Hotspots in non-VR project? Workflow 1

Why?

This is not a blog post for intermediate or advanced users. Since CP2019 is released, with the hotspots for 360 images and videos in a VR project or a normal project, I see the same question appearing regularly: why cannot we have that feature for a 2D image? Hence my idea to offer you some possible workflows with a step-by-step explanation and a free downloadable project file. This first post shows a project where the functionality of VR hotspots is being duplicated as close as possible:

  • When user clicks a hotspot, text, image and/or audio will appear, and automatically disappear after a specified time (here you can also use video, which is not possible in a VR project)
  • The hotspots get a checkmark after having been clicked.

However only the status ‘Exploratory’ is used, not the ‘Guided’ status. I would be able to reproduce that as well, but the workflow will be more complicated.

Example movie

Watch the result in this movie with 3 slides. After the title slide you’ll see the hotspot slide. The last slide lists up the steps explained below, if you want to create the workflow from scratch. I will also offer you the project file, you can also copy/paste the hotspot slide to your project, thus allowing to skip some steps.

Copy/Paste Slide

You can download the project file (created in version 11.0.1.266) from this link.

You can copy/paste the hotspot slide (slide 2) to your project. Replace the image. You can edit the design of the hotspots (names start with HS_), change the content of the states in the Multistate object labeled SS_Info.

Have a look at the Library, folder Shared Actions. You’ll see that it has been used 6 times, once for each hotspot. If you change names of the states in the multistate object, you will have to edit that parameter. Same for the duration. The other parameters are always the same for each hotspot: the name of the multistate object and its Normal state.

Steps, from scratch

Create hotspot

I used a shape button as hotspot. It has several advantages over the older type of buttons. You can choose any shape or create a custom shape (here I used just a circle), you can fil it with any color from your Theme Colors as solid color or in a gradient (I used a gradient) or even fill the shape with any image. Moreover you can type text in the shape. I kept the hotspot very simple: just a question mark. But you can replace the text or the fill as you like. It is important that the shape button – hotspot has at least two InBuilt states: the Normal and the Visited state. You could also use the Rollover and Down state, which I deleted in the example file/movie. This is the state panel of the hotspot:

Duplicate hotspot

I labeled the used style as ‘Hotspot’. However, the Visited state is not part of the style (which I regret a lot). For that reason I did duplicate the hotspots (CTRL-D). In the project the names start with HS_.  In the example movie you’ll see 6 hotspots.

Contrary to the hotspots in a VR project, these hotspots have a timeline. I kept the default setup: duration of  3 seconds and pausing at 1.5secs. That pausing point is where where the playhead will pause, exactly like for the hotspots on a VR slide.

Multistate object for popups

I put all the popups in one multistate object which is also a shape: it has 1 state more than the number of hotspots. The Normal state has to be ‘invisible’ by setting the Alpha for Fill = 0 and the stroke width = 0. Each of the following states has the assets for one popup. You will see that I have states with only a text container (background in any color, partially transparent), but some have also an image, audio and one even has an event video (which is not possible on a 3D slide).  You can choose any location, it is not locked to the Normal state location. In the example file, the Object states for this shape looks like this:

Import Shared Action ‘HotspotWorkflow1’

Use File, Import, External Library and open the file you downloaded. Find this shared action in the floating Library panel which will be opened. Drag that action to the Library of your project in the folder Shared Actions. More info about external libraries in this post.

Add shared action to hotspots

Select a hotspot. In the Actions tab of its Properties panel, for the Success action choose ‘Execute Shared Action’. Click on the tiny button {p} to define the parameters which are:

  • Multistate object with the popups (labeled SS_Info) in my example file. That parameter is the same for all hotspots.
  • State: having the info to pop up for that particular hotspot
  • Time you want to leave the popup on screen, can be different for each hotspot
  • Normal state of the multistate object, is same for all hotspots.

Here is one example screenshot for the hotspot referring to the Virtual Reality project:

Conclusion

Maybe you’ll already feel that this workflow could be optimized. I would prefer to give the learner control over the time he needs to watch the popups by adding a close button. Or maybe cover up the distracting background in a lightbox style? What about the next button only appearing when all hotspots have been clicked? Or a warning if not every hotspot has been visited when the learner clicks the Next button? Lot more workflows are possible, let me know which one you would prefer?

Hotspots in non-VR project - workflow 2

Intro

A week ago I published a first showcase, explaining how to replicate the hotspot workflow for VR projects on a 2D image. This second article about using hotspots for a 2D image is not duplicating as closely that same feature: instead of showing the popups for a duration defined by the developer, this workflow will offer a close button for the popups. The learner decides when to close a popup and proceed (eventually) to the next hotspot. I also used a technique, often labeled as 'lightbox': to have the popup stand out of the rest of the content, it will have a semi-transparent cover in the background dimming the rest of the slide.

