10 Mistakes in Elearning Design: Objects Are Unaligned

Alignment! Alignment is often the sole difference between amateur and professional. Tiny misalignments quickly lend a feel of something being…off…about a design. Even if it’s only a pixel or two! But no worries, it’s an easy fix. PowerPoint, Storyline, and Captivate all have built-in tools to fix alignment of your objects.

This is the sixth post in my series, 10 Mistakes in Elearning Design.

Here’s what we’ve already covered:

If you read my last post about fonts, you know that I ended on a real cliffhanger! There was something still amiss about those slides even after I fixed the font choices. Did you guess what the issue was?

Mistake #6: Objects Are Unaligned

Let’s look at this closing slide from the last post. What do you see?

There’s an issue with alignment! Everything is just a little bit askew. It seems like the headings should be centered, but they’re all misaligned. Also, the Begin button with the boot seems out of place as well.

Let’s fix it. Take a look:

Better? Yes! The heading is all perfectly aligned, the photo is perfectly centered, and the word “Begin” along with the boot are placed in the bottom right corner, very tidily. The font size for the word “Begin” is also reduced, which makes it less of a focus on this slide.

The eye travels more smoothly now over the slide – starting at the top with the heading, then moving down over the photo to the Begin button, which didn’t need to be so heavily emphasized in the Original Design.

Let’s take a look at another example. Here’s the Menu slide that’s part of the same course. What do you think about its visual design?

Here are things I see: the menu buttons are unaligned, just by a few pixels, but it’s enough to be distracting.

The slide feels unbalanced visually. There’s a strange gap in the middle between the menu buttons and the photo. Additionally, the photo is misaligned with the menu button.

Let’s rectify those issues and take another look:

Ahhhhh! Feels balanced now, right? The buttons are aligned with each other, but also redistributed to match top and bottom alignment with the photo. Both the menu buttons and the photo now have the same weight as well. They are evenly balanced on the slide. This is a much more pleasing visual design.


Use these tools in Storyline, Captivate, and PowerPoint:

  • Tool: Arrange/Align
    • Align objects with each other
  • Tool: Distribute Vertically/Horizontally
    • Space objects perfectly

You just select all of the items you want aligned, then right-click or visit the design tab to find the arrange/align options. It’s so easy!

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