Editing Ready-to-go slides (Quick Start Projects) - part 2: Interactions

Intro

Many users wanting to take advantage of the Ready-to-go slides available through the Assets panel in 11.5, are blocked when trying to customize those slides. In a previous article I offered a step-by-step workflow to find texts or images you want to replace by your text or images. That was not so hard, and you learned to use several panels (Timeline, Master Slide, Object States, Library).

For Interactions the situation is more complicated. You will not find a complete 'How-to' in this blog. Some interactions are rather easy to understand and customize, other interactions however need an in-depth knowledge of Advanced actions and variables. Those slides never use Shared actions, which would be easily found in the Project Library. This blog will try to help you identify the components (actions) of the interactions, how to 'read' them and tips for customizing. The workflow will be explained using a Knowledge Check slide from the project 'Alliance'. The interaction can be told to be of intermediate level. Understanding this workflow will allow you to customize easy and intermediate level interactions. For more complicated interactions this may not be sufficient. Maybe find help from someone experienced in Advanced actions.

Step 1: Find Interaction components

On the slide with the Interaction to identify, open the Advanced Interaction panel from the Project menu or with the shortcut key F9. The slide will be selected in that panel and with the default setup you will see all the actions in that slide, and the events to which they are attached. Here is an example:
The selected slide is slide 26, labeled Knowledge Check in the Quick Start Project 'Alliance'. You see in the table that the On Enter slide event has no action attached, the field 'On Success' on the slide line mentions 'No Action'. This means that the interaction is only created using Success events of interactive objects, which you can also find in this panel.

The level below slide level shows all interactive objects and their Success actions (when clicked) in the 'On Success' column. In this case 5 Smartshapes have been defined with the option 'Use as button' and they all trigger an Advanced action. From the labeling of the objects and the actions you can suspect that 4 of those advanced actions are similar (on shapes KC1 - KC4) and one is unique (on the unlabeled Smartshape). When you select one of the lines associated with an interactive object, the object will be selected on the slide. 

Step 2: "Read" actions (components of interaction)

Let us continue with the same slide from the Alliance project. Select the object KC_1. Its Properties panel shows up, switch to the Actions tab. Open the Advanced action 'KnowledgeCheck_Select1' by clicking the Browser icon. It shows a list with 5 lines, which I will label as 'commands':

The first command line 'Assign.... true': gives a value 'true' to a user variable 'sales_knowledgeCheck_correct'. The name of this variable indicates that it needs to be true for a correct answer, 'false' for a wrong answer. You can check this by reading one of the actions on the three other objects (KC_2...KC_4), where you will read that the given value is 'false'. 

The other command lines are used to change states for the objects, to indicate which object has been selected (active). You can find more explanations about multi-state objects in the first part which I mentioned in the intro.

Open now the unique action 'KnowledgeCheck', linked to the unnamed Smartshape_337. In the Timeline you can see that it is the Submit shape button.  In the Advanced Actions dialog box you see that this is 'conditional' (marked in red). In that case "reading' will be easier if you switch to the Preview window, which you do with the arrow button top right, which I marked with a green box:

In the Preview window you see that the state of two multistate objects will be changed depending on the value of the user variable sales_knowledgeCheck_correct. Identifying those multistate objects allow you to edit the states as explained in the first blog.

Step 3: Customizing examples/tips

In the example the first answer is deemed to be correct.  You can move the shape buttons KC1-KC4 around, to put the correct answer in another location. No problem, the interaction will continue to work as expected.

Less answers

You can safely delete one of the wrong answers in this particular use case. That may not be the case for all interactions. Here however the final action (Submit button) is in no way checking or taking into account the number of answers. You only need at least one correct and one wrong answers.

More answers

If you want an extra answer, you'll have to decrease the size of the answer shapes KC1-KC4. For the 5th answer you can duplicate one of the answers with the right-click menu or the shortcut key CTRL-D (Cmnd-D on Mac). Use the Align options (or toolbar) in the right-click menu to put everything in place. The name of the duplicate answer will probably start with KC_ as well, but not necessarily be 'KC_5'. You don't need to edit the name but I did so (Properties panel) just to clarify. That duplicate answer will have the same states as the source answer. You can check using the Object State panel.

It is however necessary:

  1. To edit the existing action for the four older answers, because the state change for the new answer needs to be added.
  2. To create and edit a duplicate advanced action for this new answer.

Editing actions KnowledgeCheck_Select1....

Open one of those actions using the Browser icon in the Actions tab (see Step 2 for a screenshot).

