Articulate & Android

Is Articulate every going to support playback on Android devices? I just find it very odd that in 2014 the only answer to Android questions on the forums is "Submit a feature request" when Android is now used by a majority of people and gaining market share. Maybe the Articulate slogan should really be "Create online and mobile courses with the world’s favorite e-learning authoring tools as long as all your end users are using an iPad or can buy one if their Android device isn't displaying content properly enough." 

Todd


11 Replies
Phil Mayor

I think Android should be supported, but it would be better to look at tablets rather thanSmartphone as this is where most courses will be played (I find the experience of use=ing a course on a phone is tedious).  When looking at Tablet OS's the market share is less although significant.

I think from a development point of view there are a few issues, Android is fragmented so even with support I expect a lot of devices would not be compatible, also as I am aware Mobile Chrome does not support certain audio standards at the moment so is unable to play the courses correctly.

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Todd, 

I know it's a common request, and something our team is aware of and tracking. In regards to Android specifically, unfortunately, Android lacks support for a specific HTML5 WebAudio API that has been in place on the Apple side since the first version of iOS 6. With that being said, the Android version of Google Chrome currently has the WebAudio API in beta. Once they've pushed that API to its release version, we'll start reviewing content on that browser to see if we can officially support it on the Android side. Right now, there is a significant bug in this Google Chrome Beta that causes a delay of 3-5 seconds before any audio is played. 

As for other browsers, not all of the browsers have not fully adopted the HTML5 standard yet (HTML5 standard is not yet finalized and a stable HTML5 recommendation is not scheduled for release until the end of 2014).  For an excellent overview of the state of HTML5 adoption in modern browsers, I recommend taking a look at html5test.com.

Michael Hinze

I happened to see this article today about the fragmentation in the Android space, and thought it illustrates nicely the challenges that authoring tools like Storyline need to overcome to truly support eLearning on Android devices:

http://opensignal.com/reports/fragmentation-2013/ utm_content=bufferfc247&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Todd Thornton

Sorry for the delayed response as I've been feeling under the weather. 


@phil I used Smartphones as I consider them to be the future of e-learning at least in most parts of the world where most people can only afford one device. The latest information I've seen for tablets is that Apple is still strong in the enterprise space, but this article claims 67% of worldwide tablet shipments during a recent quarter were Android. That seems high to me, but it's clear, it's growing quickly, whatever the number is. 

I won't pretend to fully understand all the technical issues concerning fragmentation  or HTML 5 (Michael, I appreciate the link), but to me it's simple. If I can't output e-learning in a format that plays relatively consistently (nobody expects perfection) I don't think it makes sense to continue using the creation tool. 

Granted this is very much IMHO, but today and certainly in the future, consistency across devices trumps everything else. You can't control what devices people use to access your material. I take that back you can in a corporate setting if you are providing the devices, but if you are reselling content/courses, that's not going to work.

I could be wrong, but my impression is that most people working at Articulate have Macs/iPads and that's the world they live in. That's great and I agree the iPads are great devices, but Kindles are popular as well as other devices. 

I may be alone in my assessment, (wouldn't be the first time) but I'd rather have fewer features that work across different devices/browsers. Granted the audio bug @ashley mentions I guess would be a show stopper until it's resolved, but as a longtime Articulate user, I'm giving you my honest assessment as I'm updating courses and thinking about the future, mine may not involve Articulate products. Without cloud based content creation/collaberation/sharing and consistent playback, I'm just not digging Articulate like I used to, but maybe that's just the medications I'm currently taking.  

Todd

Kevin Thorn

Chiming in here as I face this conversation just about weekly. 

Todd, forgive me but the smartphone device will not be the sole future of elearning. It will be a considerable device to factor into design, but not the main access point. Smartphones are best suited for and I believe will continue to be for Performance Support.

There's a few things to consider, but for sake of space let's focus on two: form factor and design methodology. 

