Delivering in a multi-device world… 1

Just a quick post – but needing to air the thoughts on “multi-device” delivery.

In the past 24 months, it’s become the main selling point of any of the rapid development tools, but there seem to have been a number of methodologies which have emerged. Firstly it started with the likes of Captivate and Storyline, which both said they were mobile device friendly (which when you read between the lines means they will support an HTML5 output – but oddly, Captivate HTML5 output will only work on Android devices, whereas Storyline HTML5 output will only work on iOS devices – how does that even work? Surely HTML5 should be a web standard which works on any device!)

However, the key point of these was that they all output a file of a fixed dimension – and actually all it did was scale it to the device you were viewing it on (e.g. made the piece of e-learning you had designed to run on a 1024×768 pixel monitor appear really small on an iPhone). Anyway – this was all well and good (at least if you opened it on a iPad, rather than an iPhone) – however the learner experience became worse the smaller the screen was.

Moving on from there, we’ve now had the emergence of the “multi-device authoring tools” – which primarily seem to feature a reduced set of functionality, instead focusing on the output adapting to the device you are viewing it on. This is clearly a step forward (in that the learner experience becomes better, although it is at the compromise of some of the functionality)…however it reminded me of a tweet I had seen previously:

My issue is that, as someone who has worked as a designer in many guises, the previous methodology always used to be to reduce the amount of content on screen (“no-one likes a scroll of death” still rings through my ears), however the concept has now gone full circle. As people now use touch devices, it’s acceptable for them to need to scroll through lots of content.

So I leave this post with the question – is it acceptable to scroll through learning if you’re on a PC (desktop)? Or should our content from these “multi-device authoring tools” be outputting in two different ways – allowing reduced scrolling (and probably increased clicking) on a desktop, yet more scroll on a mobile device? Or does it even matter now-a-days?

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