Considerations about “Multiple Devices”

Multiple Devices” refers to the expanding use of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers to access and display multimedia content. Coined by Carlos Guerrero Herrero (SAFA) and Peter Mazohl (EBI), it originated from the TIBL project.
The term “Multiple Devices” refers to a variety of electronic devices that can be used to access and display multimedia-based and interactive (learning) content. These devices include smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, Chromebooks, and even some televisions.

The increasing popularity of multimedia content and the growing use of multiple devices to access it have presented a host of challenges. However, this also poses challenges, for example, regarding compatibility and user interfaces. Users often face difficulties when trying to display multimedia content seamlessly across different devices, as each device may have its own technical specifications and limitations.

This fragmentation in device types and capabilities can lead to inconsistencies in the user experience, making it crucial for developers, manufacturers, and content providers to address these challenges and ensure optimal performance across multiple devices. In any case – this problem is a serious course development issue and must be considered.

Multiple Devices DigiComPass Project

Multiple devices care for a certain inhomogeneous situation in technology-enabled training.

Are there studies about this problem?

The answer is easy: There are no viable studies available. An analysis of display problems, working with a pointing device – all this is obviously not adequately researched.

Nevertheless, we found an interesting document created in the frame of another Erasmus+ Project (Implementation of Interactivity and Multimedia-Based Content using Multiple Devices in Adult Education,  2020-1-AT01-KA204-078005). The study is available from the download page.

Background of the study

The team created three different multimedia-based and interactive pages providing the learning content. One of them was a simulation of creating an electric circuit that could be tested in the virtual lab. The team asked the surveyed people to text each of these applications using different devices (in any case a smartphone, but other devices such as tablets as well). The participants in this study compiled questionnaires evaluating their experience with the learning content. The questionnaires were implemented in Austria, Portugal, Italy, and Denmark. The processed questionnaires have been evaluated and interpreted.

Essentials from the study (questionnaire)

In the context of multiple devices, the following issues arise:

Compatibility issues
Different devices may have varying compatibility with multimedia content. This can lead to issues such as videos not playing, incorrect rendering of images, or improper display of text. Users may encounter frustrations when their chosen device cannot properly support or interpret the content.
File size limitations
Multimedia content, particularly videos and high-resolution images, often come with large file sizes. This poses challenges for devices with limited storage capacity or slower internet connections. Downloading or streaming such content may be impractical or time-consuming on these devices, hindering the seamless access and enjoyment of multimedia content.
Poor user interfaces
Some devices may provide suboptimal user interfaces for viewing multimedia content. This can appear as cluttered layouts, controls that are not intuitive, or limited functionality for interacting with the content.Users may find it challenging to navigate through the multimedia material or to control playback, negatively impacting their overall viewing experience.
Screen size and resolution disparities
Different devices have varying screen sizes and resolutions, ranging from small smartphone screens to large desktop monitors. This can result in content being displayed differently or not fitting properly on certain devices, leading to a compromised user experience.
Operating system fragmentation
The prevalence of multiple operating systems (such as iOS, Android, Windows, macOS) across devices adds complexity to multimedia content development and compatibility. Developers may need to adapt and test their content to ensure seamless functionality across different operating systems and versions.
Input method variations
Devices offer different input methods, including touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and styluses. Designing multimedia content that accommodates and leverages these input methods can be challenging, as the user interaction may differ significantly depending on the device.
Performance limitations
Various devices have different hardware capabilities, including processing power, memory, and graphics capabilities. Multimedia content that relies on intensive processing or high-quality graphics may not perform well on devices with limited hardware specifications, resulting in slow loading times, laggy playback, or reduced visual quality.
Connectivity issues
The availability and reliability of internet connectivity can vary across devices and locations. This can impact the seamless streaming or downloading of multimedia content, particularly in areas with weak or unstable network coverage. This issue also addresses the WiFi connection learners may use.

Conclusion and “Lessons Learned”

To enhance the user experience of multimedia content on multiple devices, we recommend adopting responsive design principles. This involves adapting the layout, size, and functionality of the content to fit the screen characteristics of each device, ensuring a consistent and appropriate display.

Conducting thorough cross-platform compatibility testing is essential to identify and address any issues that may arise when accessing the multimedia content on different devices, operating systems, and software versions. Additionally, optimizing file sizes through techniques like compression and adaptive streaming can improve streaming performance and download speeds, especially for devices with limited storage or slower internet connections.

Designing user interfaces that are intuitive and user-friendly, with easy navigation, clear controls, and intuitive playback options, will further enhance the overall experience. It is also important to optimize the performance of the multimedia content by maximizing resource efficiency, minimizing performance bottlenecks, and taking advantage of hardware acceleration where possible.

Lastly, ensuring accessibility for users with disabilities by implementing accessibility standards, supporting assistive technologies, and incorporating inclusive design principles will contribute to a more inclusive and enjoyable multimedia experience.

The project team will consider the mentioned items to provide multimedia content  optimized for a seamless and satisfying user experience across a wide range of devices in the developed training course.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *