Pre-loader for Large Articulate Published Files

Hi!


First of all this interface is awesome...This is my first post in the new forum...

We have some files that are 10MB or more.  It takes about 5-8 seconds before the articulate progress bar appears when the file is launched in moodle.  During these 5-8 seconds, the screen is blank.  This is a bit disconcerting especially for our new users since they do not know if the page will correctly load or not.

Has anyone else experienced this?  Any suggestions or work around?

Thanks,

Payal

20 Replies
Phil Corriveau

Hi Payal.  No question that 8 seconds can feel like an eternity A couple of questions/thoughts:

  • You mention that you have some files that over 10MB.  Are you talking about files that you insert into slides, or are you talking about the overall presentation size?
  • Are the first couple of slides pretty heavy on content...in other words, do you have any videos, Engage content, or long narration on the first two slides?  Perhaps this is causing the delay.
  • How fast is your internet connection?

One thing I would try to help isolate the problem: Post a blank, one slide Articulate presentation to Moodle and see if you get the same delay when launched.  You could also try modifying the existing presentation with three blank slides in the front (for testing only of course), and see if the delay is eliminated or greatly diminished.

-Phil

Simon Perkins

Hi Payal

It sounds like you're referring to the loading bar that appears when the course first launches?  Maybe Phil's ideas will get around that ...

If you're having delays with QM and/or Engage slides loading, then you could try this (bearing in mind I've just thought it up so could be wrong):

1. Use a tool like SnagIt to take a screenshot of the loading "circle" as it's spinning

2. Add a blank slide before the QM or Engage interaction

3. Insert this capture (trimmed of course) onto the slide so the screen is exactly mimicking the loading "circle" screen

4. Add some text beneath that says "Loading interaction.  Please wait ..."  Set this to fade out after 2-3 seconds.  Set this slide (in Slide Properties) to Automatic advance

This way, the learner should see (if I'm thinking correctly) the "Loading" message appear for a couple of seconds before naturally fading into the official loading screen ... hence they'll relax a bit more and then the QM/Engage slide will appear.

Well, that's the idea.  Maybe it'll work or maybe it's been a long week!

Payal Tandon

Thanks Phil & Simon for your ideas. 

Further explanation of the problem -  I am referring to the loading bar that appears when the course first launches. Essentially we recently made a change to the system.  Here is the brief description of current and previous systems.

Current System: 

1: Concept listing on webpage

2:  User clicks on link for concept

3:  The published file for this concept opens in this same window.

4:  The progress bar for the articulate published file appears after 5-8 seconds.  PROBLEM.

Previous System:

1: Concept listing on webpage

2:  User clicks on link for concept

3:  An intermediate window opens in a different tab.

4:  The published file opens in a pop-up window

5:  The progress bar for the articulate published file appears after 5-8 seconds.  - This was not a problem because with the opening of two additional windows (intermediate and pop-up), there was some activity on the screen so the 5-8 seconds did not seem that long.


(Reason for switching to current system: pop-up blockers are typically implemented by users.  So we needed to educate them to disable the pop-up blocker to be able to view the content.)

Answering some of Phil's questions:

  • You mention that you have some files that over 10MB.  Are you talking about files that you insert into slides, or are you talking about the overall presentation size?

I am talking about overall presentation size.

  • Are the first couple of slides pretty heavy on content...in other words, do you have any videos, Engage content, or long narration on the first two slides?  Perhaps this is causing the delay.

First 2 slides are very light on content.  Together they have about 2 minutes of audio and purely text based content.  3rd slide is typically a quizmaker file.

  • How fast is your internet connection?

Internet connection should not be an issue.  In any case, it is 7 Mbps download speed & 0.8 Mbps upload speed.

I also did the test where in I loaded a 1 slide file.  This file also took the same amount of time to display the articulate progress bar.

Any more ideas!!!

Phil Corriveau

Payal, based on the fact that your single slide test file returned the same delay, I'm afraid that the bottleneck is the Moodle server, and that there is nothing that can be done on the Articulate end to resolve this.  Off the top of my head, the only suggestion I can offer is to add a note on your listing page, such as "Please be patient when launching these courses, as they will require a few moments to load."

I wish I had a better answer.