Example movie

I used the same image (welcome screen) and content for the popups as i the first workflow. Only  some small color changes and changes in the location have been applied . Watch this 3-slide movie: after the title slide (doubles as poster image) you can test the new hotspot slide, and the last slide gives a short Step-by-step list if you want to use this slide in your project. 

Try it out: quick workflow

You can download the project file from this link

If you do not need to have more than 6 hotspots, and you are happy with the resolution of the project (1024x627) and its Theme (Pink Icing), you can quickly use the hotspot slide using these steps:

  1. Create a blank project, with that resolution and theme. Create your title slide, and eventually a poster image as explained in his older article
  2. Copy the hotspot slide from the sample project and paste it into your project. The object names will get an extra number, but you don't have to bother about that. The advanced and shared action is automatically adapting to the new names.
  3. Select the Image..  'WelcomeScreen.png' and replace it by your image (Properties panel).
  4. Move eventually the hotspots to the right location. If you need less than 6 hotspots you can hide some of them in output. Deleting is also possible. Start by hiding or deleting the last hotspot(s). The sequence of the hotspots is starting with HS_Responsive (first in first row), going to the right and then to the second row. Last hotspot is for the PPT.
  5. Open the multistate object SS_Info.. which is just on top of the 'Cover' (needs to be there). Click the State view button in the Properties panel to open the Object State panel.
  6. Leave the Normal state alone. Replace the content in the other states by your content (follow the sequence described under 4.)  You don't need to rename the states, nor to delete the last unused ones (just leave them as they are).
  7. Start testing with 'Preview HTML in Browser' (F11).

 

How to use Custom Effect in Actions?

Intro

Almost 8 years ago I posted this article on my personal blog: Editing Motion Paths and Using Custom Effects. 

Since that time Effects have been improved a lot, advanced and shared actions can make life much easier. Time to upgrade that blog post, meanwhile testing the behavior of effects in HTML output in CP2019. While Flash was always to be trusted, that is not the case for HTML output. And indeed, I bumped onto a problem with the Scale effect, and sometimes the Rotate to effect. When those problems are solved, I will post a published movie. The workflow to use Custom effects in a shared or advanced action is however still the same since many versions. It is a bit complicated, I have answered many questions about it in the forums. I will write it out now step by step.

When do you need  a custom effect?

Effects have been improved in some ways. Some parameters can be defined in the Advanced Actions dialog box. Look for the start time of an effect, its duration and more numeric fields (alpha, rotation, ease in/out, alpha….). However when using a combination of effects over and over again, you can create one custom effect which saves that combination and can applied in one step including the sequence and duration of the different effects. Another practical example are the motion effects, where you need to edit the motion path, which is certainly the case for more complicated custom motion paths.  This screenshot shows an example of a complicated combination of effects on the Timeline. It was meant to be applied to simulate a swimming fish:

Step by Step

Step 1:  Create and save effect

Create the effect or combination of effects on any object as a ‘Self)time based animation and test it out thoroughly (Preview HTML in Browser for a non-responsive project) in several browsers before saving it with a custom name.

You don’t need to save it in a specific folder. I use to save it with the project I am working on as is the case in the screenshot above. Effects are stored in XML-files.

Step 2: Apply the custom effect as time-based animation

If you would try to use the saved effect in a shared/advanced action it will no be available. If this is the first custom effect you ever created, there will not even be a Custom category to choose from You need first to delete all the individual effects applied to the object (above it was to the object SV_Fish (a SVG image). Then apply the custom effect as a (Self) time based animation again, but now with ‘one’ effect chosen with the browse button.

When looking at the timeline you’ll see exactly the same result as in the screenshot at the beginning: all the effects in the correct sequence and with the duration you had chosen.

The result of this second application is that the Category ‘Custom’ will now have been created, and it will have the new custom effect ‘Swimming’.

Step “: use in advanced or shared action

If you only wanted to apply this action using an interactive object, you could use a simple action. The field Category will now have the Custom category.

However often effects are used in Advanced or Shared actions in combination with other commands. In this example the Fishes are originally hidden, so I need to Show them and apply the effectn eventually also have an audio clip playing separately.

The two buttons on this example will trigger the same shared action. Both fishes are hidden in output at the start. When creating the advanced action, the category Custom can now be used, and the available parameters (start, duration) could be edited, but mostly you’ll not want to do that.