Elearning is typically designed for desktop users and I think we can all agree on that. The rise and acceptance of mobile devices with specific respect to tablets I think we can all agree the surge of demand for elearning on those devices. With that form factor, we've now entered into two new worlds - designing *for* mobile (notice I didn't say "developing"?), and all the technical restrictions that have zero to do with your authoring tool. 

I get the idea of designing and developing a course, publishing out to multiple formats, and then deploy to multiple devices. I love that idea...except for I haven't gotten a course to behave *exactly* the same way from desktop to tablet yet. Is that Articulate's fault? Nope. Apple does some wonky things with it's iOS (why there's a Player app) that needs to be considered when designing for that device (notice I didn't say "developing" again?). All other devices non-iOS don't need a Player, but now you have the HTML5 instabilities mentioned above.

Finally, there are considerations for accessing content on a tablet from an LMS and getting the data to track back. There are a bucket full of technologies at play here and to hold Articulate accountable for Storyline not working in the Android market is....well, kinda silly.

As Phil and Michael pointed out, the Android market is quite fragmented - last I checked there were 4 different OSs on the market to Apple having one. Toss in Google's Chrome browser having struggles with HTML5, there's only so much an authoring tool vendor (Trivantis' Lectora, Adobe's Captivate, iSpring, as well as Articulate products) can do keep relevant. 


I'm a power user too Todd, and like you I'd like to see certain features (or less of in exchange for cross-platform support), but I'm afraid we're in the minority. If your future takes you down a path that doesn't include Storyline, that's your choice because you have to make decisions that best serves your needs. No tool is going to be the end-all-be-all.

With business changing, strategies adjusting, user base behaviors changing, I can assure you the engineers at Articulate are very well aware of the broader market, watching trends, testing, and prioritizing efforts to meet the demand of the industry to retain customers long-term. 

Phil Mayor

I can see why people would want to have it on their phone, I just think if you have to design for a phone you should design something specific to work with that form factor, you then need to factor in different screen sizes and at that point building an App makes more sense.

I don't think most elearning will be produced for phones, the iPhone has been around for 7 years now and most clients I meet have iPhones, last year I built 100+ courses for clients not one asked me to build it for an iPhone (iPad yes).

Fragmentation is a huge issue in android especially as the the trend at the moment is for lower powered devices that sell cheaply (the Tesco Hudl sold really well over here over christmas0 but as a result need to use an older version of android, it is unlikely that when/if Chrome is brought upto date it will be backwards compatible with old OS's

The other issue is form a user for technical support, try explaining to a user they cannot use it because they have an out of date OS.

I think support for android is necessary, and I am sure Articulate are working on it, but the HTML5 standard is not even set yet, so they are trying to hit a moving target.

I agree with Kevin you must choose your tool based on your target market.

Aaron Timmer

Hey Everyone - Very useful thread there. I'm going to bump this because I'm literally getting asked everyday from clients when we can expect Articulate to work on Android (Nexus). 

I will say too that I'm not convinced that 'Chrome is having HTML5 struggles'. It consistently rates, both on desktop and mobile, as one of the top, if not the top, browsers supporting the standard. Check here for evidence: http://html5test.com/results/mobile.html Generally supports HTML5 better than Apple's browsers.

I know the standard is moving target, and Articulate had to develop for the most popular tablet on the market first, but I think by 2015 Android maybe hold 50% of the tablet market. And by 2016-17 if it follows the phone sales will grab much, much more than that. I'm sure Articulate knows this. 

Essentially all healthcare orgs that we service that haven't bought tablets yet are leaning toward Nexus devices due to cost. At least in our industry Apple got that first wave, but I think Google will grab the second.

At this point we're unable to use Storyline for these customers. Sort of in a pickle here with Articulates products and 'Droid. Hoping that changes in 2014. 

Any updates?

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Aaron,

As you mentioned, HTML5 is still a moving target,  so I don't have any further updates or time frames to offer in regards to Android support. If you haven't already, you'll want to share this information in the form of a feature request as that is how our development team keeps track of requests for new features or support for different environments. 

Thanks!