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Adobe Captivate: The Swiss Army Knife of Visual Help Authoring
 

Adobe Captivate: The Swiss Army Knife of Visual Help Authoring

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Presented by Neil Perlin at Documentation and Training West, May 6-9, 2008 in Vancouver, BC. ...

Presented by Neil Perlin at Documentation and Training West, May 6-9, 2008 in Vancouver, BC.

For years, software training was largely text-based… add screen shots in a document, add some text with descriptions and instructions, and voila! The result worked, but how much more effective might it be if someone actually walked you through the steps on the screen? That’s where Adobe Captivate comes in, letting you create that someone.

The primary use of Captivate is to help capture what’s on the screens as you perform a software-based task, such as using a feature in Word. That series of screen shots is effectively a set of frames that users can play back as a movie that shows how to perform the task. To make the movie more useful, you can add explanations and instructions in text or audio form, special effects, even interactivity features that let simulate real software operations. With these features, Captivate lets you create demonstrations, sales training simulations, marketing presentations, tutorials, even fairly sophisticated e-learning. With a few tweaks, you can even use Captivate as an ad hoc usability test recorder.

Captivate movies are Flash-based, but you dont have to know Flash or touch any code. Better still, Captivate is quick and easy to learn compared to traditional CBT authoring tools—two days to get up and running, and cheap —US$700.

This workshop presents a quick overview of Captivates basic features in order to provide an overview of the tool as a whole.

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Adobe Captivate: The Swiss Army Knife of Visual Help Authoring Adobe Captivate: The Swiss Army Knife of Visual Help Authoring Presentation Transcript