The first command line is fine. The Change State lines set the state for the selected answer to Active, the other answers get state Normal. For all those actions a sixth command is necessary to set the state of the new answer to Normal. Steps for KnowledgeCheck_Select1 are indicated in the screenshot below and you'll find the numbers in the explanation:

  1. Select the last command line
  2. Use the Copy button
  3. Move to the next empty command line
  4. Use the Paste button
  5. Double-click the empty third field and type KC: only the items having KC in their name will appear. Remember: I named the new answer 'KC_5'
  6. Choose 'KC_5'
  7. Click the down arrow in the next field.
  8. Choose the state 'Normal'.
  9. Click the button 'Update action' at the bottom and the action is complete now, including the 5th answer.
  10. To save time editing the three remaining actions, use the Copy button again on the last command line which sets the state to Normal for the last answer KC_5..

Switch to the action KnowledgeCheck_Select2 using the top right dropdown list:

Go immediately to the first empty command line and use Paste (step 4), and save the action (step 9)
Repeat step 10 and do the same for KnowledgeCheck_Select3 and KnowledgeCheck_Select4.
Do not close the Advanced Actions dialog box, you still need a fifth action.

Creation of KnowledgeCheck_Select5

The new action will be created as a duplicate of KnowledgeCheck_Select4. Select that action in the Advanced actions dialog box, follow the steps in the screenshot below

  1. Duplicate the action
  2. Edit the name to KnowledgeCheck_Select5
  3. Set the state of KC_4 to Normal instead of Active
  4. Set the state of KC_5 to Active instead of Normal
  5. Save the action and close the dialog box.

You still need to attach this new action to the answer KC_5 and you are ready for testing:

Tip: if you want to explore the Advanced Actions dialog box, you can read this blog.

More?

This is only one example of customizing a Ready-to-go slide. Some interactions are more complicated in those projects, some are easier. If you are in for a challenge, look for the Flipcard interactions, Glossary interaction or some Click/Reveal interactions. 

Do not hesitate to post questions, comments if you are stuck. If possible I will try to help.

Editing Ready-to-go slides (Quick Start Projects) - part 1: Text and Images

Intro

The Quick Start Projects (QSP) available under the Assets button in Captivate 11.5 are popular. It is understandable that new (and other) users look for inspiration and to save some time by using existing design layouts and interactions.

In the past I already posted some articles with tips about inserting Slides from those projects in your project. To customize those slides you often want to edit texts and replace images. If you are new to Captivate, finding an image can be frustrating. You expect to be able to select an image by clicking it on the stage, but that is not always the case. This article will try to help you in your search. Follow the steps in sequence. Depending on the situation you will not need all steps. Meanwhile you may discover some ‘tools’ as well.

Text mostly is not that hard to find, although there are some exceptions which will be mentioned. All steps here, except when indicated, are valid both for non-responsive (blank) and responsive projects. Example screenshots are taken from the available Quick Start Projects.

If you find this helpful, will write another article about customizing interactions. That will be not as easy, and may need more learning about tools.

Steps

Step 1: Timeline panel

In the newbie UI the timeline panel is collapsed at the bottom, and you see only its title bar. Open the Timeline panel by clicking the Title bar. This is your primary tool. You may ignore that this panel can also be used to select objects like images and text containers instead of clicking them on the stage. Especially when you have a lot of objects, which overlap, this may be an easier for selection. Selected objects have a different color (darker blue) than unselected objects.

If you can select the image on the stage or on the Timeline panel, and you want only to replace that particular image, it is easy. Look in its Properties panel, where you’ll see the name of the image. Click that name and point to the new image. I would recommend to have it imported to the Library (see further), but you can also find it on your system. Once it is imported, it will automatically appear in the Project Library.

Screenshot is for the slide ’70/30 Layout with image horizontally’ from the QSP ‘Alliance’.

Tips:

  • Best practice is to have an image with exactly the same size in px as the original image. Click the button Edit image, to see the size of the image.
  • If you have several slides where you want to replace this same image, it is better to find the image in the Library. Use ‘Find in Library’ from the right-click menu on the image. Edit the image in a graphics application, where you can replace it. Keep the original name and all instances of that image will be replaced in your project.

Extra

I didn’t encounter this other possibility yet on a Ready-to-go slide but have not checked all of them. It is possible to have an image as background on a slide. In that case it will be visible on the state, but not on the Timeline. You can only see that image as shown in this screenshot:

You see that a Custom background is used. It is an Image, and under ‘Slide Color’ you see a preview of the image. Clicking the small triangle at the bottom allows you to choose another image.

