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Looks matter: why editable Adapt themes are a real game changer

How can I make my course match our brand? It’s the question I’m asked most often by new Adapt authoring tool users. And for a good reason – that stuff matters. So we’re excited and proud to have worked on V0.8.0 of the community Adapt authoring tool – delivering editable themes.

One of the reasons we’re such advocates of Adapt is that it makes custom elearning possible for more organisations, budgets and learners.

This open source tech gives more options, for more people with a choice of DIY content using the free software, a supported authoring package on subscription or full-service outsourced course production.

The one fly in the ointment has been that achieving specific course styling – such as brand-specific colours and typefaces – took a bit of CSS/LESS coding or a pre-built custom theme.

So while the authoring tool is easy enough for anyone to build a course in, non-technical users had more limited styling options.

We know every elearning designer wants their course to look great and communicate the right brand values…
Now there’s no need to dive into the code. Editable themes let any author style elearning to fit brand or other visual requirements – easily!
 

Paul Hilton

Can Studios Creative Director

We know every elearning designer wants their course to look great and communicate the right brand values, as well as providing a great learning experience.

It’s why Can Studios developed the Can Background component for Adapt, which makes it easy to add your own graphics or colours to pages and course elements. It’s has been available as part of our Adapt from Can Studios authoring package since February 2018.

But for us, editable themes have been the holy grail. And as of 5 May 2019 they’re here with the V0.8.0 release of the community Adapt authoring tool.

Now there’s no need to dive into the code. Editable themes let any author style elearning to fit brand or other visual requirements – easily!

How editable themes work

A theme is a sort of style sheet that each course sits on. It’s the instructions for how the course content should be rendered – from the colour of the headings and body text to the shape of the buttons. But previously, once a theme was created these variables were set.

Now, when creating a theme, developers can make variables, such as colours, fonts or images, directly editable in the authoring tool. Authors can then use the new theme editing page to change to these, and save defaults for frequently used settings.

Developers can control how much styling power to give authors within a particular theme. For example, the theme could allow changes to secondary and tertiary colours but not the primary colour or type face – ensuring creative freedom doesn’t slide into design carnage!

I think editable themes are a real game changer for non-technical Adapt authors because:

  • theme designers are bound to want to show off skills their skills – we anticipate lots of new editable themes becoming available in the Adapt community
  • just one editable theme will allow application of endless sub or partner brands to courses, quickly and easily – so any themes you commission work harder
  • with the basic Vanilla theme made editable anyone can choose precise colours for the main course interface – so authors can match any brand palette.

With the editable themes function now fully tested and released to the community, we’ve started work on incorporating them into our Adapt from Can Studios authoring tool package. [UPDATE: Available in Adapt from Can Studios as of July 2019 – see the release notes.]

That’s no small task. It will involve us fully testing all the functions with our wider component list and ensuring it works smoothly with our exclusive preview editor – the WYSIWYG interface that lets you interact with a course as a learner will, while editing.

But I promise you that we’ll:

  • give our customers a couple of exclusive editable themes to use right away
  • get these functions to you as soon as we can – because we’re really excited about all our customers getting editable themes.

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