Off-The-Shelf Vs. Custom Flash-To-HTML5 Conversion

Off-The-Shelf Vs. Custom Flash-To-HTML5 Conversion
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Summary: Many off-the-shelf tools claim to convert Flash® courses to HTML5, but are they truly mobile responsive? Most don’t stand up to the challenge. Opting for custom HTML5 conversion through an experienced vendor ensures your learners get the most out of your content—in a format they can actually use.

Off-The-Shelf Vs. Custom Flash-To-HTML5 Conversion

With Flash-based eLearning development a thing of the past, our production team spends much of the present coaching organizations through the Flash-to-HTML5 conversion process.

If you’re new to this idea, there’s one basic fact you need to know: Most browsers today don’t support Flash—and Flash isn’t compatible with mobile technology—rendering existing Flash-based training assets inaccessible on many popular devices.

Benefits Of Converting Legacy Flash Courses To HTML5

The biggest benefit of converting Flash courses to HTML5 then is simple and obvious: You don’t want to lose quality training your organization worked hard to build.

There are many other benefits to converting Flash-based courses to HTML5, as well. For instance, HTML5-based courses:

  • Are compatible with mobile technology and lead to higher learner engagement among a wider audience, since learners can access training anywhere, anytime, on mobile devices.
  • Offer better security and performance.
  • Make translating content into other languages much easier.
  • Make editing easier than Flash-based courses, leading to lower maintenance costs.
  • Allow greater flexibility in layouts (e.g. website-like scrolling); whereas traditional Flash-based eLearning course formats are restricted.
  • Allow you to integrate other services (e.g. social media, Vimeo accounts).

Flash-To-HTML5 Conversion Process

As part of your Flash-to-HTML5 conversion process, we recommend:

1. Analyzing Your Learning Data And Prioritizing Legacy Flash Courses

Mine the data available via your LMS, Google Analytics, Vimeo, and other sources to help you identify the existing learning assets that provide the most value to your learners. Prioritize these first.

2. Identifying And Implementing The Best Conversion Approach For Each Asset

You have 2 options for converting Flash-based courses to HTML5: Use an off-the-shelf tool or hire an experienced vendor to help you through a custom HTML5 conversion.

Off-The-Shelf HTML5 Conversion Tools

You could use an off-the-shelf tool to convert simpler courses that involve little-to-no interactivity; however, be forewarned that they generally are not truly "responsive" (meaning the layout of your content adapts to the device’s viewport in which it’s being viewed). Sure, some of the player controls change out on a mobile device, but what about the content—you know—the important stuff? With many authoring tools, responsive simply means it shrinks your existing content to fit a smaller screen. Ultimately, the content doesn’t reflow in a way that makes sense for the learner, and there are many missed opportunities to achieve a great User Experience (UX) across multiple devices. For instance, let’s say your course includes a text-heavy infographic that looks great on a desktop computer. When converted to an HTML5 course via an off-the-shelf tool, that same infographic will simply shrink in size on a cell phone, rendering most of the text too small to read. This leaves your learners frustrated and paying more attention to the bad User Experience than to the great content.

Custom HTML5 Conversion Through An Experienced Vendor

Using an experienced vendor to help you convert your highest priority Flash-based courses to HTML5 ensures your learners can get the most out of your legacy courses. The process and timeline for converting a course vary based on the complexity of the course. As you begin planning, start by asking yourself the right question. Instead of, "How do I convert this?" you should ask, "How can I optimize this course and make sure it’s future-proof?".

With that question in mind, work with your vendor to update or create a storyboard for the refreshed course, identifying opportunities to optimize the course for mobile technology. Then, your vendor can extract source files from the Flash-based course and rebuild it using the updated storyboard.

HTML5 Design Considerations

There are a few things you should consider as you upgrade the design of your course for HTML5 conversion:

  • Your HTML5 course is not going to be identical to the Flash-based version of the course. This is because Flash is more animation driven (think "cheesy bling").
  • The conversion is a good time to update the content and overall aesthetics of your course. Most mobile-friendly training is trending toward a sleek, clean design.
  • Some course elements will need to be redesigned or recaptured in other formats to remain in the course. Existing animation can be captured as a video and imported into the new HTML5 course.
  • HTML5 allows you to design different interaction types to display on desktops, tablets, or phones within the same course.

Where To Begin

If you are ready to begin the custom Flash-to-HTML5 conversion process, contact an experienced vendor to learn more about its process. And don’t worry—if you already used an off-the-shelf tool to "convert" a Flash-based course to HTML5, your vendor can still complete a custom conversion to ensure it’s truly responsive.