Popups on Quiz slides?

Intro

This question appeared recently in the Adobe forums from a user wanting to use (shape) buttons to show popups: “….instruction pop-up is appearing under the question content…”. That is indeed a problem: all embedded quizzing objects (those without an individual timeline) have absolute priority in the stacking (z-order). They are always on top.  I have posted an answer to similar questions in the SWF-past years ago. In this short post, you’ll find a new example output, for HTML5  based on the same trick used before: use an object created on a slide before the quiz slides, time it for the rest of the project with the option ‘always on top’. That object will cover the embedded quiz objects. In the past I used Show/Hide to make it visible, but now of course I took advantage of multistate objects and my favorite shared actions.

Example project

Watch this published project. on any device (rescalable), or the embedded one below (fixed resolution). On the quiz slides you’ll find two extra toggle buttons ‘Info’ and ‘Score’ which can be used to open and close a popup (in reality I change the state of an object).


I used some ready-to-go slides from the project ‘Earth’. I didn’t allow Review, and the score slide is not included. As usual, needed to edit the embedded slides. Several slides have a Pause On Enter, which is never a good idea IMO.

Setup

Multistate objects

Both popups triggered by the extra shape buttons labeled ‘Info’ and ‘Score’ are multistate objects with 2 states:

  1. Normal state is a shape with Alpha = 0 and Stroke = 0. This means it is invisible to the user
  2. State popup exists for both buttons, and has the necessary information to pop up. I used only text, but you can also add images or even event video.. For the Score button I used inserted system variables (cpQuizInfoPointsscored and cpQuizInfoPointsPerQuestionSlide). That way popup will have different values on each quiz slide.

The  multistate content shape objects (SS_Info and SS_Score) are inserted on the second slide ‘Instructions’ which is the slide preceding the first question slide.  This is very important, don't try to do it on the first question slide itself. I added a button Continue to that slide to replace the Pause On Enter. The multistate object timelines start after the pausing point of the button. They are timed for the rest of the project with the option ‘Place object on top’. Since their Normal state makes them invisible to the learner, no need to mess with Show/Hide.

Variables (Boolean)

Two Boolean variables were created, labeled v_info and v_score.  Their default value = 0, corresponding with the Normal state of the two mulitstate content shapes SS_Info and SS_Score.

Shape buttons

On the first quiz slide I created two shape buttons, which have exactly the same look as the Transparent buttons used on the quiz slide (Submit button). These buttons SB_Info and SB_Score are also timed for the rest of the project with the option ‘Place object on top’. In this example Review is not allowed, which avoids the possible overlapping by the Review navigation buttons. Of course it is possible to hide the shape buttons in review mode if necessary. I did take out the pausing point for both Info and Score button. As you can see in the timeline, I moved the slide pausing point towards the end of the quiz slide to avoid waiting after the second step in the Submit process.

Actions and events

Hide buttons On Enter for Exit slide

The buttons SB_Info and SB_Score - timed for the rest of the project -  have to be hidden on that slide, which can be done with a simple action (if you group the buttons) or with a two-command advanced action. It is not necessary to hide the multistate objects. They will always return to their Normal state on each slide, which means they are invisible to the learner.

Success action buttons SB_Info and SB_Score

A conditional action is needed. I preferred a shared action with 4 parameters. I suppose this is an action which can be used in many projects. If you import the shared action into a new project (from an External Library or with the Import functionality), you do not have to create the variables, only multistate content objects. The shared action is derived from this advanced action:

Each of the four parameters is marked  with a color. One of the big advantages of shared actions over advanced actions are the descriptions which explain clearly what you have to choose, see this screenshot which is for the second button SB_Score:


More?

Here are some possible changes or extensions of the idea, which is basically that you need the popups present on the slide BEFORE the first quiz slide and timed for the rest of the project.