Step 2: Image on Master slide

If you cannot select the image on the stage, nor in the Timeline it may be on the used Master slide.

Click the Master slide button, and the Filmstrip will be replaced by the Master Slide panel. The master slide on which your slide is based will automatically be selected. It is possible that need to scroll to see that selection, it is a thick blue border.

Keep the Timeline panel, it is also used by master slides. Try to select the image either on the stage or in the Timeline. If you are able to do so, you can replace that image the same way as on a slide. All slides based on this master slide will be updated automatically and show the new image.

Screenshot is for the slide ‘Image 1’ from the QSP ‘Wellbeing’.

Extra:

Similar to slides (and more used) an image can be used as Custom background in a master slide.


For a Fluid Boxes project it is also possible that a Fluid box is filled with an image. Same comment as with the background for master slide. I have not detected this use of images in the QSP-slides which I have screened.

Step 3: Multistate objects

No luck so far, no images on timeline of slide nor master slide? You are able to view that image when previewing the course, but it is not visible in the editing environment on the stage? In that case the mysterious image is probably in a state of a Multistate object. Same can be possible for text, which appears when previewing but is invisible on the stage when editing.

Find the multi-state object for hidden images?

Preview the slide (in browsers) and try out the interaction, mostly by clicking buttons or arrows. Try to remember one of the images which you want to replace.

When back in the editing environment, you probably will have an image on the stage. Use the right-click menu to ‘Find in Library’. The developers of the QSPs will have labeled the images in a consistent way. Try to find the image by scrolling in the neighbourhood of the selected image.

To see if it is used in a multistate object, click the Usage button in the Library. If this confirms that the image is on the same slide, you have found the multistate object.

Screenshot: this is the slide ‘Slideshow Layout’ from the QSP ‘Business’. The image which shows on the stage is labeled ‘photo_1’.  Near that image I found the one needing to be switched ‘photo_4’ and it is confirmed that this image is also used on slide 2., in state4.

Open the Object State panel by clicking the State view button in the Properties panel for the Multistate object.

In the Object State panel, find state4.  You can now follow the same workflow to exchange for another image as described on top for the very first step:

When you are finished editing states, you can return to more editing for the slide after clicking the Exit State button on top (bit far away IMO).

To find a hidden text, it is not so easy because texts are not in the Library. You need to preview. If the hidden text appears after having clicked some interactive object (button, arrow) try to remember its location and size. In that location you may have another text or image, but it can also be an invisible shape. In editing environment try clicking in the remembered location. If you see a selection rectangle with handles, try its State view button.

Typical slides with multistate objects are the Flipcard slides and the Accordion slides.  If you cannot find a text… ask here or in the Adobe forums. I have helped identifying multistate objects for multiple users.

Tips: adding Audio to QSP-slides (ready-to-go slides)

Intro

In some previous blogs I have warned to be careful with using the Switch to Destination Theme feature, have demonstrated an alternate but safer workflow to embed ready-to-go slides in a course with a custom theme. Because the themes in the responsive and non-responsive Quick Start Projects are not identical, I added a third post explaining the possible issues in the responsive version. That last post offers a free table with the names of all the master slides (including the most recent Alliance project).  It is an important resource if you want to avoid issues when embedding a ready-to-go slide. Issues occur when your present custom theme and the theme of the embedded slide have identically named master slides.

Only two QSP projects have audio in the Library: Rhapsody and Wired. The clips are used on the Podcast slide, triggered with the Play Audio command. As you all know, adding good Narration (VO) to an eLearning course will enhance the efficiency of that course considerably. Designers of the QSP’s have taken care of an easy replacement of graphical assets for you, but if you want to add narration or other audio to the course, you get no help.  This post will try to help you with some tips. It will not handle the creation of the audio clips, whether you use the TTS feature or a real audio recording. Only tips to avoid frustration when adding audio to the slides. Since the Closed Captioning feature of Captivate is limited to slide audio, the post will not explain how to add other types of audio. At the end you’ll find some more links which could help you in that case.

Adding audio clip

My usual workflow for inserting an audio clip as slide audio is:
  • Import the audio clips to the project Library
  • Drag the audio clip to the timeline of the slide (or to the stage, be careful not to drag to an object on the stage). Originally the slide timeline on most QSP slides is 3 seconds. If the audio clip is longer, a dialog box will appear. Choose the first option to extend the slide timeline.
  • Audio timeline appears below the slide timeline. I will increase the slide timeline duration manually bit more, so that I’m able to move the audio clip to leave a small gap before and after the audio.
  • You see in previous screenshot that all the object timelines have been extended automatically.  Reason is that most - but not all  - slides in the QSP are timed for the 'Rest of the Slide'. Check Timing Properties. Have also a look at Tip 1 below.

