One of the things that Michael Ditchburn really likes about the authoring tool Evolve is its reliability. “It just works. You choose what you want, you put your content in, text and images, and that’s it, it does it. You don’t have to worry about it – whether it will work or look right. You know it will just work.”
This reliability makes it a real winner for Michael, content developer and project leader at the digital training agency, Think Biscuit Media, because it means he knows he will be able to deliver what he says he can deliver. It also makes him very confident about recommending the tool to clients. They also like the fact that it’s reliable. Plus there’s the price tag. “If we tell people it will cost half as much as they expect and it will definitely work, they are sold,” says Michael. “And when a client accepts it, we know it will be easier for us.”
Evolve costs considerably less than many of the big names in the marketplace, making it attractive to smaller organisations, particularly those that are starting out and have less money to play with.
Michael first came across Evolve a couple of years ago when he was scouting around for an e-learning content creation tool that would offer responsive capabilities. He had a client that wanted a tool that was mobile first and back then, there was very little out there offering genuine responsiveness. “We generally used another authoring tool then and at the time, it did not offer responsiveness – it just made stuff smaller so it would fit on a mobile.”
With Evolve, mobile responsiveness is in-built. The tool automatically adjusts to the platform and device being used, making for a seamless experience. Michael says the user just has to build in individual components and Evolve does the rest, configuring itself according to the device. Because of this, Michael thinks Evolve’s mobile responsiveness is the best out of all the ones he has used, even the bigger and more popular tools.
A disadvantage of Evolve, according to Michael, is that all interactions are fixed, unlike with other tools on the market, resulting in less choice over how things work. However, that can also be an advantage because it means there is less work involved. “Because other tools there is a blank canvas, there is infinite choice. You have to build things from scratch and think of everything. And a lot of times you end up building things that Evolve uses automatically. As an instructional designer, the fact that I have a set of components to use makes my life easier. And it’s twice as quick to build stuff because all of the coding and the hard stuff has already been done.”
In the two years that Michael has been using Evolve, he says it has improved significantly. Users can now do screen captures for example, and there are now about 40 interactions, compared to 20 when he signed up to Evolve. Each month there are new updates.
Something else that Michael and the team at Think Biscuit Media thinks gives Evolve the edge over other tools is the service and support offered by the team behind it. Whenever they have approached them with a question or a problem, Evolve are on it straight away. “There was a problem recently and a fix was implemented within 48 hours.” Compare that to when the team had a problem with a functionality on one of the tools offered by another big provider, when it took four months for it to be fixed. And Think Biscuit Media was not the only company experiencing this problem. “If things go wrong with Evolve, they genuinely want to help you and quickly. They want to do a good job and are so open to feedback, which is great, because not everyone is.”
All in all, Michael thinks it’s one of the best tools out there, for functionality, speed, cost and ease of use for all concerned.
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