What Is a Responsive Authoring Tool, and Why Do You Need One?

In the first two parts of this series, we explored some of the key qualities of a stellar eLearning authoring tool, as well as a few tips on reaching your learners effectively.

Let’s complete the trilogy by examining a key issue that will make your content look great for your learners, no matter what device they’re using: responsive design.

The varying degrees of responsive authoring

While many modern eLearning authoring tools promise to provide a seamless learner experience on any device, that pledge often falls short when it comes to showtime.

In reality, the huge variety of authoring tool solutions land on all points of the scale, from fully responsive to no responsive capabilities at all.

So what do we mean when we talk about authoring tools being responsive, and why should this functionality matter to you?

Let’s take a look at the definition of the term, how to assess whether a tool is truly responsive, and what that means for your eLearning.

The pitfalls of non-responsive design

A non-responsive webpage can be a nightmare to navigate. In the early days of the internet, when website design was relatively primitive, it was more commonplace to encounter pages that looked clunky on different types of screens and browsers.

The text on these pages was often so tiny that comfortable reading required superhuman eyesight or a lot of zooming in. And although web design has improved, more issues around responsive design have come into play as the number of devices available to learners has rapidly expanded in recent years.

For example, some authoring tools only support content that is responsive on one or two types of screens. Your courses might look good on desktops and tablets, for example, but lack any provision for smartphone screens.

Even on the screens your authoring tool does support, your course responsiveness might be limited to merely providing exactly the same layout on very different screen sizes.

For the learner, having the same interface on a smaller screen leads to an extremely poor learning experience—not something any learning designer or L&D professional wants to hear when targeting high learner engagement.

How a responsive authoring tool solves your design worries

The easiest way to skip the hassle of creating multiple different versions of courses for different devices is through responsive design.

Working on any device and platform, a responsive authoring tool detects the screen and browser window size, automatically adjusting the display so that the content fits perfectly.

This saves you hours of time designing and testing courses on different devices, screen sizes, and orientations.

With the right authoring tool, your content will fill any screen in landscape or portrait mode, ensuring that text, images, icons, buttons, and other assets around each page are user-friendly. To discover how this functionality actually works, click here.

Display conditions should also let you create device-specific content. For example, it should be easy for you to specify that a detailed technical image should be replaced by a simpler image when it displays on a smaller screen.

If you want peace of mind that your training will look perfect on any device, choose an authoring tool that allows your team to test courses on different devices and orientations inside a web browser.

How important is a responsive authoring tool for your business?

The question of whether you need a responsive authoring tool hinges on the importance of mobile-friendly learning to your organization.

Given the proliferation in smartphone ownership (mobile-only users now outnumber desktop-only users, according to Google), it’s no surprise that the provision of mobile learning has become a top priority among high-performing organizations.

Being able to access virtual classrooms and video-based learning, to name two examples, can be invaluable to learners when they’re on the go.

In particular, employees who work outside of a traditional office setting for any period of time, such as remote sales professionals, need to be able to access learning resources on mobile devices.

For extended enterprises, learners are not just direct employees—your network might encompass retailers, resellers, customers, and a broad range of partners.

Accounting for the variety of different devices, browsers, and platforms these learners will want to use to consume your content is almost impossible, but a responsive authoring tool allows you to plan for almost any device type.

Responsive design improves learner engagement

Multi-device learning has evolved from a nice-to-have trend to an integral, everyday part of successful businesses. The challenge now is ensuring that the content learners receive is engaging.

The appetite for multi-device learning clearly exists: in one study, seven out of 10 learners said their motivation to learn improved when they were able to successfully navigate courses on mobile devices. A fully responsive authoring tool is absolutely key to ensuring that happens.

To learn how gomo's responsive authoring tool can ensure your learning content looks great on any device, no matter the screen size, contact us today.

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