  • Captivate 3: Visual Help Authoring’s Swiss Army Knife
  • Seminar Contents
    • 1 – Overview
    • 2 – Planning and Design
    • 3 – Captivate Overview and Screen Capture
    • 4 – Frame “Annotation” Features
    • 5 – Timing Control
    • 6 – Generating Output
  • Section 1: Overview
  • What Is Captivate?
    • A tool for creating online “movies” that demonstrate or interactively simulate software, role-playing, and more.
    • Almost unlimited in its uses, but some are:
      • Training and eLearning.
      • Marketing.
      • Technical support.
      • HR-style role-playing simulations.
      • Games, manga comic strips(!), etc.
  • Overview of How It Works
    • To create a movie, you:
      • Capture application software screens, or create separate screens to hold a series of graphics.
      • Chain the screens together into a “filmstrip”.
      • Add captions, interactivity, and other effects.
      • Run the result as a “movie”.
  • Demonstrations vs. Simulations
    • Demonstrations – Show how to do a task.
      • Provide explanations, hint, tips, cues, etc.
      • Viewer watches, largely passively.
    • Simulations – Viewers perform the task.
      • Provide minimal cues.
      • Viewer’s interactivity is defined by the author.
    • Demonstrations can lead into simulations.
  • The Main Captivate Screen
  • Two Demos
    • Software demonstration/simulation.
    • Role-playing simulation.
  • Section 2: Planning and Design
  • Do Some Basic Definitions
    • Do this before you jump into creating the movie.
    • It’s quick and pretty simple.
    • It reduces the risk of nasty surprises down the road.
    • Some quick things to define…
  • The Goals and Tone
    • What are the movie’s goals?
      • Show how to use an application.
      • Show how easy an application is to use.
        • Not the same as showing how to use it.
      • Show how to use an application’s features.
        • “Oh, that’s what a scroll bar is!?”
      • Other…
    • Affects the message and tone.
  • The Audience
    • How computer-savvy are they?
      • How intimidated are they?
      • Must you teach first principles?
      • What steps can you take for granted?
      • How well does they already know the subject?
      • How proficient are they in English?
  • Design – Movie Flow
    • Assume nothing!
      • Just because you understand the flow or some feature doesn’t mean your viewers will.
    • Plan the flow step-by-step before you start creating the movie.
      • There are steps you do without thinking until it’s time to explain them to someone else.
    • Plan which Captivate features to use.
    • Coordinate with other authors and groups.
  • Create a Storyboard
    • Basically a shot list or shooting script.
    • Create it before you start shooting.
    • Each page should describe a frame plus, perhaps:
      • Caption text, style, and position.
      • Screen areas to emphasize.
      • Transitions.
      • Etc.
  • Why Storyboard
    • To get a shot list to refer to as you create the movie.
    • To get a record of the shot sequence and effects for reference by your successor.
    • To help get a buy-off from your client.
  • Write a Script
    • If you plan to add audio narration to the frames…
    • Especially while capturing the frames…
  • Section 3: Overview and Capture
    • Overview of the Interface
    • Setting Recording Options and Capturing Screens
    • Overview of the Interface
  • Main Screen – No Project Open
  • Main Screen - Storyboard Mode
  • Main Screen - Storyboard Mode
    • Slide Tasks area lists slide-level features – e.g. a “sub-toolbar”.
    • Information area lists basic info about the movie.
    • Working area shows all the frames.
      • PowerPoint’ish…
  • Main Screen - Edit Mode
  • Main Screen - Edit Mode
    • “Filmstrip” lists all the frames.
      • Use the filmstrip, or the left and right arrow buttons in the upper right, to go to a frame.
    • Working area shows the selected frame.
    • Ancillary toolbars may display on the sides and/or bottom of the screen.
  • Main Screen - Edit Mode
    • Slide Notes pane at bottom of screen offers one way to create notes for the slide.
    • Library pane lists media objects (images, backgrounds, audio files, animation files) in the project.
      • You can also select an object to edit directly from the library.
  • Main Screen - Branching Mode
  • Main Screen - Branching Mode
    • Properties – To specify slide navigation.
    • Legend – Defines the icons.
    • Working area – Shows the navigation between each slide.
      • Double-click a slide to open it in Edit mode.
      • Hover over the slide connector arrows to list the Reporting options on the Properties tab.
      • Lets you specify whether and how the slide being exited will be reported.
    • Setting Recording Options and Capturing Screens
  • Overview
    • Setting recording options lets you specify such things as:
      • The area of the screen to record.
      • Whether to record automatically or manually.
      • Recording templates.
  • New Project Options Dialog Box
  • New Project Options Dialog Box
    • To set the screen capture area:
      • Application – Captures the window in which a selected application is running.
        • Start the application and set its window size before starting the new movie project.
        • You can modify the capture area if necessary.
      • Custom Size – To set a custom size or position.
        • To capture a custom screen area or an application whose screen area may change.
        • Your best bet for consistency in multiple movies.
      • Full screen – Captures the entire screen.
  • Settings Dialog Box
    • If you selected the Application option, you’ll see this settings box:
    • Other options offer slightly different settings boxes.
  • Settings Dialog Box
    • Select… window… – The app to record.
    • Snap to fit – Snaps the recording area around the app window.
    • Recording mode – To select the template(s) under which to record the movie.
    • Record Narration – To record narration as you create the movie.
    • Settings – To open the Preferences dialog box.
    • Record – To start recording.
  • Preferences Dialog Box – Settings Tab
  • Preferences Dialog Box – Settings Tab
    • Recording Type – To capture automatically or manually (by pressing a capture key).