Because I needed to use this action twice, maybe also later in other projects unchanged or as template for other actions, I preferred a shared action which will have only one parameter: the object itself. An effect cannot be a parameter. However, the effect can not only be applied to one object, but also to a group. I can replace one fish by a group of fishes.


Timeline for 360 slides (static/video)

Intro

A while ago I published several blogs and interactive movies (created with Captivate) about the ins and outs of the Timeline in Captivate, which is still the feature that causes most frustrations because of lack of understanding. With CP2019 some new features are added to that timeline, for the VR projects (360 slides) and for interactive video. Looks like it is time to explain those new features. This blog has focus on the timeline in 360 slides inserted in a non-responsive project.  Those slides are not able to have overlay Quiz slides as is possible in a full VR project. In a future post I will talk about the overlay Quiz slides and their timeline. I published recently a short post with some tips for a VR project.

360 slides

In a non-responsive project you can use the big button Slides to insert a slide which has a centered button to choose either a 360° static image or a 360° video. It is not possible to drag a 360 item to the slide from the Library, you need to use that button.

The 360 image is inserted as background, whereas a normal image inserted on a slide will have an individual timeline. In the Library you will see the images in the Background folder, and you have to use 'Find Background'.

Static 360 image

Editing a 360 slide is more limited than editing a normal slide. You will not have an Actions tab in the Properties panel, which means that you cannot use the On Enter/On Exit events for the slide. The Big Button Bar is mostly dimmed. There are only two assets that can have a timeline as you are used to:

  • Audio (under Media button) can be added as slide audio, which will have its timeline as expected under the slide timeline. Slide audio can be paused on a 360 slide by a hotspot, just like by any interactive object: you find the feature 'Stop Slide Audio' on the Options tab of the hotspots (including Character which is also inserted as hotspot). 
  • Label (under Text button): can be added, formatted and timed. It can be used for titles or for instructions that need to be available even if the playhead moves. Labels can be moved and will be 'distorted' to fit in the spherical image if necessary. IT is not possible to apply an effect on the labels. 

You will see 'Characters' available' under the Media button as well. However inserting a character will create a hotspot where the character is used as custom image.  It is not possible to resize the image, only the location. In most cases the characters will be very big due to that lack of editing.

The functionality of a 360 image is mainly in the so-called  'HOTSPOTS' to be inserted from the big button with that name. Referring to existing terminology, a hotspot is a new type of  interactive object similar to click boxes, (shape) buttons. However hotspots have a timeline with zero duration. In the timeline the visual representation of a hotspot is  either a half circle (brownish) if the hotspot is on the first frame of the slide, or a full circle (when on a later frame).  A selected hotspot has a blue circle surrounding the normal icon. In the following screenshot Hotspot2 is selected. The generic names were kept, but I have changed the stacking order by dragging hotspot 2 on top of Hotspot3.  Each hotspot is marked on the stage and after publishing by one of the SVG's, a custom image or a character as mentioned above. 

Default setting for each hotspot is to keep the timeline paused. For simple actions triggered by buttons in normal slides, the default setting is 'Continue playing the project'. For the hotspots, that setting is unchecked by default (if you trigger 'Play Audio' with a hotspot it will change as expected to Continue movie after audio is finished).

If you leave that option unchecked, the playhead will remain paused. If you use the option 'Explanatory', this means that all hotspots sharing that frame will be visible to the learner. In some cases you'll have only hotspots in the first frame (look at the sample project), but to avoid overload in a complicated image, you could choose to have groups of hotspots in a later frame. You see an example in the screenshot of the timeline inserted earlier: two hotspots are in the first frame and 3 more in frame 45(1,5secs). In that case you have to release the playhead, which can be done in two ways:

  1. By checking the option 'Continue playing the project', not so interesting if you have set up the image in 'Explanatory' mode where the earner can choose the sequence of clicking the hotspots. But it can be a solution in 'Guided' mode.
  2. By adding a hotspot with the action 'Continue', which is available in the dropdown list. That was the case for the screenshot above: it has a character hotspot (with attached audio) and a second Continue hotspot. One of the hotspot icons is clearly recognizable as a 'Play' icon.
  3. By showing the playbar (and maybe instruct the learner to click the Play button). Both commands 'Hide Playbar' and 'Show Playbar' are available to be triggered by a hotspot, but I was never able to use them using a hotspot in a slide. However you can show the playbar by default or use a slide event on a previous static slide.

As I explained in previous articles, the Timeline panel is also a Layers panel, defining the stack order of objects. In a 360 slides the stacking order is not always respected: even if you put a label on top of the stack, it will always be covered by any hotspot in the same location.

However for the hotspots it also has a third functionality, only for Guided mode. The stacking order will define the sequence in which the hotspots are presented to the user: starting from the bottom. In the example screenshot, at frame 45 hotspot 2 will be presented before hotspot 4.  You can change the order by switching the layers.

