In the previous tutorials we looked at how to add simple content like pictures, text, and video to the slides. And we learned how to synchronize animations to an audio track. 

In this tutorial we’ll practice creating interactive content in Articulate Storyline.

Storyline comes with some pre-built interactive elements like the buttons and markers. It allows all sorts of custom interactivity like drag & drops, mouse overs and the use of variables. Since this is a getting started tutorial, we'll keep it kind of simple.

We’ll explore the essential authoring process in Storyline that lets you build interactive content. Once we cover that we'll practice using the authoring features to:

These are all basic demos but they’ll help you get started and are easy enough to practice on your own. Download this folder to use when you practice these activities.

Understanding States, Slide Layers, and Triggers

To build interactive content requires that you understand the essential authoring process in Storyline; and that all happens with the States, Layers, and Triggers.

What you need to know about States:

Any object you put on the slide can have multiple states. To change states from one to the other requires an action that triggers it.

For example, buttons typically have a normal state. And when you hover the mouse over the button the state changes to look different. And then when you click on the button it changes again. In this example, you have three states:

  • Normal - what it looks like before you do anything
  • Hover - what it looks like when you move your mouse over it
  • Down - what it looks like when you click on it

The states are changed based on a triggered action like hovering your mouse over or clicking on a button. The power of Storyline is that you’re not limited to interactive buttons. Any object you put on the slide can have multiple states that can be triggered by a user action.

What you need to know about Slide Layers:

Slide Layers sit on top of the slide and then you use triggered actions to show or hide them. For example, you may have a button that when clicked shows a slide layer. 

What you need to know about Triggers:

Triggers are the actions that drive interactivity in Storyline. When someone clicks a button you want something to happen. That requires a trigger. When you roll the mouse over some text and you want it to change colors, that requires a trigger. When someone drags and drops a picture and you want it to provide some feedback, that requires a trigger.

Triggers are written to be very simple. It’s always: What do you want to happen; and when do you want to it to happen. Example: I want to change the state of the character when I click the button.

That’s the essence of building interactive content in Storyline--each object can have multiple states and slides can have layers. And then triggers let you create actions like state changes and showing or hiding layers.

Of course, triggers can do much more than state changes and show/hide layers. It really just depends on what you want to do. For now, we’ll keep it simple. Once you get a handle on a few simple things, feel free to practice doing more with triggers.

Let’s create a simple interaction using state changes, slide layers, and triggers. We’ll also take a peek at how Storyline’s built-in characters work.