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Monday, April 09, 2007

Making Content on Small Devices Look Great

Life has been quite busy lately, other than some major development projects, we are piloting a program to send quality tips to cell phones of reps in various types of call centers.
Sadly, this has meant neglecting my writing. Yesterday, I found a great article on the Opera Developer's Forum about making the best use of a mobile device's screen.

Making Small Devices Look Great

Snip:   In this article "device" means a small, mobile unit such as a smart phone or PDA. The rules for designing for small devices are mostly the same as the rules for good design in general, but some factors are particularly important. 

  • Low bandwidth
  • Browsing without graphics
  • The Device Screen
  • Limited Input Capability
  • The Processor, Memory and Storage
  • Mobility


I'll look at each of these challenges in subsiquent articles, however, it seems that the biggest roadblock a developer must overcome is the desire to reproduce eLearning content on a mobile device.  This is the wrong approach.

Instead, we should ask ourselves:
  • How does our audience use their mobile devices on the job?
  • What information does our audience need while mobile?
  • What is the best way to deliver that information to our audience?
  • How do we get 'buy in' and recurring use of mobile content?

When we look at content as something that is beneficial to use on the device versus simply changing traditional eLearning to fit on a mobile device, we will find that it is actually usable and accepted.

A perfect example of this is a quality program I am piloting right now for mobile devices. I could have easily developed a CBT that would fit on a mobile device, or even created a 'quality' podcast, but that wouldn't fit in with how our audience uses their phone.

Instead, this group needs small, bite sized chunks of data. A simple, daily text message with a quality tip actually has more impact for this audience than a more complex solution. 100-200 characters of information also requires that you think about what is the most important, sticky point you can make. This is a challenge for someone like myself who is often too wordy.

Reference: Create Rapid and Cheap Mobile Learning- Text Messaging

2 comments:

Jonathan Nalder said...

Hi Michael - great to see your 'mobile-first' emphasis - I see the need for the same thinking in mLearning's use in schools where I find we have to constantly be adapting to to make things fit mobile devices.
I found your blog because I also use feedblitz for subscribers to the blogger version of my blog (mlearnxyz.net). Keep it up! I'll be subscribing. jonathan

Sue Waters said...

I agree Matthew. To often I see organisations try to make e-learning content fit mobile devices. The emphasis should be on what device, why use it and how it will be used. Once you have made these decisions you can work out the how of the content (Mobile technology in TAFE wiki).