The dropdown list with actions to be triggered by the hotspots is more limited than for another interactive object. I already mentioned the command 'Continue' and its possible use. There are several navigation commands (previous, next slide, jump to slide and to last visited slide). There is the Exit and No Action commands which are self-explanatory. The most useful  commands are :

  • Display Image:  the image will be displayed for a duration specified in the Properties panel, Actions tab. You cannot choose an image in the Library, and once the image is imported it will not appear in the Images folder of the Library but in the Backround folder. Images folder only has the SVG icons of the used hotspots, whereas the SVG folder remains empty. Once the image has been displayed for the chosen duration,  the hotspot is converted to a visited state but remains active.  It is possible to click another hotspot before the duration of the first has ended. If you want all displayed assets to remain you have to choose a long duration for each of them.
  • Display Text: behaves the same way as Display image, you need to specify the duration. Very little formatting is possible, hence a suggestion in a previous blog post to replace Text b: y images with text in the wanted font and with controlled colors for the background. Hotspot will also have a visited state.
  • Play Audio: you can import a clip, or get it from the Library (they are stored in the Audio folder). No need to define a duration, once an audio clip is started it will continue playing unless you launch the command 'Stop Triggered Audio' from another hotspot.  If you have several hotspots using the Play Audio command and the learner clicks next hotspot before the first audio is finished, that first audio will automatically be stopped. That is the normal behavior of those audio clips as I explained in 'Pausing Timeline and Audio Clips'

360 Video slide

When you insert a 360 video in a 360 slide, it will end up in the correct folder 'Video' in the Library (under Media). I couldn't find a 'Find in Library' option. The video is represented the same way as a Video Demo slide or a FMR slide in a software simulation, it is merged into the background of the slide (mention for Usage in the Library uses also 'Background of slide).

Of course, the location of the playhead is now more important than for a 360 image. You can have an image where only the first frame is used to stack all the needed hotspots. However that makes no sense for a video, where movement is crucial. It will not be easy to create an engaging experience if the video has already audio embedded, because each hotspot will pause the video, which means also the embedded audio. Adding slide audio is possible the same as for a static 360 slide. However synchroniang will not be easy neither.  I need more exploration of this type of slides, but here are some first tips:

  • Try to offer audio only by using hotspots. I start the video with an inserted character that is set up to play audio, and have the video continue immediately after the audio is finished.
  • If you have only one hotspot in a frame, activate also the option 'Continue playing the project' whether you use Display Image/Text or Play Audio.
  • If you have more than one hotspot in the same location, and you use the Guided status, keep that setting only for the last hotspot to be presented. For the Explanatory status, you probably will need the playbar or a hotspot with the Continue command.

In the screenshot you see the video slide in its first frame. That frame has a character (selected) as hotspot which will play auio. The label indicates what the learner has to  do, but cannot be put on top of the character. When the audio is finished the video starts playing. It will pause again at 4.3 seconds which has two hotspots. The last hotspot has also Continue selected, status was here Guided.


Available Events in Adobe Captivate

Intro

Over 6 years ago I published a blog post explaining the importance of Events in the application. I also offered for free a table describing all the possible events. Meanwhile new features have been added, the User interface has changes. It is time to update that old post and table. You will be able to download the table at the end. It is a protected document, you can print it at a low resolution, but no permission for editing. You can find workarounds, but please I beg you to show some respect for my work.

When training/helping users to start with advanced or shared actions, I often detect that newbies are not aware of the process needed to trigger an (advanced/shared) action: each action, whether a simple, shared  or advanced has to be linked to an 'Event', and that is the subject of this article. 

Events - out of the box

Lot of events to trigger an action are linked with interactivity, requiring  the user to act. That  is the case for Success/Last Attempt  events for (Shape) Buttons, Click Boxes, Text Entry boxes, interactive Learning interactions, Drag&Drop but also for Question/Knowledge Check slides. 

Less known are the actions that can be triggered when a Quiz is completed (Passed/Failed).

In that older blog post I mentioned the  Rollover slidelet which had  two events: on Rollover, and on Click. Since that object is no longer supported for HTML5 output, I took it out of the table. 

Object actions can be triggered by each drag event in a Drag&Drop slide and offer a lot of possibilities. Have a look at all the posts I published about Drag&Drop

Ignored by most users are the Hyperlink events. Such an event is not limited to 'hyperlink', but can trigger all sorts of actions, including Advanced actions. Find a example here.

Events that are not linked with interactivity are the slide events: when entering or when exiting a slide, you can have a simple, advanced or shared action to be executed. Have a look at the table to see possible limitations.

