Automated Authoring Software: The Good and the Bad

Benefits of automated authoring tools:

  • Programming-free authoring and publishing - Uses easy to learn and use WYSIWYG editing
  • Time saver - Automated processes makes content translation faster and everything else faster, which results in saved money and earlier release of product to the market.
  • Cost reduction - The in-house production/development of e-learning materials and websites using such tools can be significantly lower than hiring a development team.
  • Quality assurance - Automated editing processes ensures that process steps are taken.
  • Easier collaboration - Some automated software allows for real-time multi user collaboration.
  • Results in documentation consistency - By automating documentation processes you can be sure that you’ll get more consistent and timely results.

Disadvantages of automated authoring tools:

  • Small things that count get overlooked - There’s no denying it a professional web designer will find it easier to spot problems or even just potential problems that someone inexperienced that is just dabbling with an automated authoring software.
  • Non-compliance to web standards - This wouldn’t be too bad if it didn’t result in something adverse but since it does affect accessibility then it is a problem that shouldn’t be overlooked. Most affected by accessibility issues are the visually-impaired. While this can be corrected by someone knowledgeable in HTML those using WYSYWIG editors do not even know there’s a problem.
  • Debugging woes - Whether a big/critical problem or something as minute as incorrect alignment arises a lot of those using automated authoring tools will find themselves unable to solve the problem that easily, if at all, which then prompts them to either hire a professional web developer or to leave the the end product flawed.

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