Review of Snap! 1.1 Update

About three months ago, Trivantis released Snap! by Lectora – a PowerPoint authoring tool à la Articulate. Today they announced their 1.1 update.

Normally I only comment on major releases, but this one has some important features. I’d put about half of them in the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses category, meaning the addition of basic features that Articulate already has. The rest of the new features provide some differentiation.

“Keeping Up” features: Add FLV video, branch using the player’s Next/Back buttons, hide slides in the navigation panel, disable navigation on individual slides, and customize/translate text labels.

Differentiating features: Use PowerPoint page transitions, add a controller to audio or video added via PowerPoint, End Show action that closes the course window, submit quiz and survey results via CGI. This last feature is something that Lectora has done. For the non-programmer, this means that you can send results to a non-SCORM LMS – even to an online Excel spreadsheet or Access database. You do have to have someone put together some script to help “translate” what data from the course go into what fields in the database, but they provide guidance one that. (Technically, a skilled programmer could probably get Articulate to do that by adding their own HTML or JavaScript, but Snap! makes it a little bit easier.)

Full list of features as presented by Trivantis.

Here’s an update on my previous comparison:

Advantage: Snap!

Advantage: Articulate

Single file .swf output (sort of)

Drag and drop question type

Snap! Live: an emerging hosting site with new features coming gradually

Post to Facebook and play on the page itself

Record video and sync animations to video

Have more than one .swf per slide

Add a YouTube video

Supports ActionScript 3 (but I wouldn’t be surprised If Articulate fixes that soon)

Include PowerPoint page transitions

Add controller to audio or video embedded in PowerPoint slides

End show action to close the course window

Submit quiz/survey results via CGI

Price: $99

Engage (Snap does not have an equivalent)

More choices for customizing the player template

Slide view and branching in Quizmaker

Go back and tweak animations without re-syncing the whole slide

Branching via the player’s Next button

Note that one side being longer than the other doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other. What matters is how important each differentiator is to you. The gap between the two programs is a little bit smaller today. For me, here are the biggest differentiators:

Overall Advantage Snap!: The price. $99 makes this software much more accessible to a lot of people.

Overall Advantage Articulate: Engage. Both packages let you create learning interactions through quizzing. And both let you create screen interactions using PowerPoint action buttons and (now) Next/Back branching, but Articulate still has a big advantage in having these convenient template-based screen interactions.

In addition, Articulate is a little more stable. As you might expect from any version 1 software release, Snap! is still a little buggy. But I expect to see the Trivantis working on the bugs as well as other feature enhancements.

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8 Responses to “Review of Snap! 1.1 Update”

  1. Cessnaholly August 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    This is a great starting point for a personal comparison between the two software. I’m in agreement with the things you point out here. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Brian Dusablon August 3, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Thanks for updating us! Great comparison list. I’ve been using Articulate for several years, but rarely use Engage because of the usability issues and the “use it once, and it’s not new” issue with the templates.

    Something else stood out for me, though:

    “As you might expect from any version 1 software release, Snap! is still a little buggy.”

    Sad that that is our expectation, these days, isn’t it? Gruber nailed it back in 2006. http://daringfireball.net/2006/11/beta_excuse

  3. Brian Dusablon August 3, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Thanks for updating us! Great comparison list. I’ve been using Articulate for several years, but rarely use Engage because of the usability issues and the “use it once, and it’s not new” issue with the templates.

    Something else stood out for me, though:

    “As you might expect from any version 1 software release, Snap! is still a little buggy.”

    Sad that that is our expectation, these days, isn’t it? Gruber nailed it back in 2006. http://daringfireball.net/2006/11/beta_excuse

  4. Holly MacDonald August 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    I’d add one advantage on the Articulate side (just started using Snap, so need more time to test drive it): the online community and product support. The online community is really fabulous – users share tips/tricks and templates, links, feedback, support, etc.

  5. Diane Elkins
    Diane Elkins August 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Thanks for all your comments, everyone. Personally, I tend to lean towards the established tools rather than the new tools for some of the reasons mentioned below. I know that Trivantis is working towards creating a Snap community, but it will be a long time before it is as robust as the Articulate community, which I think is one of the best in the e-learning industry. Also, with established software, there are more contractors available, articles/resources on the web, experts who can help out.

    With new tools, I also wonder if they are going to stick around. I’d hate to build an initiative around a software that doesn’t last more than a year or two. (Like investing all your movie money in beta tapes back in the day). At least with Snap, they’ve got the reputation and stability of Trivantis behind them, which makes it much less of a risk than if it was a new product and a new company.

    For me, Snap is going to be an “AND” tool. I’m not going to turn away from Lectora or Articulate because of it, but it has a few extra features that I can add to my toolbox. For example, I can see using it regularly to make intro animations for my Lectora course. I can use PowerPoint animations and timings, publish it as a single .swf output in Snap, and then put it on the first page of my Lectora title for more of a multi-media effect.

  6. Diane Elkins
    Diane Elkins August 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Thanks for all your comments, everyone. Personally, I tend to lean towards the established tools rather than the new tools for some of the reasons mentioned below. I know that Trivantis is working towards creating a Snap community, but it will be a long time before it is as robust as the Articulate community, which I think is one of the best in the e-learning industry. Also, with established software, there are more contractors available, articles/resources on the web, experts who can help out.

    With new tools, I also wonder if they are going to stick around. I’d hate to build an initiative around a software that doesn’t last more than a year or two. (Like investing all your movie money in beta tapes back in the day). At least with Snap, they’ve got the reputation and stability of Trivantis behind them, which makes it much less of a risk than if it was a new product and a new company.

    For me, Snap is going to be an “AND” tool. I’m not going to turn away from Lectora or Articulate because of it, but it has a few extra features that I can add to my toolbox. For example, I can see using it regularly to make intro animations for my Lectora course. I can use PowerPoint animations and timings, publish it as a single .swf output in Snap, and then put it on the first page of my Lectora title for more of a multi-media effect.

  7. Stefwanus January 25, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    I bought basic version for $99 dollars, it didn’t install and when I emailed them the problem, with registration number, nobody answered me. 3 weeks and counting, with all the community hype on their website. Thanks Lectora, I may as well have thrown the money in the gutter.

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