Often I get the question if an action can be triggered by time or by a frame. Not possible out of the box, but with micro-navigation, eventually the Delay Next actions command and/or the Timer/Hourglass interaction this limitation can be overridden. 

Overlay slides in Interactive Video, both the content and KC slides have similare events to those in a normal project. However the events for the hotspots in a VR project or 360 image/video are more limited as are the overlay Quiz slides in a VR project.

Widget to extend events

InfoSemantics developed a HTML5 widget that is one of my favourites: the CpExtra Widget. Adding events to objects is only one of its multiple features. It is not free but if you are plunging really into advanced/shared  actions, please try it out because it can add as many events as you want to any object. A trial version is available.

InfoSemantics used to have a SWF widget (EventHandler), worked great, but with the EOL of Flash player for all browsers, not so useful anymore.

List

You can download the list from this link

First column (Event) identifies the event, second column (Assign action) shows in which Properties panel (PI) you can indicate the action to be triggered, third column is A Description. When necessary you’ll find some comment/use cases in the last column, which also mentions the possible limitations for the event. 

There are two  tables. First table shows events able to  trigger only one simple, shared or advanced action/ The second smaller table summarizes the events which can trigger one out of two possible actions based on a condition: validated TEB, question slides, scored Drag&Drop slides  and Quiz.

I would appreciate if you left some comment in case you find this list useful. If you find this list useful, I could offer some other tables as well.

Tips and Tricks for VR projects.

Intro

The ability to embed 360 images/video in an eLearning course is an enhancement (CP2019) which can be used in a lot of eLearning courses. As a civil engineer I think about the organisation of a construction site, detection of lack of safety in a building etc. The most recent release of Captivate allows to use those assets in two different type of projects: either a full VR project, or on individual slides in a normal cptx project.  You will have to use a normal (blank) project, as far as I know it is not possible in a responsive project with fluid boxes.

A VR project will be created right from the welcome screen. It can only have slides with a 360 Image or Video. All other Slide types except 360 slide are dimmed under the big button Slides, and the menu Insert is completely dimmed. You can add hotspots to trigger several possible actions,to the 360 slides, and overlay Question slides (not KC slides) where two types are possible: T/F and MCQ). The score slide is available but will not show up as overlay for the 360 slide, you’ll have to define a background slide for it.  I will offer some tips for the overlay Quiz slides, and for the Quiz Preferences.

If you use a 360 slide in a normal (blank) cptx-project (tp be inserted from the big button Slides), you’ll have the same hotspot functionality but will not be able to have overlay question slides. However you can use normal quiz slides and KC slides in the project. You’ll find more information about 260 slides in a future blog post.

In this article I will only talk about VR Projects using 360 Image slides. You can use multiple slides of that type, also 360 video slides, but no static slides.

VR project

Overlay Quiz slides – tips

Quiz Preferences

Quiz Preferences are available for the graded Overlay Quiz slides. But lot of the options are dimmed. Reporting setup is the same as in any other project with a quiz. In Settings options are limited to:

  • add the Clear button
  • add the Review navigation buttons if Review is allowed for the learner
  • hide or show the Score slide
  • allow Review

As usual for all Quizzes in Captivate, I strongly recommend to keep the Required field set to the default ‘Optional’ to avoid problems. You have same control over Quiz Result Messages and Quiz Review Messages as in any other quiz.

In Pass or Fail you can set the passing score (in % or points). But for the number of attempts on quiz level, you have only th choice between 1 or Infinite Attempts. In the last case you should activate the Retake button on the Score slide. There are no actions possible for Passing or Failing grade. No advanced actions are possible in a VR project, not only here for the Quiz, but also for the hotspots, for the On Enter events of any slide.

Default Labels are stripped out as you can see in this screenshot. It is impossible to change a style, only the Feedback messages, Clear and Submit button labels are available:

Styling the Quiz and Score slides

In a VR project, Themes are not available. Moreover the Object Style Manager cannot be used (as you did see in Quiz Preferences, Default Labels).  That seems to be a show stopper if you want to implement the font and colors that are part of your company’s default styles. However it is possible, manually,  to change the font and other features of the different text containers on quiz and score slides. You can even use Typekit fonts. It is of course more work than just applying another style, which is a pity. Maybe launch a feature request?

Score slide

Since the score slide needs a background slide, I tried to add slide audio to that background slide. However that audio played, but only for 1,5sec. As usual the pausing point for the sore slide (as for quiz slides) was set at 1,5secs.  You can move that pausing point and increase the length of the slide. But I did not succeed to make the audio play in combination with the score slide showing up.