  • Test the audio, not by using Play Slide but by using a real Preview. This means for a non-responsive project that you need to use F11, Preview HTML5 in Browser. For responsive projects any Preview is fine. The three following tips are meant to fix problems detected during previewing.

Tip 1: Fix when objects disappear

In many slides, objects are timed for the Rest of the slide. Result: when the slide duration is increased to fit the audio clip, all object timelines will follow that example. However there are some exceptions, as seen in this screenshot:

In this slide (12 from Aspire) some objects have a timeline keeping the original duration of 3secs. When playing that slide in Preview, those objects will disappear after 3 seconds.

How to fix?

Select those objects which are not correctly timed. This can be done by clicking their timelines in combination with CTRL (or SHIFT for sequential timelines) key. TUsing the shortcut key ‘CTRL-E’ will change their timing to ‘Rest of Slide’. You can use the Timing properties of course.

Tip 2: Pause commands on slide events

Many slides in the Aspire project have the setup as shown in this screenshot.

This setup will prevent the audio clip on the slide from playing because the Pause command on the first frame will pause also slide a udio.

You have to take out that pause. You can safely replace it by ‘No action’ which is the default setting both for On Enter and On Exit slide events Result will be that the slide will not be paused, but the playhead will move seamlessly to the next slide when the audio has finished. That is IMO the most logical situation. If you want to mimick a presentation, where each slide is paused at the end and needs learner intervention, you can change the On Exit action to ‘Pause’ or add a button ‘Next’ to pause the slide. However do not forget that this may not be the best practice.

Many slides in the other QSP projects have set the On Exit event to Pause, to imitate  a Powerpoint presentation.  It is a personal liking, of course, but I prefer largely to have the playhead proceed to the next slide without learner action. If you share that idea, just take out the Pause for the On Exit event.

Tip 3: Pausing points

Contrary to the Pause command (see tip 2) a pausing point will not pause slide audio, although the playhead will be paused and so will all graphics assets/effects which are running or appear later.  By default, all pausing points will be set to occur at 1.5secs, either on the slide (for Quiz slides and Drag&Drop), or after the start of the interactive object timeline.

In most cases the increase of the slide duration due to inserting an audio clip will not cause problems, when the pausing point is due to an interactive object like a button. Reason is that the button will often trigger an action jumping to another slide, or revealing some content. The frames after the pausing point (inactive part) are not important in that case.

Possible issues can occur on quiz slides, if you insert an audio clip.  Here is an example (T/F slide 23 in Alliance):

You see the pausing point on the slide timeline at 1.5secs. Some smart shapes are not timed for the rest of the project (see Tip 1). However since the slide is paused at 1.5secs, before the end of those shape timelines, you’ll not be bothered by that while the audio continues playing (not paused). However, if while testing that slide, you have to wait a long time after the Submit process, and you see the shapes disappearing, that is due to the Actions setup in Quiz Properties. They were set in this slide as shown here:

Both actions are set to ‘Continue’, which means that the playhead is released. It will have to move through all frames after the pausing point (inactive part), and only moves to the next quiz slide after reaching the last frame. Not exactly what you want. Two possible fixes:

Fix 1: 

As is the case for other quiz slides in the QSP projects, replace the action ‘Continue’ by ‘Go to Next Slide’. You don’t have to bother about the wrongly timed smart shapes in that case.

Fix 2: 

Move the pausing point on the quiz slide with the mouse (not possible in Timing properties) to place it near the end of the slide. In that case you have to extend the smart shape timelines as explained in Tip 1. This workflow is recommended over the first fix,  if you expect slow connections with the LMS.

Similar problems can occur on Drag&Drop slides but will not expand on that. Know however that the pausing point is not visible on D&D slides in the Timeline panel as is the case for quiz slides.

Some links

If you are want some more information about the tips explained above. Not surprising, they all link to understanding the Timeline (priority 1 for each Captivate user). Maybe this blog (one of a sequence about the Timeline) can help you:

Pausing Captivate’s Timeline

For quiz slides, the Submit Process is explained in detail in this post:

Submit Process

If you want to add audio clips from another type than slide audio:

Pausing Timeline and Audio