The RDEISE logo (a circle of hands of different skin tones all holding each other), surrounded by illustrations of a gaming console, a video camera, a mobile phone, a computer monitor with a play button displayed on the screen, and a roll of camera film. The illustrations are connected to each other by dotted lines, creating the impression of a mind map or a set of linked ideas.

Meet the RDEISE Motion Design Team

The Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Science (RDEISE) project is live! The first cluster, “Racism as a Public Health Crisis,” began rolling out late 2023. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified as additional pathways are released in the coming months.

Since announcing the RDEISE project, we’ve introduced you to many of the creative and skilled professionals working behind the scenes to bring RDEISE content to your classroom. 

This month, we’re speaking to the RDEISE motion designers, who are key to the creation of animated videos and interactive content. In addition to their motion design and animation expertise, the team have combined experience in and passion for graphic design, illustration, desktop publishing, video editing, and more. 

RDEISE motion design lead Sharon Voges and Chelsea Hendricks tell us more about what goes into creating accessible animated learning content and share their advice for aspiring motion designers.

Tell us about your role in RDEISE and what it entails.

Sharon: As the motion lead for RDEISE, my role involves creating animations, adding text and functionality to interactive content using our internal software, and coordinating and aligning collaboratively with other teams. Additionally, I assist with the quality assurance of animations, storyboards, and graphics.

How does your work on the RDEISE project differ from your work on other LabXchange content?

Chelsea: RDEISE contains more character-heavy projects than other work I've done for LabXchange, where there'd be molecules, bacteria, viruses, etc., to animate—generally not as much character animation.

Sharon: The content is more focused on the racial and social aspects of being human, whereas LabXchange's usual content is science-related. So, animation-wise, we go to work on our character animations a bit more and explore how to show human emotions with motion graphics.

A photograph of Chelsea Hendricks, a RDEISE motion designer. She is a South African Coloured woman with very short black hair. She has a cheerful smile, and is wearing a gray shirt and small silver earrings. A block quote reads: “Animated learning content is a great marriage: it provides entertainment, interaction, and education all in one.

At LabXchange, we’re committed to creating accessible learning content. What does accessibility mean from a motion design perspective? 

Chelsea: Ensuring accessibility goes hand-in-hand with input from the graphic design and writing departments. Graphics received for animation have already been checked to make sure they’re friendly for those affected by color blindness. Alternative text is created by the writing department for screen reader users such as people with visual impairments.

In the motion department, fast flashing lights are not to be implemented in our animations as they could negatively affect those who have reactions to certain visual stimuli, and closed captions in videos are included to support people with hearing impairments.

Sharon: The timing rules for interactives are slightly different from normal animations because you use your mouse to control the video. Therefore, we need to ensure that you don't have to scroll too much to reach the next scene, and we also don't want it to progress too quickly. We are also limited in the tools we can use in Adobe After Effects, because different browsers render JSONs (the format of interactive videos) differently.

Tell us about a RDEISE animation or interactive that you’ve especially enjoyed or appreciated working on. 

Chelsea: The Evolution of Human Hair challenged me technically in ways I haven't been challenged before and definitely humbled me.

Sharon: I really enjoyed working on the interactive What are Environmental Determinants of Health?. I'm proud of how the tornado turned out, and there were some other technical challenges I had to overcome.

A photograph of Sharon Voges, a RDEISE motion designer. She is a white woman with long, wavy blonde hair. She has a friendly smile, and is wearing a black shirt. A block quote reads: “Never be afraid to start pursuing motion design. I have seen people from various backgrounds and ages begin motion design and fall in love with it

What value does animated learning content provide for learners and educators? 

Chelsea: Animated learning content is a great marriage: it provides entertainment, interaction, and education all in one.

Sharon: I believe that animated learning content is an incredible tool to engage visual learners and is also an enjoyable way to consume new information, even for individuals who are not visual learners.

What advice do you have for people considering a career in motion design?

Chelsea: It's good to stay up to date on current trends in animation/motion design because there's always a more efficient way to do something. Keep an open mind to continuous learning and make time to practice and hone your craft.

Sharon: Never be afraid to start pursuing motion design. I have seen people from various backgrounds and ages begin motion design and fall in love with it. YouTube tutorials are an excellent way to get started and acquire a lot of knowledge. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback.

Learn more about inclusive language, meet the RDEISE learning designers, find out about accessibility from our head UX/UI designer and a developer from our tech team, or catch up with RDEISE content development fellows and research consultants. 

Responses have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Written by
LabXchange RDEISE team

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