Hotspots and actions

A hotspot is similar to a click box, but without a duration. It shows in the Timeline up as a brown circle. If you just add a number of hotspots without touching the timeline, they will all show up on the first frame of the slide, which means they’ll all be available to the learner at the same time, when in ‘Exploratory’ mode. If you prefer to use the ‘Guided’ mode, the sequence used to show a hotspot is following the stacking order: bottom hotspot shows up first, top hotspot last:

You can also scatter the hotspots over the timeline. But I will dedicate a separate article to the timelines of the 360 image and video slides in a near future:

Possible actions triggered by clicking hotspots are limited:

  • Show/Hide Playbar
  • Navigation commands: Go to Previous Slide, Go to Next Slide, Jump to Slide, Go to Last Visited Slide
  • No Action, Continue, Exit
  • Play Audio/Stop Triggered Audio.  There are more ways to have audio playing in a VR project:
    • You can add slide audio.  There is no way to pause that slide audio however with a custom action triggered by a hotspot (Pause is lacking in the commands). The only way to pause or mute the audio is with a playbar that has the appropriate buttons.
    • Hotspot audio: you can add audio to a hotspot like with any object. Be aware of the fact that this audio will play when the object becomes visible. This means that if the hotspots are all in the first frame, all audio clips start playing immediately (maybe even parallel with slide audio). If you scatter the hotspots, this is a way to combine a Display Text or Image command with audio. More info later in an article about the Timeline of a 360 Slide.
    • I mentioned above that adding
  • Display Text: the text will always be in Times New Roman, no way to change the style at all. The only possible workaround I see at this moment is to create an image with text in the appropriate font, size and color. Beware: you need to have a background for the text, or it will not show up. You also have to take care of eventual have a lower opacity, which means you will be limited to PNG  images, because JPEG doesn’t support transparency. Here is an example of a simple text image which I created in Word (text box, not simple text), captured with Snagit and lowered the opacity to 80% (this is not visible here, but shows well up in the VR project.:
  • Display Image: can also be combined with audio as explained before, and is probably the most versatile way of adding information. I mostly use it also for Text display?

Zooming?

The question has appeared a couple of times in the forums. It is not possible to zoom in on the 360 image, hoping this will make it in a future release. At this moment, a possible workaround is to take a 2D enlarged image and insert it on a hotspot that displays that image. Not the real stuff of course. I used it to display a full shot of my kitchen appliances in a 3D image of my kitchen.

Interactive Video, Navigation Bookmarks

Intro

Interactive Video is without any doubt my favourite new feature in Captivate 2019. It makes adding some interactivity to a passive video very easy compared with the old workflows which I used to simulate such an interactive video in previous versions. I had in mind to blog about some possible workflows that could add even more functionality. A user posted a question today about Bookmarking for Navigation. I had already some workflows in mind, and want to share one of them with you. I tried it out on the sample project provided with Captivate. That project has only two bookmarks, which are labeled 'ExerciseBenefits' and 'O3Jump'. the workflow can easily be extended to more bookmarkst. We'll create a shape button to pop up a menu. 

Popup menu

To create the menu, which is hidden when the video starts, I used a shape,  but you can use a text caption as well. I filled that shape with one word for each of the bookmarks. In this case I used the words 'First ' and 'Second'. Those words will be indicated as hyperlinks. Hyperlinks have a lot more functionality than just pointing to an URL, as I explained in some blog posts.

Close button

Dropdown menu

The menu for hyperlinks is missing some options (which I regret): you will not see the option 'Jump to Bookmark' nor 'Execute Shared Action'. My only choice was to use the command 'Execute Advanced Actions'.  That means that you have to create as many advanced actions as you have bookmarks. They are very simple oneliners, but with a simple action or a shared action it would be a better workflow.  It is also impossible to prevent release of the playhead, but that is not really an issue in this case since we are creating navigation actions, and the video may continue to play when it gets to the chosen bookmark.

The shape with the hyperlinked texts needs to be invisible in output, and timed for the rest of the slide. If you have multiple video slides, and you want one menu for all videos,  time it for the rest of the project. Because the overlays are possible, you'll not have any problem to have the shape being visible on top of the video.

Menu Button

The menu button (which you could see in the screenshot with the popup shape) is a shape button. I added a custom state 'Close' to the 3 InBuilt states, where the label is changed from Menu to Close. To avoid confusion I took out the label from the Rollover and Down state which are used both for the open and closed version of the button:

The button is a toggle button, to track the visibility of the popup shape I needed a user variable (Boolean) which I labeled v_visib as usual. Default value = 0, which means the popup shape is closed and the Normal state of the button is active. When the button is clicked to open the popup, the state will change to Close, and the variable will be toggled. This leads to a conditional action which I have described/used already many times:


Conclusion

I hope you liked this workflow which is not included by default. You can add this toggle button to other buttons like an Audio/Mute and a CC button. If you missed it, you can find a workflow for that type of buttons in this blog post:.