  • I used only text in a shape, but the popups can be anything, you can add images, video....
  • With the present setup both popups can be visible at the same time. If you don't like that, add an extra command to the shared action (and a parameter) where you change the state for the 'other' popup back to Normal.
  • You do not like the way popups have to be closed with the same toggle button? It is not possible to add interactive objects to a state, except to the Normal state. You can also insert a hyperlink like an X to the normal state. But that means you have to switch the content filled state (which is Popup at this moment) and the empty state. Bit more work but doable. About using Hyperlinks to trigger actions, have a look at More is in a Hyperlink
  • If you want individual content in the popup, different for each quiz slide, remember you can use a variable to store content. Insert the variable in the content popup and populate it with the On Enter action of the quiz slide.
  • ....


Interactive Video Buttons

Intro

When I posted the article about Pausing the Timeline (part of the sequence of articles about that most important panel), I promised to add some use cases to illustrate using pause and pausing points. Let us start with a  simple use case, based on a recent forum question in this thread: Interactive Video Buttons


Use Case - description

It is clear that the user is not aware of the difference between pausing the timeline by an interactive object (pausing point) and by the command Pause. The idea is that the learner, while a video is playing, can launch a popup that has some static content (text, images...). While that popup is opened, the video should pause. On closing the popup the video should resume playing. The user proposed to have a close button for that purpose, which is the easiest solution (Scenario 1 below).   hyperlink instead of the close button as I described in this article: More is in a hyperlink - Close button

It could also be done with defining the open button as a toggle button Scenario 2).

For both scenarios it is necessary to insert the video as a multi-slide synchronized video to be able to control the video with Captivate functionality. If you insert the video as event video it will play totally independent from Captivate.

Scenario 1 

In this scenario the popup will appear with one button, and be hidden by another button or hyperlink. 

This makes it possible to have two actions, simplifies the setup: no need for a variable, no need for a conditional action. You can use two standard actions. If you want multiple buttons and popups, or expect to be using this work flow in other projects, I strongly recommend to create shared actions instead of advanced actions. This article will describe only the advanced standard actions.

Have a look at the setup of the slide. Look at the Timeline panel. It has only 3 objects (from bottom to top: video, shape button, popup). In the screenshot the shape button SB_Info is selected. It will open the popup 'Info'. Look at the Timing properties of the button. The option to pause is unchecked (which is not the default situation), the shape button is timed for the rest of the slide. The result is that the button will be active for the whole slide, there is no inactive part. 
The popup in this example is a shape used as text container, labeled 'Info'. That popup has to be invisible in output (eye icon in the Properties panel). If you expect that the slide can be revisited,  a better approach is to use the On Enter event of the slide to hide this popup 'Info'. To close the popup I preferred using a hyperlink over a close button.  The popup is ta single object. If you prefer to have a 'real' close button, you'll end up with two objects (text +  button). In that case you can group them, to reduce the number of commands for showing and hiding.

Standard Advanced Action ShowContent

This action is triggered by the Success event of the button SB_Info as you see in this screenshot:

After showing the popup (only one text container, can also be a group), I choose to disable the button SB_Info. If you want it to more user friendly, you can add a custom state 'Inactive' to that button and change to that state. This will avoid confusion for the user, some may expect that button to be a toggle, which is not the case in this first scenario. The last command will pause the timeline unconditionally, resulting in both video and audio to be paused.

Standard Advanced Action CloseContent

to be triggered by the hyperlink over the big X character:
if you prefer a Close button, this same action will be triggered by the Success event of that button; you can use exactly the same action. If you are using a responsive project, or HTML5 output only, the work flow with a button is to be preferred because the hyperlink event is not to be trusted with HTML5 output.

It is a similar advanced action (use the duplicate feature), with three commands which are the opposite of those in ShowContent: Hide (was Show), Enable (was Disable), and Continue which will release the Playhead, both video and audio will resume.

Scenario 2 

In this scenario aToggle button is used both for opening and closing the popup.

In that case you can use an approach similar to what I explained in: 1 action = 5 toggle buttons
It is a little bit more complicated because:
  • You need an extra custom state for the popup button which indicates that it changes to a close button after having opened a popup:
  • You'll need a variable to track the status: I will use v_visib, a Boolean, with value = 0 when the popup is not visible,
    and value = 1 when the popup is visible; since I used a shared action from an external library, that variable is created automatically.

