Responsive Design - Is It Worth It?

While I have fooled around with responsive design, I haven't completed any real projects for my clients in responsive design; that is until now. At this point I can now speak from experience and say that responsive design is worth the effort.

First lets consider what that effort equates to. When I design responsive projects I need to prepare the same material anywhere from three to five different ways (depending on your needs). Obviously if you are designing training for a mobile workforce that all have the exact same iPad as one another, this will be much easier. The truth is that every person is different and while some of the devices might be shared across a large portion of your audience, one person may want to view your project on a smart phone, while another might only want to complete training at home on their PC or Mac. Ensuring you have the widest possible range of resolutions and checking your project on as many devices is strongly encouraged.

Now of course this goes against rapid design, so how to do you rapidly develop responsive design. The solution is to design a rock solid template. Experimenting with sample content as you design your template will help you prepare default font sizes for different screen sizes and also address what you will do with images, logos, characters and other on screen elements. My advice is to have as much of your content live in narration as possible. For example, if the knowledge that is required is in the narration, it not only doesn't matter what size your screen is, but also what items are on the screen. I have looked at certain break points and decided that I just don't have the room for that great image, so in the end I take it off the screen sizes where it doesn't work.

The advantage of offering responsive design is obvious. More people can access your content from more places and during more times. If you are restricted to just taking training at your PC at work, you are only going to complete that training while sitting at your desk when you have nothing else pressing to complete. I don't know about you, but that doesn't describe anyone I know. If I could complete my required training while riding on public transit, or at home during down time, that's when I would do it. As an Instructional Designer, I want more people to complete my training not less. It's better when I need to show how effective my training is.

Here are a couple of my recent videos where I have addressed the challenges of responsive design. Please take a look. Remember I'm available for consultation if you or your company are thinking about implementing any type of eLearning for your organization.