    • Record… real time – Self-explanatory.
    • Hear camera… – To generate a shutter-click as you capture a screen.
    • Record keystrokes – To record keystrokes typed while recording a movie.
    • Hear keyboard… – To add key tap sounds.
  • The Recording Area Box
  • The Recording Area Box
    • The red box outlines the area to capture.
      • To move the box manually:
        • Put the pointer anywhere on the border except a grab handle and drag the pointer.
      • To resize the box manually:
        • Non-proportionally – Drag a side grab handle.
        • Proportionally – Drag a corner grab handle.
      • To move and resize automatically:
        • Select the Snap to Fit or equivalent option.
  • The Screen Capture Process
    • When you finish making the settings, click the Record button on the settings box.
    • You’re now recording…
  • Movie Preview Options
    • Play this slide – Plays the current slide.
      • Only available in Edit mode.
      • Can also press F3 or the spacebar
    • Project – Plays the entire movie.
    • From this slide – Plays from the current slide to the end.
    • Next 5 slides.
    • In Web Browser – Plays the entire movie in the default browser.
  • Exercise 1: Capture Frames
  • Section 4: Frame “Annotation”
    • Text Captions
    • Highlight Boxes
    • Inserting and Moving Frames
    • Images
    • Text Animation
    • Text Captions
  • Adding Captions
    • Captions let you annotate frames to:
      • Comment on or describe a frame in general.
      • Indicate salient points on a frame.
      • Give instructions to the viewer.
  • A “Comment” Caption
  • An “Instructional” Caption
  • New Caption Dialog Box – Text Caption Tab
  • New Caption Dialog Box - Caption Styles
    • You can pick various caption types.
  • New Caption Dialog Box Fields - Caption Styles
    • Each type has different arrow types, like:
    • Yellow One Haloblue
    • With the same five direction arrows.
    • Use a type and arrow that give the look you want and emphasize the desired direction.
  • New Caption Dialog Box Fields
    • Font, size, text color, highlight color, text enhancement, horizontal/vertical position, numbered/bulleted list, and insert symbol – like Word.
  • New Caption Dialog Box – Options Tab
  • New Caption Dialog Box – Options Tab
    • Display for – Displays the caption for a set time, rest of the slide, or rest of the project.
    • Appear after – The delay before displaying.
    • Transition – To make the caption fade in, out, both, or neither.
    • In/Out – Fade in/out duration.
  • New Caption Dialog Box – Audio Tab
  • New Caption Dialog Box – Audio Tab
    • Run/Stop/Delete – Self-explanatory.
    • Edit – Opens Captivate’s audio editor.
    • Record New – Self-explanatory.
    • Import – Self-explanatory.
    • Select Audio from Library – Lists audio files already in the movie.
    • Settings – Displays the Audio Settings dialog box.
    • Fade In/Fade Out – Self-explanatory.
  • Moving and Resizing a Caption
    • To move – Click on the caption, hold down the mouse button, and drag.
    • To resize – Click and drag any corner or side grab handle.
  • Changing Caption Properties
    • To change a caption’s properties:
      • Double-click the caption, or
      • Right-click the caption and select Properties, or
      • Click the caption and click the Properties icon on the toolbar.
    • Each option opens the Text Caption dialog box.
      • Identical to the New Caption dialog box.
  • Changing Caption Text Properties
    • Highlight the desired text and change the desired property.
    • Property changes stick from caption to caption until you change them again.
    • Tip – To select a paragraph, triple-click any word in the paragraph.
  • Exercise 2: Text Captions
    • Highlight Boxes
  • Overview of Highlight Boxes
    • Draws a box with a colored border and fill around a part of the screen to be visually emphasized.
      • For example…
  • New Highlight Box Dialog Box
  • New Highlight Box Dialog Box – Highlight Box Tab Fields
    • Frame Color, Fill Color, Frame Width, Fill Transparency, Fill Outer Area – To set the color and thickness of the frame, and the color and transparency of the fill.
    • The Options, Audio, and Size and Position tabs are like those for a new text caption.
  • Exercise 3: Add Highlight Boxes
    • Inserting and Moving Frames
  • Insertable Frame Types
    • After creating a movie, you can insert:
      • Blank slide – Blank slide.
      • Question slide – Slide containing a question.
      • Random Question slide – Slide containing a question taken at random from a question pool.
      • Image slide – Slide and image simultaneously.
      • PowerPoint slide – One or more slides from a PowerPoint presentation.
      • Animation slide – Slide and animation simul-taneously.
  • Inserting Slides
    • To insert slides except PowerPoint slides, click on the slide on the filmstrip after which to insert the new slide(s).
    • What if you insert a slide in the wrong place or need the new slide in position 1?
  • Moving Slides
    • To move one slide, click on it and drag it up or down the filmstrip.
    • To move multiple slides, multi-select and drag them all up or down the filmstrip.
    • Adding Images
  • Overview of Images
    • You can add images to frames for use as frame elements or as a background.
    • You control when an image appears, how long, transitions, etc.
    • Once you add an image, you can resize it, move it, or add it to the frame background.
  • New Image Dialog Box
  • New Image Dialog Box Fields
    • Transparency – The higher the number, the more transparent.
    • Transparent background – Make the image background transparent.
      • To create irregularly shaped images.
    • Reset… – To reset the default image size.
    • Select… library – To use an image already in the project.
    • Import – To use a different image.
  • Image Alignment Control
    • Two image alignment features:
      • Select View > Show Grid and align the images by eye.
      • Select 2+ images to align, then use the align-ment toolbar, shown here at the bottom of the screen.
  • Exercise 4: Work With Images
    • Text Animation Frames
  • What Are Text Animation Frames?
    • Frames with animated text. (Duh…)
