We have been talking to a lot of prospects and clients that have current training materials created in PowerPoint, or in Flash, or PDFs. The content is rich, conveys the intent and then….then it is static and doesn’t enable user engagement and interaction.
There is definitely a felt need for delivering content to the workforce on their own devices at any given time. This is a collaborative dance that needs to happen between the various platforms, the multimedia, the interactivities, the various types of hardware – read devices ..all this to deliver the right content to the right employment the right way.
So how do you optimize the production and delivery of the content to each device in your organization? How do we ensure very interactivity works? How do you ensure that the content is media rich, engaging and still reaches your employee wherever she or he maybe?
The answer comprises 5 parts
Note that Point 1 and 5 are the same, except that creation at the end happens based on feedback received.
1.Creation of Content
Design defines Content. There could be many variations or conflict here. But the course needs to be created with the understanding that the screen of the user is going to be of multiple sizes and that you cannot force fit a desktop course into a mobile one. So, prepare yourself for additional Instructional design and creative work .
Become better writers. Better editors. Cut down verbiage. Get more visual imagery in the small screen. What about the interactivity? Will there be enough space?
In short – think small !
There is no other way. We still see courses with a ton of words that are crammed into a 6-inch screen. This is more of a disservice to your users.
Migration of Legacy content
Many companies have used proprietary tools or have created courses using various authoring tools like Flash – or Articulate, captivate and such. These make the courses difficult to reuse and repackage and unfit for mobile delivery.
Standardize your mobile delivery tool to HTML5. It is easy to look at short-term gains to push out a course using a less expensive or template tool. Resist that urge.
Content needs to be rewritten or redesigned, edited or suitably broken up. So that what fit into a 15 inch or a 20-inch monitor can now fit into a 6-inch phone screen.
So, now if the written content has been redone, what about the visuals? How do you shrink? Is it relevant? Should it be resized?
Do it once. Do it right. The one-time investment in converting legacy content assets to HTML5 ensures that content to virtually all current and future mobile platforms and browsers.
Caution: If you have content in languages in characters : Far Eastern languages like Japanese or Korean or even some languages like Turkish – allow for the rendering and extra time to get the UI right. HTML5 is powerful. But it is not a magic wand.
Avoid Proprietary tools or specific authoring tools that lock you in. Interoperability between proprietary software applications and proprietary hardware platforms is often significantly difficult. Proprietary tools also impose restrictions and limitations that throttle your ability to progress or scale your courses.
Decide on HTML5 as a standard – that could guarantee you independence from device and software restrictions while Future-proofing releases and offerings.
Do a Pilot. Before a complete roll-out. This will enable course-correction. We would recommend the pilot straddle all browsers and platforms.
It does not matter if just a paltry percentage of your stakeholders use a mobile device to access your content.
Adopt HTML5. It needs to have a Responsive Web Design – which means the Create once – Adapt to many screens.
A responsive design enables auto-adaptation to different screen sizes for an optimal viewing experience – across browser, platform or device. It reduces panning, scrolling and resizing.
Though it might mean additional work for the IT organization – you may need to decide if you want 2 versions of your website – one for your larger screens and one for the smaller devices. For eg: the larger screen desktop version may have inbuilt pdfs and whitepapers and more content.
4. Feedback & 5. Creation
Your stakeholders will respond to your mobile content. Be prepared to listen. Brickbats or bouquets. They may need time to get adjusted to take quizzes on their device. This may necessitate a constantly evolving situation of design adjustments. Maybe color corrections. Or Minor modifications.
Allow for this.
Most companies are sitting on a goldmine of existing content assets. Technical user manuals, Support knowledge bases, bulletins, training materials hold value to your employees and to your clients. These are revenue generation products that idle.
You will need a Unified Content-driven strategy – development through delivery – to create a library of content – consistent across internal departments that can be harmonized for further value creation.
So, go ahead and implement a unified mobile content strategy.
The secret to getting it done is to get it started!