Why Responsive Design?

By Coline Son Lee

Remember back in the early days of mobile devices, particularly the iPhone, when displaying websites on such small screens was a real challenge? To address this, Web developers decided that building mobile sites was the answer. These mobile sites got the job done by making bigger pictures and using fewer words; but they frustrated the user with a diminished browsing experience.

As time went on, this option became less and less ideal when the smartphone’s bigger cousins — tablets — came on the scene. And to add further complexity, these tablets started showing up in different screen sizes and resolutions. Something better had to be done with the changing landscape of mobile devices. So in came “responsive design.” Simply put, responsive design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.

Why is this responsive design important to e-learning and why should you care? Are you reading this article on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone? If you answer yes, then that’s exactly why. Our audience, the consumers of our e-learning, will more than likely be consuming content on various devices with various screen sizes and resolutions. And this is why “responsive, responsive, responsive” must be a big consideration when planning our e-learning projects.

Creating e-learning is not just about the mechanics of importing a classroom slide presentation into [a design tool] and publishing it for mobile. You must consider how your learners will access and consume the content, how much time they can spare on learning, and what they need to get out of the training. Your responsibility as a developer is to consider these needs when presenting the content, and there is no tool out there that will do that for you. Once you take care of these things, you can move forward with creating your e-learning course.

Adobe took on the challenge of making its tool more “mobile friendly.” Following Captivate 8’s release, the spotlight has intentionally been placed on highlighting its new features that answer to mobile learning development needs. And this is the real “tipping point.” With BYOD (bring your own device), mobile usage and tablet ownership increasing each year and desktop usage decreasing, organizations are finally realizing they can no longer ignore “mobile” as a means to deliver training. Adobe recognized the implications of this trend and gave users the power to create and deliver content for any device without forcing them to learn complex code such as JQuery and HTML5. Captivate 8 does all the coding necessary to take your content and make it adaptive and responsive to any mobile device.

Getting started in Captivate 8 is easier than ever because included in the opening splash page, off to the right is access to new user goodies. Clicking on the monitor icon gives the user access to in-product projects to get you up and running quickly. Need more help? Scrolling down will reveal tutorials on features and functionalities of Captivate.

If you are new to Adobe Captivate, or still in the decisionmaking stage as to what tool to move forward with, you can’t go wrong with Captivate 8. But, as a side note, once you develop a certain proficiency with the tool, I encourage you to become familiar with other e-learning development tools. Most advanced e-learning developers have, over the years, built up expertise in several of these tools.

—This article adapted from the official Adobe Captivate blog. The author is principal and learning strategist at Everest Consolidated Schools, Orange County, Calif

Leave a reply