Articulate Storyline Tips in Under 140 Characters: Part II

In my last post, you saw our recent crowdsourcing experiment to showcase the generosity and sense of community that exists with Articulate users from the E-Learning Heroes (ELH) Community. For our experiment, we took to Twitter and asked our followers to share their best Articulate Storyline tips, in 140 characters or less, using the hashtag #Storyline140. We also shared the top ten tips, based off of the most user engagement, which included everything from your favorite features to time-saving and efficiency-boosting tricks.

In this post, the second in our series of three, you’ll learn how to apply tips on some of Storyline’s best known and most powerful features–and maybe a few you’ve never even heard of before.

Stylized Image Fills

Starting us off is Mike Taylor with a quick way to add interest to a slide background with a semi-transparent colored image effect. This is a great example of how developers can quickly combine a few of Storylines simpler features to create a really cool effect.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif

You can use this stylized effect in any situation that needs a subtle boost of color and visual contrast in the background.

Triggers

Matt Guyan and Alexander Salas know just how powerful, and sometimes frustrating, triggers can be in Storyline. The good news is triggers have an incredible amount of flexibility in how they can be used. Learn how to create and work with triggers in Articulate Storyline in Articulate’s user guide and support article.

As Matt astutely points out, if something isn’t working quite right, the Triggers pane is one of the first places you’ll want to look. Follow this three-step procedure for troubleshooting triggers:

  1. Check that your triggers are complete–remember that there are always four parts!
  2. Make sure that any conditions for your triggers are set correctly–AND statements require all conditions to be met, while OR statements will hold true if any one part is met.
  3. Check that your triggers are listed in the correct order within the Triggers pane. Remember, triggers run in sequence from top to bottom–once the player encounters a trigger to jump to another slide or scene, or to hide a layer, the window immediately loses focus, and triggers remaining in the list will not fire.  Be sure to have all other triggers listed above a “Jump to…” or “Hide Layer…” trigger to save yourself from a headache later!

Speaking of headaches, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to follow Alexander’s advice when dealing with player triggers. When creating slide, layer, or player triggers, be sure to click outside of your slide before adding your trigger. If something is selected on your slide, the trigger will apply to that object. This is incredibly important when copying and pasting triggers between slides.

States

Like triggers, object states are another powerhouse feature in Storyline, and are actually one of my favorites. From helping developers quickly bring a higher degree of polish to their designs to helping learners easily identify interactive objects and gauge their progress, states have incredible potential. Here are some great resources from the Storyline 2 User Guide, Word of Mouth Blog, and the ELH Challenges, for working with states in Articulate Storyline.

Melanie Sobie highlights how states can help developers overcome the limitations of using grouped objects in Storyline. Although you can quickly build custom icons and images by grouping multiple items together, you’ll run into issues if you want to add any effects or add interactivity. Adding an effect to a group will apply the effect to each object in said group, and states are simply not supported for groups. By cutting and pasting all but one of the formerly grouped objects into the normal state of a remaining object, you can then create new states by using the “duplicate state” button. Tweak the formatting for your new state as necessary, and viola! This tip is extremely useful whenever you want an animated button or progress bar with a combination of shapes or text elements, but don’t have time to build it outside of Storyline. Using this technique can give you high-quality interactivity in a fraction of the time!

State 11

States 22

States 33

Continuing with our favorite tips for using states in Storyline, Jeff Kortenbosch demonstrates the “out of the box” thinking that really stretches how we can use triggers for both desktop/laptop and mobile devices. A hover state on a mobile device is less than intuitive–it should really be called a “touch and hold” state. It quickly gets more complicated since the mobile learner’s “touch and hold” action is virtually the same as a regular “click” action.

down hover 1

The similarity between these hovering and clicking gestures can get really confusing on a mobile device, so avoid this confusion, simply use the same items and formatting for both the ‘hover’ and ‘down’ states of your object(s). What you’ll lose in a fancy “pressing down” aesthetic on traditional desktop/laptop devices, you’ll more than make up for by clearly indicating the interactive components on mobile devices. This might be bad news for the “Inner Shadow” effect, but it’ll save you lots of headaches in your QA process, and create a more unified user experience across platforms.

Linking Scenes

The tip shared by Jackie Hall was one of two examples of incredibly powerful Storyline features hidden in plain sight that I have admittedly never noticed before. In addition to controlling the branching through the Triggers panel, users can quickly set the branching between scenes using the chain link icon in story view.The best part about this feature is that it’s so incredibly simple to use!

Link Scene Button

In the story view of your project, click on the tiny blue chain link in the lower right-hand corner of the scene to quickly do any of the following for the last slide in a scene:

  • Link to a slide: quickly adds a jump to slide trigger via a dedicated dialog box.
  • Insert a new slide: opens the Insert Slides dialog box.
  • Link to a scene: quickly adds a jump to scene trigger.
  • New Scene: inserts a new scene directly from the menu, instead of the Home tab.
  • New Trigger: opens the Trigger Wizard dialog box .
  • Edit Trigger: edits the default trigger for the next button–when enabled in the player.
  • Disconnect Link: removes the link to the next slide or scene.

And here I thought that the story view lacked any use outside of seeing the overall structure of a course. Thanks for sharing your tip and teaching me something new in the process, Jackie! Learn more about how to control the order of your presentation in Articulate’s user guide.

Finding Course Duration

In a similar vein to the tip shared by Jackie, Kimberly Bourque shared a tip that taught me about another unfamiliar feature, this time hidden within a Project Info dialog box that I’ve never noticed before. Now, I must admit that I haven’t had much experience using the Articulate Mobile Player (AMP) application for mobile devices–most of our clients prefer the HTML5 output to the mobile app. According to Articulate’s user guide, the window is a place to add additional project information exclusively for the AMP application.

Project Info

You can find the Project Info dialog box in any of the publish options by clicking the tiny three ellipses next to the Title field (Note: The identical button next to the Folder field opens a file browser window, instead of the Project Info dialog box.) In the dialog box, there are multiple fields for all sorts of metadata, including the course duration. By default, it’ll be set to automatically calculate the duration by totalling the length of all slide timelines. But there is also an option to enter a custom duration, should you not be satisfied with the default approximation.

I wish I had known about this feature all those times that I sat with a stopwatch running on my phone, taking a course that I’ve already tested countless times before needing the final course duration. Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing and for teaching something new about Storyline at the same time!

Next Time

In my next post, you’ll get a look at how to apply some of the tips that focus on our favorite tricks for saving time and increasing efficiency in Storyline. Don’t miss it!

Mike Jones
Artisan E-Learning

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