On Thursday 4th of October I presented a webinar about my favourite new feature in version 6: shapes used as buttons. In this blog you could already read how to use those shape buttons on Master slides or timed for the rest of the project. Using them on question slides is a bit more tricky as I explained in the webinar. Question slides are always like difficult kids to handle, and this didn't change with regard to shape buttons.
Individual Shape button
Inserting a shape on an individual question slide is not a problem, and there is no limltiation: you can even insert a button from the Buttons category (that is already converted to a button and has an action attached to it).
- Be careful if you provide a pausing point for the shape button. A question slide has its pausing point by default at half its duration. This pause will be released after the second step in the submitting process (1st = Submit, 2nd = Y or click on slide). If the shape button pauses before the Question slide pause, clicking on it to do something (like showing a text caption, an image, playing audio) will not be possible after the second step of the submitting process is completed. If you have the shape button pausing after the question slide pause, the playhead will stop at that pausing point after the submit/Y process has been done which could confuse the user.
- If the objects that pop up when clicking the shape button do cover up the question, do not forget to provide a possibility to hide them again, either with the same or with another button.
- It will probably be necessary to reset everything when returning to the slide (if this could happen, perhaps for a second Quiz attempt or Review). You can use the On Enter event of the slide for that purpose.
- It can be annoying to select an object on a Question slide that is not one of the native Question slide objects that have always priority. It is much easier to select them in the Timeline than on stage.
Shape buttons for multiple question slides
As you know from previous blog posts, the real power of shape buttons is that they can be used on master slides or timed for the rest of the project so that they can be used on multiple slides without having to copy/paste and to edit all (advanced) actions because the ID's of objects change on each slide. But here there are some problems for using those work flows on question slides as I discovered. Here is the history of my exploration, if you want to skip immediately to the example and how it was created, feel free:
- If you check the Timing dropdown list for a shape button on a question slide you'll see that the option 'Show for rest of project' is NOT available.Difficult kid.... you know :-) This means that the work flow where you extend the life of a shape button on a first question slide to all question slides is impossible.
- However it is possible to put a shape button on a Question master slide (you have to put them on all the master slides that you need for the questions). This work flow remains possible but has its restrictions: the shape button has no ID which means that it cannot be hidden/shown on discrete slides, it cannot be timed, and if you choose a pause (not to be recommended in this case) it will always be at the end of the slide.
- When opening the dropdown list for the actions in the Action accordion, you'll have a new surprise: some options are dimmed, not available. You cannot show/hide anything, nor apply an effect. It is logical that Disable/Enable are dimmed as well, because none of the question slide objects can be controlled, and a shape button itself cannot be enabled/disabled. It is the only interactive object allowed on a question slide.
- But when you choose 'Execute Advanced Actions' and open the dialog box, you'll have another surprise: here the three actions banned from the simple actions list are available. That is a relief, isn't it? But weird...
- So I tried out an example - you'll see it in the movie. I wanted to offer the user a shape button that would pop up a text container (shape) showing the value of the present question slide (points attributed to it) and the score obtained until that question. For both data there is a system variable: cpQuizInfoPointsPerQuestionSlide and cpQuizInfoPointsscored. So this text container can be the same for every Question slide. The way to go is to create that Text container, display it for the rest of the project. That way it has a unique ID and can be popped up with the same advanced action on each question slide. Bummer, new surprise: you cannot time any object on a question slide, not even a text container, for the rest of the project. Why do I not use a simple text caption? A text caption can indeed be timed for the rest of the project, but.... as most objects on an Question slide it will always been stacked under the default Question slide objects like answers. And I want the popup message to be on top. And yes, this is indeed only possible with shapes used as text containers!
- "Never give up", trying to find a workaround. I put the text container shape on the slide before the first question slide (it is hidden anyway at the start), and.... it shows up on each question slide. So issue solved, kid (question slide) is 'tamed' by Lilybiri :-).
- Now up to the score slide, want to replace the review message by something that the user can pop up by clicking on a button. Trying to add a shape button to the score slide, and that is possible! I can add a rollover smart shape as tooltip without any problems. Now I add some hidden text container shapes, and I can use the Arrange menu to pull them to the front of the stack. Great! Created an advanced action to pop up the right text based on the Quiz result, works fine. But... the text containers will be behind the score text captions, another disappointment because I was able to use the Arrange menu. I also tried out to put the shape button with the action on the master slide used for the score slide, but same result: no way to get my text containers on top of the default text of the score slide. The simplest solution would be to create your own score slide, using the quizzing system variables of course.
Watch this example: each question slide (3) has an Information button, toggling a text shape on/off. You'll read there the number of points attributed to the present question and the total score obtained so far. There is a button on the score slide (with tooltip) to show a review message.
Slide 1 (Title): has the text bubble QstInfo, that is invisible, timed for the rest of the project and put on top:
Master slides for Questions (here MCQ and Hot Spot) have a shape button (used the 'i' button from the buttons category) top right, that triggers an advanced action Quest_Info. The button doesn't pause.
Score slide: I deleted the review messages in Quiz, Settings, Quiz Result Messages and tucked the Review placeholder out of the way. I added a shape button InfoBt (from the buttons category as well) with another rollover shape as tooltip. Created two shapes with image and text that are initially invisible: OKReview and NotOKReview. The shape button InfoBt triggers a conditional advanced action Review
Quest_Info triggered by the shape button on the question Master slides is a conditional advanced action with one decision. To create the toggle aspect I used the approach explained in Toggle Shape Buttons - scenario 3, which needs a user variable v_visib. The more elegant scenario 4 from that article is impossible because the button is on a master slide.
I hope that my struggle with the 'difficult' question slides will have led to some tips that could be useful for you. Again, shapes prove to be a game changer, even though there are still some unexplainable quirks. I'm waiting for your comments.