-Phil

Dave Newgass

Hello,

I use Moodle as well and experience a similar problem,  As a matter of fact, I just posted a thread :

http://community.articulate.com/forums/p/1144/4603.aspx#4603

It sounds similar to the issue you are having.....  My Moodle host Pteppic (which are AWESOME!), has stated that I am on their fastest server.  I have no reason to doubt them, but the issue is casusing me greif!

I am about to upload a 13 module course (over 4000 slides) and are real uneasy at the moment.

Help me mister wizard!

Good luck....I will monitor this post.

Cheers,

Dave

Maksym M

I also use presentations that are over 10MB. That is 300 pages of Powerpoint converted with Articulate Presenter. I experience a delay of a different kind. After my sidebar loads it takes the additional 5-10 seconds for the first slide to appear on the screen. So is there any way to insert another preloader into the first slide until the upload is complete?

Brian Houle

As Phil pointed out, Articulate shouldn't really be presenting a download delay unless you have some hefty video or custom content on the first few slides.  Total presentation size is not an issue with Presenter because each slide is published as a separate swf file.  The player only loads three slides at a time (QM and Engage content excepted -- these load on-demand, which is why you get that little circular loading animation).

It's certainly a good idea to preload large video or custom content, but there should be no need to preload regular Articulate content.  

Brian  

Phil Corriveau

Unfortunately, a preloader can only work before the content appears.  In your case, inserting a preloader on the first slide will not give you the desired result. 

If I understand you correctly, you have over 300 slides on a presentation...which is way too many in my opinion, and may be the cause for the delay.  What happens for you with much smaller presentations?  Any way you can split these large presentations into smaller chunks?

Phil Corriveau

Maksym M said:

Actually, I have 384 slides. I find it more practical to keep them all in one presentation. Once loaded, everything works fine, but there is about 10 sec/ delay before the first slide appears on the screen.


Wow...that's a lot of slides!  I'm afraid that the delay you're experiencing is probably the tradeoff for keeping all of your slides together.

Maksym M said:

If there was a way to put a note on the first slide (as a part of the background) that it's still loading, that would be awesome.


I'm not aware of a way to do that.  As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the best solution may be to add a "Please be patient" note on the page launching the presentation.

Joe Deegan

Hello Payal, My Articulate modules also take about 5 seconds before the progress bar appears.  I have never found a solution to the problem so my solution was to add a warning to the Moodle course site telling them to please wait for the module to load.  Not the ideal solution but has worked with no complaints. 

Payal Tandon

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your sharing your solution.   

After learning that we cannot do much from the presenter side of things, we ended up implementing similar thing. Along with the message on the screen, I have a counter as well that runs, counting seconds for launch.  This kind of incremental counter shows the user some activity on the screen while the articulate file is loading.

Thanks,

Payal

Dave Newgass

Payal Tandon said:

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your sharing your solution.   

After learning that we cannot do much from the presenter side of things, we ended up implementing similar thing. Along with the message on the screen, I have a counter as well that runs, counting seconds for launch.  This kind of incremental counter shows the user some activity on the screen while the articulate file is loading.

Thanks,

Payal


Hello Payal,

How did you implement the counter?  Are you using Moodle as well?  I am using Moodle and have the same type of concerns.

Cheers,


Dave

Payal Tandon

Hi Dave and Joe,

I had to get in touch with our technical folks to see how they implemented this. 

They implemented the scripts available at http://javascript.internet.com/text-effects/loading-time-indicator.html

The counter doesn't show how much time before scorm load, rather shows how much time the page took to load.Luckily the scripts work with the scorm load part not being counted as 'page still loading'.   So the end result was a counter that counts up till the scorm starts rendering.

To check this in work, you will need to create an account at e-gmat.com and click on any Scorm file.  As such we display the following line:

window.onresize = function() { scorm_resize(900, 680); }; function refreshParent() { window.opener.location.reload(); if(window.opener.progressWindow) { window.opener.progressWindow.close() } window.close(); } ////0.0 seconds to load.'); var loopTime=setInterval("currentTime()",100);// End --> " This page took 3.5 seconds to load."  (where 3.5 seconds is dynamically determined)

And yes, we use Moodle too.

Regards,

Payal