  • You'll need a conditional advanced action to be triggered by the Success action of the button:, this is the advanced action version created based on the shared action:

More Possibilities

An interactive video will often be spread over multiple slides, to offer navigation buttons to different parts of the video. It is not a problem to have the scenarios available on all slides: time both the button and the popup groups for the rest of the project, always on top.

I mentioned the possibility to group a close button with text, but groups with more objects are possible as well: image, shape, animations. Group all together, hide the group On Enter for the slide, and you only have to replace the single object in the scenarios above by the group. 

Turn the actions into shared actions, and keep them in a separate project. You can open the Library of that project as an external Library in future projects. Especially the toggle action, it will save time because you don't have to create the user variable.

Future use case, example of Pausing the timeline, will be about audio. It is more complicated because there are several ways to use audio in Captivate, perhaps I will need more than one post.

More is in a...hyperlink - Close button

Intro

A while ago I published a list with events able to trigger an action, whether it is a simple, advanced or shared action. Most commonly used events are the slide events, Success/Failure events for interactive objects, Question slide and Quiz events, D&D events. Both the hybrid rollover slidelet events (now deprecated because it is not supported for HTML output) and the Hyperlinks are 'outsiders' but can be very useful as I want to point out with this article (Closing popup or lightbox) and the next article (creating a dropdown list with Jump to actions, equivalent of the former 'Goto Slide' widget). 

Example movie

Watch this two-slide example.

  1. The title slide has a text hyperlink 'Next' to proceed to the next slide.

  2. The second slide has six shape buttons, each opening a popup (it could have been a lightbox as well, work flow is identical). In the popup information you'll find  the text 'Close X' which is a hyperlink  to close the popup.


States and Hyperlink

It is not possible to add interactive objects to a custom state: button, click box, shape button, Text Entry Box, all are greyed out. However it is possible to have a hyperlink within a text container, that will be active for all states of that container. This can be a welcome workaround. It is however not possible to have different actions for the hyperlinks in different states. Since the goal here was to close the popup, I created a shape as text container with 7 states as you can see in this screenshot:

The 'Normal', or default state looks invisible: there is no text in the text container with the exception of the text hyperlink 'Close X'. This was achieved by giving the text hyperlink the color of the background, the text container a Fill with Alpha=0% and no stroke. The other states have a Fill (Alpha=100%), they have information text with a visible color (also for the Text Hyperlink) and an image.

Actions

1. Next Hyperlink - Title Slide

The commands for Hyperlinks look a little bit different than the dropdown list in the Actions tab. For hyperlinks commands 'Go to Next Slide', 'Go to Previous Slide' and 'Jump to Slide' are in one dialog box:

2. Shape buttons to open popup - Second slide 'ActionProcess'

Look at the timeline of the second slide: all shape buttons (name starts with SB_) pause the slide at the same time, 15,5 secs. When triggering an action, the playhead should not be released, to allow clicking as many times as wanted, in any sequence on those shape buttons. The number of attempts is left at Infinite.

The only command to be triggered is to change the state from the default 'Normal' state to one of the custom states. The choice is yours: 

  • you can use a simple action (be sure to uncheck the option 'Continue Playing the Project'
  • you can use a one-line advanced action, create duplicates for each button; playhead will not be released
  • you can use a one-line shared action with two parameters (text container and state).

3. "Close X" hyperlink - in text container second slide

Beware: there is NO option to prevent 'Continue Playing the Project' when you assign a command to a hyperlink. That means that you cannot use a simple action, but have to use a standard advanced in this case.It is again the action 'Change state...to Normal.' 

Another difference for hyperlink events: the command Excecute Shared Action is missing. That is too bad, because if it had been available, one shared action would have been able to achieve both showing popup (with the 6 shape buttons) and close the popup (with the Hyperlink).

Conclusion

Hyperlink makes it possible to have an action in a state for an object, although it has to be the same action for each state of the object. You learned about the differences between hyperlink events and other events to trigger an action:

  • There is no way to prevent the playhead from being released if you trigger a simple action; use a standard advanced action.
  • You cannot trigger a shared action with a hyperlink.
  • Some commands have a different look: example is the Slide command (see screenhot in this article).