During the three years I was with Cerner, I worked on many projects. These are some examples of computer based training (CBT) modules that I worked on. The Visual Explorer (VE) CBT was designed to orient users unfamiliar with the Cerner database tool, Visual Explorer. The Web Based Training tool is a complex simulation tool that allows users to run Cerner applications over the web in a protective shell, with full application controls but with complete CBT support. The Millennium overview was designed as a simple web based tutorial, easy to distribute and maintain. On all three projects I directed the visual design and produced the individual pieces neccessary for production. I worked on a team with instructional designers, developers, content experts, and of course project managers.
Cerner projects
Visual Explorer is a software product that enables users to access and manipulate a hospital’s database in order to manage records and maintain the system. Initially, Visual Explorer (VE) training required thousands of end users to come to Kansas City each year for one week classes with the engineers and developers who built the program. In order to save clients and Cerner valuable time and money, CVU created a CBT, or computer-based training program, that enabled users to learn VE from their workstations.

The VE CBT had a huge charter to accomplish its goal of replacing the on-site training in a meaningful and enagaging fashion. Instructional designers defined the training course and estimated that the CBT would take nine hours for the user to complete. The typical VE user was a hospital technician who might not be highly trained or experienced with computers. To help prevent fatigue and frustration, the designers requested that the interface be interesting, visually light, and easy to look at.

I created animations to provide technical narrative and visual explanations of the concepts required to understand Visual Explorer. As you can see from the course map above, I created over 30 animations for VE in a two-month window. I was responsible for managing the animation process, which included getting the script created and defining the animation, recording and editing the audio, animating, and managing the approval process for the animations.

The typical VE CBT user had a lot to look at and comprehend. The design required that I incorporate many tools into the CBT, but I also had to keep the interface light and non-challenging. To accomplish this goal, I used easy, cool colors and included a lot of open white space. I also kept my graphic elements to a minimum. When I did have to use graphic elements, I tried to give them a personality so they would be fun and engaging to the user.

This web-based training (WBT) product, developed in the winter of 2001, teaches PowerChart, one of Cerner’s products. The WBT’s design had strict technical requirements that heavily guided its graphic design and usability. This product was intended to simulate Cerner software by actually tying in to the databases and providing a representation of the actual integrated applications over the Internet through a Web browser.

Because it was to be web based, the design had to be minimal and clean. It also had to be fairly economical and simple so that it would fit comfortably on a busy desktop. This project was designed to be merged with an xml based interface, so the graphics were designed to lend themselves visually and technically to this transition.

The other main design goal was to maintain a simple approach that used limited and comfortable colors. This helped reduce users’ frustration and improve their overall experience.

Millennium Overview is the Cerner suite of products for hospitals. One of the company’s greatest challenges is hiring employees and getting them acquainted with the product lines so that they can become productive quickly. As with the VE training, Cerner wanted to keep travel and training costs to a minimum. This web-based training (WBT) product is designed to be accessible to Cerner clients and associates all over the world at the click of a mouse.

The Millennium Overview needed a look similar to other CVU training products, and it had to be easy to use and engaging for the user. It was also web based, which meant it was designed to work on a variety of platforms and environments.

The design for Millennium Overview also required animationed instruction, although not as often as the VE CBT. However, the Millennium Overview animations presented a new challenge: they needed to be small enough to be web based, but they still needed to maintain an acceptable level of quality.