Best Practice - Optimal size to work with if we are not able to lo

Best Practice - Optimal size to work with if we are not able to lock the Articulate browser settings?

Calling on your experiences!!! Any help will be appreciated.

I am about to start a new project and I have been following all of these submissions and threads and am trying to wrap me head around things to ensure the project is set at the right size etc from the beginning.I am using Articulate and PP2010.

Now I do understand by setting the Articulate Lock browser at optimal size you will be able to control the quality of the images as per the threads on images etc. My confusion is on the PowerPoint Resolution (in the toolbar Slide Show tab) does this impact the presentation in articulate?? or is that completely unrelated and only used for PowerPoint slide shows?

If this is the case, confirming that the slide 'Stage' when set to "Lock browser to optimal size" is @ 720 x 540 making the entire presentation including the articulate skin 980 x 640. The reason this is this caters for the majority of users who have a 1024 x 768 monitor. If I have this right great (the image aspects ratios etc are fine... I hope)!

To my next problem - 

Scenario: all of our users have different screen resolutions - some at 1024 x 768, some at 1280x1024, some at 800x600, I'm at 1680x1050 for example. (no control over this as training extends across the country etc.)

To combat issues in the past we selected the following in Browser Settings:

  • Display at user's current browser size
  • Scale presentation to fill browser window

I understand that the bigger the monitor the images will stretch from the original size and there isn't much you can do about that. However, with this in mind would I still work to the optimal size (720x540) when inserting images or should I think bigger? If I cannot lock the browser in a project what are the best settings?

Any info will be greatly appreciated.

Note: this link from Jeanette was great on Aspect Ratios if anyone was interested.


Thanks David for your suggestion.

Thank you. Renee

12 Replies
Brian Allen

Hello Renee, here is my opinion for what its worth

Our environment is the same as yours, with a wide array of monitors and resolutions, but we find that we still lock the presentation size due to quality concerns.  The only learners I would have concern about from your description above are those running a 800x600 resolution, and we have a few of those as well.  For our envrionment they are an extremely small percentage of the majority, so we design to the majority.

Without knowing exactly how large or how small your learner may view the content you really don't have anything to design towards as far as optimal size.  However, by locking the preso size you give yourself the assurance that your learners will view the content exactly as you design it.

Jeanette Brooks

Brian has a great point. Certainly a presentation that's locked at optimum size is going to look better than the same presentation scaled up or down... however, some learners may want to rescale everything to fit their monitors, depsite your best intentions. What I sometimes do is set my presentation up so that the browser in which it opens is automatically resized to fit the optimal presentation size, but if the learner wants to resize the presentation by changing the dimensions of the window, they can do so. To set things up this way, in Presentation Options > Other, you can choose the following:

  • Browser size: Resize browser to optimal size
  • Presentation size: Scale presentation to fill browser window

Here's an example of a presentation where that was done. The browser window opens the presentation at its optimal size, but as the learner you can resize the browser window if you'd rather have it display larger or smaller.

Gerry Wasiluk

We have the environment as Brian and we also do what Brian does and size to optimal and then lock.  We are supposed to design here to no more than 1024 x 768 so the optimal size in AP works well within that.

Our biggest problem is not letting people resize, but when developers do not adjust the settings from the default settings.  The course launches small and many learners don't realize that they can resize.  We've had  learners not resize and then submit support tickets that they cannot read a course.  We believe its a desired convenience to the learner for the course to open at optimal size.

The other concern is that if you let people scale larger it may distort graphics when they scale beyond optimal.

Brian Allen

Jeanette Brooks said:

... however, some learners may want to rescale everything to fit their monitors, depsite your best intentions.

Who cares what those learners want?  (just kidding!)

Great point Jeanette, and it really does depend on your environment and needs.  For us, it's important that the content is displayed to our learners the way it is designed.  Scaling can do too much damage to image quality sometimes

Gerry Wasiluk

Brian Allen said:

Who cares what those learners want?  (just kidding!)

As we say here, "Applications would be perfect if it wasn't for users." 

Or when things go bad--the LMS is "throwing up furballs," certain e-courses aren't working or completing, etc--we try to ease the tension by saying "It's only learning. No one died."


Renee Tregonning

Ok, I have a thought. Correct me if I am wrong. We have a large proportion of learners who are scared of computers so we too would have the problem (as Gerry pointed out) of people not realising how to resize their training (therefore many calls are being put to IT asking for help).

So my plan, work on the project to optimal size specifications (as majority is at 1024 x 768). However, still open the browser to fill users screens (to avoid the IT calls) and then the majority (1024 x 768 screens) will view the project at optimal size however the percentage that have larger or smaller screens will have slight graphic distortions (under these circumstances I think we can deal with that)?

If anyone can see any potential issues I might have in advance please let me know.

Thank you everyone for your information.

Steve Flowers

I'd use a response block up front to establish the expectation. We have the same range of screen resolutions. Once folks learn to expect that the learning will launch in a small window, it's not a problem. If you establish this expectation up front, eventually it won't be a problem. For non-articulate courses you may not have this option. Maybe an information highlight when the course opens:

"The course can only be displayed at the dimensions you see here. The minimum screen resolution to run this lesson is 1024x768. If you prefer to fill more of your screen with the learning presentation, please change your display resolution settings. Please do not contact the support desk for assistance with presentation size."

I'd also advise against scaling your presentation up to fill the screen. As mentioned the quality consequences are rarely worth it and proportion wise there are going to be some issues. Looks like you're going the right route by scaling at optimal size.