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Creating a Successful eLearning Platform

The global eLearning market has an estimated compound annual growth rate of approximately 25.2%. Back in 2012, the worldwide market for mobile learning products and services reached a total of $5.3 billion. The global eLearning market expects to reach $107 billion by 2016. With numbers like these, it's easy to see how profitable the eLearning market can be for thoughtful brands.

Wrecking Ball created Adobe Education Exchange, an education-based, eLearning community for the tech giant. The site features a large collection of educational resources to help instructors bring creativity into classrooms of all ages. Today it has gained a great deal of success with 55% of its members having participated in some sort of professional development activity. The Adobe Education Exchange's current catalog includes over 12,533 eLearning assets that have been viewed over 13.7 million times to date.

In this post, we will share with you key learnings from creating a successful, large-scale, eLearning platform.

Make search the star

By far the most critical feature of an eLearning platform is the ability to easily search through all available content. More than likely, you will have various courses/media/content in multiple categories. Without a good search feature, the site becomes cumbersome for a user looking to browse a website with lots of content. So having an easy and accessible search function is essential for the platform’s success.

edex02This is why Wrecking Ball gave Adobe's Education Exchange search top priority when redesigning the homepage. The old page's design had "search" positioned out of the way and was not nearly as intuitive. By styling the search as a sentence and adding additional functionality to make it easier for the user, we made it simple to drill down to the exact criteria needed for a more qualified and refined search.

Keep the design simple

Another key factor is design. The design of an eLearning platform needs to be simple. While the design of the platform is important, it is not meant to draw all of the user's attention. The real purpose however, is to make it easier for users to find, discover, and interact with all of platform's content.

edex03Wrecking Ball used a flat design style consisting of light grays, while blue's were used for links and buttons to draw the user's attention. Cards were used to display courses, programs, and discussions. While the core sections were consolidated onto the homepage as opposed to separating them into individual, bulky pages.

Make an eLearning Reward System

edex04Creating a reward system is an excellent way to keep users interested in your platform by acknowledging their work and overall platform engagement. A badge can be given for a variety of accomplishments including the completion of a course and various other platform activities. The user's badges live on their profile so other platform users can see their accomplishments. Seeing others receive rewards for their achievements encourages other users to become even more involved.

Wrecking Ball took the reward system further by adding the ability to earn points. With a point system, users are encouraged to continue to add relevant data to their public profile so they can earn more points. This is an excellent way to keep users engaged and their profiles up to date.

Create a community

Today, social media is by far the most popular way for everyone to interact on the Internet. As humans, we are drawn to interactive communities. Building an interactive community is an excellent strategy for increasing audience and the popularity of your eLearning platform.

The community created by Wrecking Ball for Adobe Education Exchange also shares interaction design elements from Facebook and Twitter. Users can choose to follow each other and follow educators. They can also customize their profiles to further establish their identity and discuss eLearning topics in the discussion area of the platform.

The Hard Truth About Website Speed

The time it takes for a page to load is an important part of any user experience. However there are times when you might choose to sacrifice load times in order to accommodate a better aesthetic design, new functionality or add more content to web pages. Unfortunately, website visitors care more about page loading times than an epic user experience. Also, website load times are becoming even more important when it comes to search engine rankings and mobile usage. Mobile visitors expect websites to load instantly, while using the slower speeds of mobile networks.


  • Nearly half of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less
  • Additionally, they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds
  • 79% of users who have trouble with performance say they won’t return
  • 44% of users would tell a friend if they had a poor experience

Site Analysis Tools

Are you interested in finding out how long it takes for your website to load? There are several free tools available. These tools report the number of requests, file sizes, and server response speed of your pages. Some even provide suggestions on how to improve your load times.

Ensuring fast load times

At Wrecking Ball, we go out of our way to ensure the platforms we build for our clients are optimized for fast load times. Our hosted content is delivered through Amazon’s high-speed AWS Cloud Hosting. Our CSS is optimized by the leading preprocessor, Sass. In the backend, such features as gzip compression and caching are enabled. Those are just some of our many practices for bringing down the loading time of our websites and applications.

Further reading

What makes the best app?

We are living in the age of mobile. Creating a mobile app is often necessary if a company wants to keep their name and services top of mind on today's mobile devices. As app users ourselves, we each have our own idea about what makes an app great. At Wrecking Ball, we have a lot of experience building awesome apps and we always ask the question - What are the characteristics that make a best-in-class app?

For Turner Studios, we created an interactive desktop publishing app. The app had attracted high ratings and waves of positive comments. You can learn more about it on Behance.

To understand more about what makes a great app, we polled our team of senior product managers, designers, and developers and came up with four areas to focus on for creating the best app possible.

Focus on one thing and do it well

The “less is more” principal weighs heavy in app design. A common mistake is to cram too many features into an app. Apps need to do one thing well. Those that focus on a simple concept have more of a chance to succeed.

Our app for Turner Studios focused on content delivery, showcasing their best work to stand out from their competition. With a simple navigation, you can browse featured content and videos.

Key Takeaway: Start with your core focus, execute it well, and earn the right to focus on additional features.

Know your audience

A great app is designed for its target audience. It understands its audience and caters to specific needs. It solves a problem that users struggle with on a regular basis that's unique to its target audience.

The essence of the idea needs to be unique to its audience. It talks to the specific needs of its users and either offers them something new that they didn’t know, something missed, or solves a problem that users struggle with on a regular basis.

Everyone knows about Turner Studios but their audience wanted to learn more about their amazing content. Our app made it easy to consume that content.

Key Takeaway: Research your audience and focus on meeting their specific needs.

Stability and speed are everything

Think about the main apps that you use every single day. They don’t crash, aren’t slow, and they do what you expect them to do. Great apps offer fast response times. In a matter of seconds, users can get in and out of the app and do what they were intended to do. These apps offer experiences like those of default apps put out by Apple and Google - they just work. We take this for granted. It’s not easy to get to that point. It takes patience and work to fine tune your app to reach this state.

Key Takeaway: Speed is a feature. Keep your scope tight to ensure your app is both stable and fast. Don't rush and always test for continuous improvement.

Keep it polished

Polish really helps separate an app. Focusing on the small details can help separate it from other apps and inspire both users and other app creators alike. Sprinkle a bit of design magic on it. Add something fun; anything that would make users smile.

Key Takeaway: The details matter. Animations, sound effects, interactions, and other little flourishes bring the app to life and make it impressive.


A great app is focused, intuitive, fast, and a pleasure to use. You should regularly explore apps featured on the app stores and those that receive awards from Apple and Google. By focusing on fulfilling the four criteria above, you'll have a greater chance at making the best app!

Further reading