This post is the second in a short series of comprehensive guides to creating top-quality content, sure to impress our Glogpedia editors as well as your classes, family and colleagues. To gather some top tips on choosing the right content, check out last week’s post!
All too often great information is obscured by poor arrangement – if a resource doesn’t grab the attention, or loses it before it gets to the heart of the message, what value do the thrilling facts within it have? When we think about layout, we must appreciate that eyes and brains are pretty lazy sometimes. Anything that causes a reader extra effort will make them less likely to engage with the facts at hand. That’s why we need to arrange information in a way that catches the eye and holds it there, guiding viewers gently and enjoyably through the facts they need to arrive at the right conclusion.
Finding the right layout for your glog all comes back to storytelling. Whatever you have to say can be seen as a story – even a maths equation can be seen as a conflict that finds a resolution. Your glog needs to reflect the shape of your story, whether that be a beginning, a middle and an end, or a central point with various directions stemming from it. Flow charts, mind maps and infographics are all great inspiration for alternative layouts that guide readers through a succession of ideas without any room for confusion.
Glogster’s library of graphics includes a variety of useful thematic arrows, lines and thought bubbles to help you connect elements in an appropriate order. Bear in mind that most Western readers will be used to scanning pages from left-to-right and top-to-bottom, so while it’s great to have the freedom of a blank canvas, it may still be wise to give your glog a format that the eye can naturally follow, without having to pause and work out where to start reading!
One of the most common reasons that readers stop engaging with a resource is that they lose focus. This isn’t always a problem with the reader’s concentration – it has a lot to do with the way that media and information are presented. Make sure that your glog avoids this pitfall by putting some thought into what you want your readers to see first. Is it an introductory video? A series of images representing the glog’s main themes? Perhaps it’s a title that will arouse curiosity or a question to get viewers thinking. Whatever you decide on, ensure that your glog has one or two primary focal points that are relevant and engaging to the piece as a whole.
With the canvas freedom of Glogster, it is always tempting to fill the page with as many exciting pieces of media as possible, creating a sort of collage of ideas and images. However, without a focal point viewers may feel overloaded by information and be less likely to put the effort in to draw the central theme out. You can emphasise your focal point by positioning it strategically on the page – in the very center, or on the top left – or by adjusting the space and sizing of elements to give certain points precedence.
Space and Sizing
While it’s important to fill the page and not leave any area obviously ‘blank’, including too many small elements simply to fill space can become a visual irritation. We love using graphics from the extensive library to add character to a glog, but including too many can distract readers rather than engaging them. The same applies to animated elements, which often draw the eye away from written information and make it hard to focus anywhere else on the page. Some fantastic glogs use negative space to their advantage, using a thematic or photographic background as the basis for the arrangement of the rest of their elements.
On a related note, overlapping elements can create a fantastic ‘scrapbook’ look, but be careful that this is done self-consciously, as obscured text or dissected graphics can appear sloppy unless done for a particular effect.
Sizing is the most obvious way to rank the importance of elements – a large video framed by a player graphic suggests that it is integral to an understanding of the glog, whereas a small video thumbnail implies that it is an interesting aside. However, videos that are too small are near-impossible to watch, and will often be overlooked. In comparison, you can take advantage of Glogster’s zoom function to include multiple small photographs which can be examined in closer detail upon clicking.
We hope that you’ve gleaned some useful ideas from this series so far, and that you’re excited to try them out in a glog. Now that you’ve decided what you want to say and how you’re going to present it, the best is yet to come – tune in next week for some discussion of the final touches that make all the difference, and turn you from an educator into a designer!