How to Refresh Your Content for Mobile Performance Support
If you’ve realized that “going mobile” isn’t so difficult, after all, then you’re ready to add a mobile performance support component to your training program. As you look at your stack of paper binders, however, you might feel like you have to build a whole new training program from the ground up. What’s the most effective way to take your existing materials and recreate them as mobile-friendly performance support?
First things first–you don’t need to make your entire training program available on tablets and phones to achieve effective performance support. In fact, one of performance support’s greatest strengths is its ability to complement formal training by empowering your employees to put their training into practice. But, what should you pull from your existing materials and how can it be repurposed to provide real-time support on the go? Here are some guiding principles and best practices for optimizing your mobile learning content.
1) Structure your content for success
TAKE-AWAY: Good performance support will surface what’s needed first.
Successful performance support should not only be readily available but also quick and easy to use. Make sure that you present your content in logical, intuitive ways so that users can understand– at a quick glance–how it’s organized.
Start with the essentials, putting the main points, key takeaways, and most useful aids first. For example, to provide support for customer service reps fielding phone calls, you might start with a list of FAQs. On the other hand, a mechanic performing routine inspections might find checklists more helpful. The key is to identify what resources your employees will frequently access and to provide those resources up front.
2) Shorter is (almost) always better
TAKE-AWAY: Reduce your training binders down to the bite-sized pieces of information that your employees need to perform their jobs.
While studies have shown that users are surprisingly willing to scroll through long-form content on mobile devices, the small screens of phones and tablets are made for more bite-sized pieces of information, especially when the goal is to deliver quick and easy support that is integrated right into your employees’ workflow. Aim for short, descriptive content with bullet point summaries and quick tips, instead of lengthy procedural write-ups.
However, this doesn’t mean that you need to throw out all of your detailed, step-by-step instructions or comprehensive guides, which can be layered in for additional support and reference. Especially with a well-functioning search tool, it can be helpful to keep longer content on hand. Just remember that when it comes to performance support, finding information quickly, whether through simple scanning or via search, is key.
3) Reimagine print content for the mobile screen
TAKE-AWAY: Consider how you can optimize print content for mobile with engaging interactivity.
Just as long-form content is not particularly optimized for mobile, nor are fixed-layout tables, charts and many other graphics. When bringing this type of content mobile, think about how you might reimagine it for optimal consumption on a phone or tablet.
Sometimes, simple adjustments will suffice, such as cropping images to omit extraneous white space that eats up valuable screen real estate, or presenting tabular data one column, one row, or even one cell, at a time. Other times, you may want to reimagine the content all together, replacing static, designed-for-print layouts with dynamic interactives better suited to mobile.
For example, rather than providing lengthy written instructions for how to install a device, consider including a short demonstration video instead. Or, reconfigure content that contains multi-part graphics into a slideshow. Consider ways that visual reminders and interactive content might best serve your performance support goals and make your content more engaging.
4) Spend time on content that matters
TAKE-AWAY: Focus on reimagining certain content for mobile, instead of tackling it all at once.
While going mobile opens up a breadth of interactive options to better engage your users and revive your print content, you might be wondering what to do if you don’t have endless time and a limitless budget. No worries! Not all of your content needs reimagining, and not all of it warrants the time and energy that would be required to do so. To maximize your efforts and the effectiveness of your mobile support materials, focus on the elements that will most benefit from custom mobile treatments:
1. Content that your employees are most likely to access, time and time again; and
2. Content that isn’t inherently suited for mobile, but should be repurposed into reference material.
By choosing to only spruce up the content that needs it most, you’ll save time and money, and still provide effective performance support .
The bottom line:
Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile, and you need support solutions that are as untethered as your workers. By developing a mobile component to your training and support programs, you’ll ensure your employees have the tools and resources they need, exactly when they need them, to be successful on the job.
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