurate information and should follow guidelines for usable document design. Good design makes documents easier to use, helps documents stand out from other pieces of information, and lends credibility to document creators. 

A few simple tips, such as following Gestalt principles and using plain language, can improve document usability. Keeping the needs of people with visual, motor, and cognitive impairments in mind when creating a document can improve usability for all users and is a more efficient use of time than making retroactive changes to documentation to make them ADA compliant. 

The presenters will demonstrate how adhering to these and other guidelines will improve accessibility and functionality of library research aids. They will also direct attendees to resources to help librarians create usable instructional materials. Workshop attendees will apply knowledge learned through an interactive “document redesign” activity using their own or example library instruction materials. 

The purpose of the document design activity is to model the redesign process. We will divide participants into small groups. We will ask each group to redesign a document in accordance with the principles discussed in the presentation, using colored markers and large pieces of sticky paper. After attendees have engaged in this activity in their small groups, we will ask them to engage in large group discussion about how they would improve the existing documentation and why they made those choices. 

avatar for Jenny Turner

Jenny Turner

Instructional Services Librarian / Department Chair / Associate Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Jenny (she/her/hers) is Library Services Department Chair, Instructional Services Librarian, and Associate Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
avatar for Jessica Schomberg

Jessica Schomberg

Media Cataloger/Assessment Coordinator, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Thursday July 23, 2020 11:00am - 12:15pm AST
MGH 295 (Seats 35)

Attendees (7)