Senior Designer

How to Make Your Next Articulate Rise Course Stand Out

On any given day, you might hear Maestro’s designers waxing poetic about our favorite blocks in Rise (it changes all the time!). We’re no strangers to Articulate Rise courses and we’ve experienced firsthand what’s possible in Rise, especially with a bit of innovative thinking.

While it’s true that anyone can develop their own Articulate Rise courses, we’re doing things a little differently. When our interactive designers work in Rise, they look for ways to push the limits of the platform, even beyond the improvements in Rise Themes, to create the best possible eLearning experiences. We appreciate Rise for the tool that it is, but every tool has limits. It’s been our mission to stretch Rise as much as we possibly can to create courses that stand out—from the way we design transitions between various content pieces to custom illustrations that make a course look and feel better.

We know a thing or two about developing great courses in Rise and we’re excited to share them. Take a peek into how to use Articulate Rise with insider tips from our designers.

How to create better courses in Articulate Rise

You probably already know that Articulate Rise is the best tool for creating responsive eLearning. But because the tool makes custom design more challenging, you run the risk of having a final product that feels cookie-cutter and underwhelming. In order to make the most of Articulate Rise, you have to think outside the box and push the limits of the platform.

There are plenty of innovations in Rise that the typical user wouldn’t know about. Sure, we all want an Articulate Rise course that delivers the content, but what about beyond that? Let’s look at a few Articulate Rise examples and tips for creating stunning, custom courses.

6 tips to improve your next Articulate Rise course

Some people see Rise as a limited eLearning solution—you turn to it for responsive, rapid authoring. But the Rise we know and love is much more than that. Here are just a few pointers we’ve picked up along the way.

1. Create better, more vibrant transitions

Trying to avoid that banded look that can often happen in Rise? Consider adding visual and graphic transitions to help move away from the straight horizontal line between two blocks with different background colors. With a little bit of creativity plus Photoshop and Illustrator templates, your design team can develop images that bridge the gaps between two content pieces to create more interesting transitions.

For this particular client, we created an image that contained the background colors of the previous and next content pieces and layered a photo with graphic elements on top. Make everything seamless by removing the image’s padding and you’re good to go!

2. Create labeled graphics with hotspots for interaction

Rise has a feature that enables learners to select hotspots that trigger interactive elements and reveal more information. One way that we customize this further is by figuring out exactly where certain hotspots will be and marking them as a layer in our design templates. Once we design the graphic, we can remove the crosshairs and when the graphic appears in Rise, those hotspots will be in the exact spots they’re meant to be on the image.

This allows us to customize the content to our client’s exact format specifications and stay true to their brand in every course we build. Watch this tutorial to learn exactly how to place hotspots when building labeled graphics.

A course section labeled Oversight Team with five hotspots and crosshairs labeled Specific Team 1, Specific Team 2, Specific Team 3, Specific Team 4, Specific Team 5, that reveal more information when moused over.

3. Customize charts further with templates and in-app tricks of the trade

Rise does have the ability to create charts, but design options are limited. However, there’s an option for multiple charts to be used in one row. For this client, we created donut-shaped pie charts to display their content, placing each chart image into the four-column grid block.

The key below each chart was created simply using Rise’s formatting options for text. How did we add the colored boxes in line with the key text below the charts? We simply added an “x” before the text, changed the text color of the “x” to be the same as a section in the pie chart, then changed the background color of the “x” to that same color.

The best part of a design like this is that it’s responsive. By placing each chart and key in its own column, it easily snaps into various layouts according to the user’s screen size for legibility and convenience.

4. Create custom iconography using closely cropped images

Rise doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to icons, and even if it did, custom iconography is always the better choice. Our workaround? Our designers create custom icons on a square canvas, closely crop them, and save them at a size between 80×80 and 150×150 pixels. From there, these icons can be loaded and placed as images anywhere in your course.

Custom checkmark icon above a Learning Check section for an in-course quiz.

5. Make the most of Rise’s flip card feature

Normally when we think of flip cards, it’s typical to place an image or word on one side and the definition on the other. But what if you took the flip card in Rise and made it even more visual and interactive?

With this client, rather than placing a word and its definition on the card, we used the card to show an image of a macchiato with the information below. When the learner flips the card, they get an exact breakdown of espresso and milk foam ratios to make the perfect beverage.

6. Maximize placement of elements using design templates

Because Rise has a set number of content blocks and styles to choose from, our designers have had to become more innovative over the years to make courses that truly stand out.

With this particular element, we wanted to show a side-by-side example of do’s and don’ts for slicing a lime for a cocktail, but this Rise component only accommodates one image. We started with our Photoshop template that contains artboards at the ideal image sizes for each Rise block that accepts images, used guides to mark out space we wanted between the two images, added the images and icons each on different layers placed to appear side by side, and then saved it as a flattened single image.

Once you’ve used Rise and understand how it works, it will become second nature for designers to create templates that seamlessly fit your course content.

A course section labeled "Be Careful" with 2 images below it demonstrating the right and wrong way to cut a lime.

Do’s and don’ts for developing in Articulate Rise

You’re thinking outside the box, you’ve got an arsenal of insider tips and Articulate Rise examples—but there are a few more things you should know.

Let’s share a quick rundown of the do’s and don’ts we’ve learned through our many trips down the Rise rabbit hole. Grab your notebook—here are a few things you should know about developing in Rise.

Do’s for developing in Rise

  • Sketch out course chapters before jumping into the nitty gritty of designs. That way, any major transitions or graphic templates can be carefully planned and executed.
  • Consider adding color behind accordion or timeline components to allow the white in those components to really stand out.
  • Customize everything. Use color and brand collateral to make your course distinct and professional. However, always keep accessibility and legibility in mind when selecting colors to go behind text elements.
  • Incorporate custom illustrations and photos. Drive the look and feel of your course with a personalized, thoughtful design that connects with your audience.

Don’ts for developing in Rise

  • Don’t overuse unnecessary components. Sometimes a text block component is all you need. Don’t get hung up on using complex components for the sake of interest. Forcing a user to use hotspots or flip cards when it’s not necessary can be distracting and confusing.
  • Don’t overuse the same components. Be intentional, but don’t be repetitive. Using the same components over and over can make a course feel routine and stale. Remember that Rise is a scrolling experience—variety will help keep the user engaged and alert.
  • Avoid extremely long chapters. Rise is designed to be a user-driven experience, but your design has to keep up. Whenever you can, separate your pages into bite-sized chunks so that your user doesn’t feel overwhelmed by content.

Way more is possible in Articulate Rise than you think

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