Standard "Branding" Across Authoring Tools

May 28, 2013

Hi all!

So, we have been tasked with creating some kind of "standard" look and feel for all of our courses - regardless of what authoring tool is used. We use Storyline, Captivate and Adobe Presenter.

I hate this thought as a developer because to me, there are very few things that should be "standardized" for ALL courses. For example, I can understand the necessity of always having the company logo present. I can even bring myself to come to grips with using one set of "standard" colors (although I do so with resistance). However, aside from coming to that agreement, different authoring tools simply have different features to begin with (hence the whole argument that no single tool is "best").

So, while I would prefer if most things were left to designers to decide based on each course situation, I digress. I wanted to check with the community and see if anyone else has encountered such a situation and how you handled it - e.g., did you end up coming to a set of standard look and feel options that worked for you across authoring tools? Is there a document anyone can share with their guidelines for publishing courses?

I know that whatever standards we come up with, it will probably end up being written in a way that says "if your course meets X criteria, then do Y . . . BUT if it meets A criteria, then do B". That way our "standard" does have some flex built in. I just know that will take a while based on the range of situations that could apply (for example, locked navigation or unlocked? simulation course where next buttons are irrelevant or page turner? Situations where a menu is needed or not? etc.)


4 Replies
Jerson  Campos

Standards could restrict creativity, but it could also speed up the process because it will provide you and your team with a reference to develop your courses.  I started a discussion on style guides a while ago, you might want to check it out so you can get an idea on where to start.

Chantelle N

Thanks Jerson. That thread definitely offered some good resources and gave me a lot of ideas. Will still take some compiling to create exactly what we need.

I can see where this approach is helpful, but I want to avoid having these extremely long documents as guides. Giving people criteria from which to base decisions rather than teaching people exactly what to do in each combination of scenarios seems more reasonable to me. I mean, that's what training professionals are hired for, right? We know the criteria and we are trusted to apply it effectively (obviously, this is going beyond the company branding aspect and more into the design restrictions).

I think a tiered approach to manage this information would help limit length as well. For example, simply hold everyone accountable for being familiar with our color palette, fonts, etc. that are already defined in our company's robust, readily available marketing site, then define the major e-learning aspects that are not accounted for that we want everyone to be aware of and follow, leaving the more specific aspects up to the designer's discretion.

Anyway, just my thoughts on the approach but nevertheless, since I need to take a stab at, I appreciate your help!

Sara Reller

I think it is really important to review this from the user's point of view. Because in the end what should really matter here is did the person learn what they needed to and were they able to apply it. Sometimes consistency can help if you have the same learners across different modules so they don't have to spend time learning the tool and can focus on the material. It might feel like it is not as creative, but in general the purpose isn't to be creative but to have the person on the other side of the computer screen end up able to do something or do something better. 

(We have run into this when we try something new and creative, it is cool and fun, but often less effective until they get used to it.)

Jerson  Campos

When I originally was looking for some examples like this, it was more to see what other companies thought the best practices were for creating eLearning. I wanted to find out what seemed like the most common fonts used, sizes, colors for best readability, etc. But if you are working in a corporate environment, something like this should be a must. The courses you create are an extension of your company and it's image and it's good practice to keep that image consistent.  By not having to focus on trying to be creative and come up with unique designs, you can focus on whats important, the content.

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