    • Typically used for title slides, but can also serve as section dividers.
    • Effects can include:
      • Text effects – font, size, color, etc.
      • Background images.
      • Animation effects, from subdued to tasteless.
  • Text Animation Dialog Box
  • Text Animation Dialog Box – Text Animation Tab
    • Effect – Click an effect to preview it.
    • Text – The actual title text.
    • Change Font – Self-explanatory.
    • Transparency – Self-explanatory.
    • Delay – Sets the delay, in frames, between the appearance of each letter in the title.
      • Doesn’t seem to affect the overall animation display time.
  • Text Animation Dialog Box – Other Tabs
    • The Options, Audio, and Size and Position tabs are largely the same as those for a new text caption.
  • Exercise 5: Add Text Animation
  • Section 5: Timing Control
  • What’s the Timeline
    • A visual tool for controlling the timing of and timing relationships between objects on a slide.
      • Like the timeline feature in Flash.
  • Main Timeline Elements
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Main Timeline Elements
    • 1 – Display arrow/6 – Splitter bar – Click to hide or show the timeline.
    • 2 – Playhead – Moves through the timeline when you run the slide; can be manually moved (“scrubbed”) across the timeline.
    • 3 – Header – Time in tenths of seconds.
    • 4 – Each object on the current slide.
    • 5 – Timeline controls – Stop and play the timeline, mute or play any audio objects.
  • Interpreting A Timeline
    • What does this timeline tell us?
    • The slide displays for 6.1 seconds.
  • Interpreting A Timeline
    • It has two animations (downright, down-left), a highlight box, and a caption.
    • These four object appear when the slide opens, display for 3 seconds, then close.
  • Interpreting A Timeline
    • Mouse movement begins after a 2.5 second delay and continues for 3.6 seconds until the slide closes.
  • Timing Control
    • Timing is easy to set but hard to get right.
      • Don’t go so fast that users feel pressured.
      • Don’t go so slowly that users get bored.
    • Know your users’:
      • Computer skills.
      • Education.
      • Native language.
    • Test.
  • Controlling Object Duration
    • Place the pointer on the right edge of an object box until the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow and drag left or right to change the duration.
    • You can also:
      • Double-click the object on the timeline, select the Options tab, change the Display For time.
      • Double-click the object on the edit area, select the Options tab, change the Display For time.
  • Controlling Object Duration
    • Extending an object’s duration beyond the slide’s duration automatically extends the slide’s duration.
  • Controlling Object Delay
    • Put the pointer on an object box until the pointer becomes a hand and drag left or right to change the display delay.
    • You can also:
      • Double-click the object on the timeline, select the Options tab, change the Appear After time.
      • Double-click the object on the edit area, select the Options tab, change the Appear After time.
  • Controlling Object Relationships
    • Multiple objects on a frame appear on the timeline in the reverse order in which you created them.
    • The last object created appears on the top line of the timeline.
      • Like a “stack” of objects, with the first one on the bottom and the last one on top.
  • Controlling Object Relationships
    • To change their display sequence, you can:
      • Keep their position in the stack but change their timing and delay.
      • Change their position in the stack and change their timing and delay.
      • For example…
  • A Sample Multi-Object Stack
    • *
  • A Sample Multi-Object Stack
    • All objects appear and close at the same time.
    • Note the reverse order on the timeline.
    • What if you want to change the display order and timing – have caption 1 display and fade out, then 2, then 3?
  • A Sample Multi-Object Stack
    • You can keep their position in the stack but change their timing and delay.
  • A Sample Multi-Object Stack
    • Or change their position in the stack and change their timing and delay.
  • Checking the Results
    • You can:
      • Click the timeline’s Play button.
      • Press F3.
      • Select Preview > Play This Slide.
      • Press the spacebar.
      • “Scrub” the timeline at your own pace.
        • Click the Play button, then click the playhead to “capture” it.
        • Or click the time scale to pull out the playhead, then click on the playhead to capture it.
  • Exercise 6: Control Timing
  • Section 6: Generating Output
    • Generating Output
    • Generating Output
  • Generating Output
    • Once you finish creating a movie, generate the final output for distribution.
    • Select File > Publish or the Publish icon.
  • Publish Dialog Box
  • Output Options
    • Flash (SWF) – Creates a Shockwave Flash file.
    • Adobe Connect – Publish to an Adobe Connect server.
    • Standalone – Creates an EXE that does not require viewers to have the Flash player.
  • Output Options
    • E-mail – Publish to either SWF, EXE, CP (Captivate), HQX (Mac), or Linux EXE file and send as an email attachment.
    • Print – Creates a Word DOC file with the frames, captions, and various other objects.
    • FTP – Uploads the movie to a web site.
  • Flash (SWF) Output Dialog Box
  • Flash (SWF) Output Dialog Box
    • Project Title – Output file name.
    • Folder – Folder to contain the movie.
    • Zip – Zips together question score data and content for delivery to an LMS.
    • Full screen – Displays the movie full screen.
    • Generate Autorun…– Creates a file to run the movie automatically in a CD drive.
    • Flash Player Version – The users’ Flash player version.
  • Flash (SWF) Output Dialog Box
    • Export HTML – Creates an HTM file with the same name as the movie.
      • To run the movie, create a link to the HTM.
    • …PENS… – An LMS option.
    • Project Information – Other info, settings.
      • You can modify blue settings right here.
    • Preferences button – Opens the Preferences dialog box.
    • Publish button – Self-explanatory.
  • Exercise 7: Generate the Output
  • Thank you! Please fill out the evaluation before you leave!