Archive for August, 2009
10 out of 12 monkeys wanna do this Within each interaction type, there are only a few places to insert text or media. This could be construed as a good thing as it forces consistency and makes it harder to screw up the design. I find it a little restrictive. Take my simian (sorry, I mean monkey) example for instance. I could only add one main image in the labeled graphic interaction. This meant that I first had to use another tool to combine all my separate monkey pictures into a single image. I’d rather just insert the separate images and have the flexibility to move them around to get the optimal positioning. In some interactions, I can’t re-size the imported images, videos or Flash files. In others, I can. Why not make them all function the same way? There is a work around in which I can edit the sizes in the data.xml file that is produced with the published output, but this is inconvenient as I’d have to make this edit every time I publish the file. There are options to control the playback. Unfortunately, we rarely use the one that sets the presentation to advance by itself because there is no way for the learner to pause the playback or step back to review something they missed. Seems to me like something people might want to do. At the risk of sounding cranky, (I love this product honest), I have to mention the file naming convention. When publishing an interaction, Engage always names the output file engage.swf and the content folder engage_content. This isn’t an issue when using Engage with Articulate Presenter, but we often import multiple Engage interactions into other authoring tools such as Lectora. Each time we publish an interaction, we have to manually rename the output files to give them unique files names; otherwise, they will overwrite one another when exported from the authoring tool. This makes dealing with revisions a pain. The importance of the company one keeps Some products have great potential only to be ruined by poor marketing, sales and support. Some companies hide their products from view forcing you to buy them before you can even see the list of features. Here I’d like to give a shout out to Articulate. This is one awesome company. Not only do they provide a fully-functional 30-day trial version of Engage, they do an excellent job of showcasing their products and building a user community. Everything from the design of their website to their excellent demos, blogs and customer support reinforce the message they believe in quality. How to make a monkey happy Aside from an unlimited supply of bananas, the following enhancements would really make Engage rock.
- More interaction types — an interactive flow chart or work flow diagram would be nice for starters. To their credit, Articulate makes the SDK available. If you have some Flash knowledge and a little imagination you can make your own interactions and even share them with the wider Articulate community. People have not grabbed on to this yet, at least the sharing part anyway. We’d like to hear what other people think might make a good interaction or any feedback from people who have tried working with the SDK.
- Give us the option to name the output files/folder
- Give us an option to hide the title bar.
- Add an easy way to link different Engage presentations together.
- Add an easy way to synch the audio with graphic labels.
- How about a rollover option in the labeled graphic interaction?
- Engage output currently displays at 720×540. Give us an option to change the default size when we publish.
- The ability to publish to PDF or other formats — maybe even where self-playing interactions can be exported to iPod/Blackberry video or any video format for that matter.
- The ability to publish partially “skinless” (sans border, title, etc.) — this is a feature in Adobe Captivate that I really like.