Answer key for Survey

Intro

Once in a while a question like in this thread pops up:

“….students will need to answer short answer questions.  They will not be right or wrong, they will be their thoughts.  Is there a way to have all their answers compile into a final screen at the end?”

It seems logical to use short answer quiz slides, in Survey mode, for this use case. However I prefer to use one of the Learning Interactions, ‘Scolling Text’ for reasons I want to explain in this article, by describing both workflows with their specificities. It is up to you to decide which you’ll use. In both workflows variables will be important, hope you are familiar with them.

Short Answer quiz slides, Survey mode

Setup quiz slides

No right/wrong answer means that scoring has no sense, change the stqtus of the quiz slide to ‘Survey’. Nevertheless a score slide will be inserted but you can hide it easily.

Answers to quiz slides are stored in a reusable variable, cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice.After a short answer question the variable will contain the text typed in by the learner in the short answer field. Reusable means that the value will change after each short answer slide. Since we need to store each answer safely (for reusing on the slide at the end), you will need:

  • to create a user variable for each short answer question; I will label them v_First, v_Second, v_Third for the example you’ll see in the demo movie;
  • the default answer area is pretty small (one line), if you expect longer answers, make sure to increase the height of the answer area. It is not possible to edit the used master slide because it applies to multiple types of quiz slides;
  • the content of the system variable cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice is updated when the Submit button is clicked; it has to be transferred to the appropriate user variable, using the After Survey event; for that purpose I created a shared action with two commands:
    Assign v_First with cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice
    Go to Next Slide
    only parameter is the user variable (here v_First)
  • apply this shared action to each of the question slides, with the appropriate parameter.

Setup Answer Review slide

In the example movie I created one text container (shape or caption) and inserted the three user variables in it. Be careful to increase the number of characters to be shown when inserting the variables. You’ll also have to leave enough space for each variable. Of course you could create multiple text containers and/or have the answers distributed over multiple slides.

Using Scrolling Text interactions

A limitation of Short Answer quiz slide is that you can have only one answer per slide. When using a Scrolling Text interaction you can have several question on a slide as you can see in the example movie.

Setup interaction

Setup of the first answer box can be seen in this screenshot:

Two important items are indicated  in the screenshot:

  1. You have to type in the name of the variable to be used. There is no way to use a dropdown list. Beware: you have to create the variable, it is not created uatomatically.
  2. To allow text to be typed in by the user, the checkbox ‘ReadOnly’ has to be unchecked. By default it is checked.

It would have been possible to enter the question in the interaction, instead of having it in a separate text container. I preferred not to do it. Reason: if the user adds the answer, instead of overwriting the question, the variable will contain html tags, like <br>.

The Submit button, which you’ll see on the slide, triggers  the (default) action ‘Go to Next Slide’.

Since I reused the three user variables in this part of the example, I have created an advanced action triggered on Enter to empty the user variables with the technique described in this article.:

Setup Answer Review slide

Very easy: duplicate the slide with the interactions, and take out the On Enter action to reset the variables. The interactions are now populated with the given answers. Moreover the learner can still edit those answers, because of the option ‘ReadOnly’ being unchecked. If you don’t want it, check the option ‘ReadOnly’ on this duplicate slide.

It is also possible to use a similar slide for the first workflow with short answer quiz slides. That will be useful if you want indeed to allow editing the answers.

Example movie


Rare Tips for Shared Actions

Intro

It is not a secret that I am a big fan of Shared Actions. A project without at least one shared action is a big exception to me. From what I hear and read, lot of you don't realize how much time you can save with those mysterious action. This short article will offer some ideas where Shared Actions are used for (maybe) a totally different situation than you expect.

1. Creation of Variables

If you are reading this post, it is very likely that you use system variables as well as user variables. Do you create user variables in each project, and include a proper description and eventually default values?  I have a list of variables which I use very often in projects, here are some examples:

  • v_null: an empty variable used to check if Text Entry Boxes remained empty after a learner clicked its Submit button, or to reset the variable associated with a TEB.
  • v_counter: as the name tells to track a number of clicks, attempts....
  • v_visit: for situations where the content of a slide has to be different on a later visit, you want to track if the slide has been visited
  • v_one, v_two, v_three....: number of variables that can be used for different use cases, like tracking clicks on hotspots, finishing chapters...

Knowledge fact: when you import a shared action in another project, variables not defined as parameters, will be created including the description and default value.

