In writing my honest assessment of Adobe Captivate 6 post I knew going in I was putting myself out there and would invariably take some heat for sharing what I really thought about the new release. But I still went ahead and did it and even today after having further tested the new features, I stand by everything I wrote.
Having said that, it wasn’t my intention to offend anyone by what I wrote but I had such high expectations for Captivate 6 and was dissapointed, especially because of what Adobe as a company showed the world with their launch of the Creative Suite 6 and the Creative Cloud.
In case you didn’t read my thoughts on Adobe’s CS6 and Creative Cloud when it first came out, you can read it here. I called it a sign of the mobile times, because I believe they did so many things right around mobile throughout their 14 apps that make up the Suite.
I have also tweeted a lot about their Adobe’s new subscription plan, as well as the ease with which I can download, install, uninstall and reinstall apps as I need them via the Cloud. The idea that I can get all of this great technology from Adobe for $29.99 per month is a brilliant move and I applaud them for making it affordable.
So considering Captivate is an Adobe product, this is where my high expectations came from because I thought Captivate would follow suit and show the eLearning and mLearning community something awesome, something that would have made Captivate a game-changer, especially for developing great mobile learning experiences. I say mobile learning because this is my focus and this appears to be Adobe’s leading marketing message everywhere.
I was expecting something revolutionary in Captivate 6 and I feel all we got was something evolutionary, some might argue (including me) that what we got was something that should have been in Captivate 5 or at least in version 5.5.
Having said that, when I was watching the unveiling of Adobe’s CS6 and the Creative Cloud I was envisioning how Captivate could not only embrace but also extend the company’s mobile vision, especially as it pertained to developing Learning experiences for multiple screens.
In my years working for Adobe and Macromedia, one thing I learned was the importance of leveraging technologies from various products across the rest of the company. As an Evangelist I was always participating in presentations from other teams, always thinking how I might be able to leverage and repurpose innovations from other teams into my own smaller products. The idea is not to reinvent the wheel I always thought, but rather to work together as a team and push forward the overall company vision.
My point is that in order for Captivate 6 to have been a game-changer in mLearning, the team in India could have just looked at what other Adobe teams were doing and copy their ideas right into Captivate 6. That’s it.
True mLearning a la Dreamweaver CS6
Take for example how Dreamweaver CS6 is helping web designers develop adaptive layouts for multi-device publishing. If I had to pick just one feature in the entire CS6 product line, it would have to be the new Fluid Grid Layout functionality in Dreamweaver. It is simply awesome. It shows the team is on top of what’s important to the mobile world we live in today. With these features, Adobe shows thought leadership and stays highly relevant in the Industry by enabling users to embrace principals around Responsive Web Design.
In my personal opinion, I believe Responsive Design is the best way for us in eLearning and mLearning to develop learning experiences once and deploy them everywhere and on any device.
In case you are new to Dreamweaver CS6 or haven’t seen Fluid Grid Layouts in action as a way to create personalized web experiences for different screens, just take a look at this Adobe TV video. Obviously the video focusing on web design, but as you watch it, think about using these same principals in Captivate for mLearning.
I don’t know about you, but this is how I would have liked Adobe Captivate 6 to have addressed designing learning for multiple screens via a single project vs just a HTML5 check box in the Publish dialog box, which not only doesn’t work all that well, but it defeats the purpose of creating experiences that are consumed very differently from screen to screen.
Just imagine the ability to design Learning in Captivate in a similar way in which Dreamweaver implemented Fluid Layouts. One could start a Captivate project and then pick desktop, tablet and smartphone layouts for example and then use something similar to the Dreamweaver concept of the Fluid Layouts to create dynamic groups that would stay connected across layouts, for example the navigation bar and other similar components. This way, changes to that group in one place would automatically propagate across all linked areas. However you could position these layouts in different places for each screen layout, for example you could place the navbar group on the left for the desktop, on the top for the Tablet and at the bottom for the smartphone.
I hope you are still with me.
What about Previewing and Debugging across multiple devices?
This could get interesting. Of course one could just Preview in a Browser and then manually adjust the width of the browser to see the preview in desktop size, tablet size and smartphone size. But why stop there? Why not implement the amazing Adobe Shadow technology right into Captivate 6?
Adobe Shadow in my mind is one of the best pieces of technology to have come out from Adobe in recent memories. Shadow allows you to connect multiple devices to your desktop wirelessly and then as you browse pages on your computer, all of you devices display the same page accordingly. I use this all the time to test my Blog on my Mac, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Droid 2. It’s awesome.
In case you are new to Adobe Shadow here’s a great video that shows how it works. Again think previewing mLearning created in this imaginary version of Captivate:
I think properly implemented into Captivate, Adobe Shadow could be an integral part of the mobile future of the product, especially as more and more mobile devices are introduced every day in the market.
What about Native Apps from Adobe Captivate?
Thus far I’ve only mentioned mLearning via the desktop and mobile web, but what about building native apps? Easy, Adobe acquired PhoneGap, which I would argue is one of the most solid HTML5 app platforms that allows you to author native applications with web technologies and even gain access to APIs and app stores. In fact Dreamweaver already has this implementation in CS6 so it shouldn’t be that difficult for Captivate to do the same.
Here’s a page with a video of how PhoneGap has been implemented into Dreamweaver CS6: http://phonegap.com/2012/04/24/adobe-dreamweaver-cs6-supports-phonegap-build/
So if you are Captivate, now you have all the bases covered, the desktop and mobile web and native apps too.
I don’t know about you but that would have been a real game-changer for mLearning. At least I think so.
What do you think?