I have a shared action with a list of Assign commands, one for each of those often used variables. It doesn't matter what you assign at all. I drag that shared action from my external Library with shared actions to each new project. Variables are ready for use, even as parameters in other shared actions. 

  

2. Shared Action without Parameters

Sounds very strange, because the reusability of a shared action is based on parameters? I already gave a first example of such a parameter-less SA under 1.  It is much safer and easier to transfer a shared action to another project than an advanced action. You use the shared action directly or convert it to an advanced action if you prefer (maybe for more editing). Here is an example:

 I use this action to calculate the reference time in seconds (to be used later in calculations) of a frame, mostly the first or last frame of a slide. Defined as a shared action, it needs no parameters. Once dropped into the project Library, I can use it for any frames where I want a reference time.

3. Shared Action as Template 

You can copy an object or a slide, which has advanced actions attached to a new project. But that is not always working great. If you have navigation in the advanced action 'Jump to Slide', that command will often be reset to 'Continue' if that slide is not found. Same for objects, variables etc. 

Less known is that any shared action can be used as a template to create an advanced action. In the top left of the Advanced Actions dialog box, you are used to see 'Blank' which is the default template for an action. Open the dropdown list, and you'll find all shared actions in the project as extra templates:

Choose one of them, you'll have to fill in the parameters, add a name, edit the commands (delete, add as you want) and save as an advanced action. 

Example: a shared action triggered On Enter for a dashboard, checking a number of tracking variables and showing something special after all variables prove that everything has been visited. You can set up the shared action for 4 variables. If you need less or more variables, convert the action to an advanced action and edit it!

What about you?

Do you use shared actions? Did you like these tips? Do you want to have some training about variables/advanced/shared actions?  I love seeing comments on my posts, and promised: you will always get an answer!


Rollover in Fluid Boxes?

Intro

One of the type of objects that is indicated by the tracker as not compatible with HTML output are rollovers: rollover caption, rollover image, rollover slidelet, rollover shape. However if you ignore that warning for a non-responsive project, the rolloverrs will work fine when used with a mouse on a desktop or laptop screen (with the exception or the slidelet, which you should avoid at all times). Its functionality will not work on a mobile device, even not when using a stylus. But the 'mouse' users have that functionality.

However when you create a responsive project using Fluid Boxes, the options for inserting a rollover are greyed out. There is no way to add them. Is there a workaround to have rollovers for desktop/laptop users? That question appears once in a while in forums or social medai. In this post I will talk about my tentavies to mimick a rollover..

Example Movie

I cannot insert a responsive movie in a blog post. Use this link to have access to it. Try it out on a laptop or desktop screen: roll over the buttons in the left and in the right most Fluid box. You'll see rollovers for the big Blue buttons which do not have a real button functionality. The red buttons on the right are active, a hint message appears when rolling over the buttons. You can click those red buttons. This is a static screenshot of that slide (which appears after the poster image and the first slide):

If you try this on a tablet or a smartphone, rollovers will not appear. I tested on iPad and on an Android (HTC) phone.

First Mimick: Hint Messages

You did see the Hint messages for the red buttons when hovering over them. If you use a tablet or a phone they will not show up. Those buttons have the InBuilt States 'Rollover' and 'Down', but only the Down state will be visible on those mobile devices. This is the Object state panel for the second button:

For interactive objects it is possible to check the option 'Hint message' in the Actions tab. In all themes included with Captivate those messages are no longer in a caption but in a shape. The hint message appears wh

There are some problems with this solution:

  • Buttons and Hint messages will share the real estate in the (normal) Fluid Box.
    That is a waste of space especially for mobile screens where those hints never appear. and the buttons may shrink too much as you can see here:
  • I tried to use a static fluid box for each button+hint to be able to stack the Hint message over the button but that leads to very ugly flickering and is excluded.
  • You don't have control over the exact size of the buttons, and certainly not over the HInt messages (look at the screenshots above). This may be not so important since you'll only watch on a big screen, but nevertheless.

Second Mimick: Rollover State

With the blue shape buttons I demonstrated that you can fill the Rollover state with Text (mimicking a rollover caption), with an image (mimicking a Rollover Image) and with both. Here is a screenshot of the second shape button, having an image and text:

The effect is quite nice, provided you use rather big shape buttons as was the case here:

There is a possible problem when using images: they can be distorted if the option 'Maintain Aspect ratio' is unchecked. That was the case in the example, and can lead to distortion:

Shared Action for Red buttons

The active red buttons trigger a shared action which will change the state of a shape (showing explanations), add a star to a progress indicator and have it animated. If you have read blog posts written by me, you know that I am a big fan of Shared Actions.