Am I dreaming? Possible to fit a dozen slides and their many layers onto one slide?

Nov 09, 2022

Hi all,

I've been researching a solution to this for weeks but have kept running into issues and cannot find a single example of this being done elsewhere. I'm sure there must be an option, or maybe it is actually impossible.

The learner is playing the role of a doctor in a medical case, comparing 4 different treatments. After learning about each one individually, they are asked to choose which treatment to initiate. The objective is for the learner to become familiar with all 4 treatments. After they choose one it takes them down a branching interaction, which ends and takes them back to the "home" page . They are encouraged to try choosing the other treatments, they select one and go through its branch, etc.

I want to create a slide in Articulate Storyline with 4 icons representing 4 subjects. When the learner selects an icon, they will be able to view and interact with background information on that subject without changing slides. When they are done learning about that subject, they can close it and select another icon to do the same action. The entire time they are on the same slide, with recognizable skin/theme for a sense of continuity. I tried doing this with layers but it became really complicated to put layer on top of layer on top of layer considering these slides already exist with triggers and I am trying to fit them all onto one.The layers also wouldn't work well with one another and sometimes obscured each other.

If I had to roughly describe the effect I think I'd need, it would be almost an interactive website on a slide. So the navigation and interactions would remain contained within the slide, be big enough for the learner to view, and not get mixed up. Kind of a home page that you stay on and navigates/scrolls automatically based on the topic you select to arrive at the information you need. With the exception being it must also have clickable icons, images, and tabs you can click through to reveal more information on the subject. So instead of an intimidating bunch of cascading headers and subheadings, it would be a bit more visually appealing and engaging.


Has anyone ever attempted something like this? Is it possible, and which application or techniques did you use?


I have whittled down the information as much as I possibly can. The motivation for this design is to make the process smoother for the student, so they stay on the same slide/page instead of being redirected constantly. Kind of like creating a chapter with all 4 topics in one instead of making them flip to different parts of a book and potentially getting lost and not able to go back.

I have been trying to make this work with Engage, but it doesn't seem to handle complex interactions in addition to large amounts of information well. For example, some of the information might need a click and download of a reference document, or upon hovering a reveal of a definition. The tabbed interaction in Engage works for separating the original 4 tabs but beyond that it would be too much text.


If this is not clear please let me know and I can add some attachments w/examples.


6 Replies
Ellysa Yes

Hi Michael, thank you for the tip! I hadn't tried that. Just applied that trigger to a knowledge branch and so far they are turning out well. I really appreciate your reply! I am a total newbie when it comes to Storyline and kind of just figuring it out on the job so these tips really help! I'm going to show the client and see what they think.

Walt Hamilton


As I read your original, it seems to me that two of the big problems currently are a bunch of cascading headers and sub-headers, and the possibility of the learner getting lost. Those are characteristics of projects that use the built-in menu and Previous and Next buttons.

I think the best thing you can do is do use your own menuing system, and homemade buttons with descriptive text for navigation. The truth is that continuity/feel/theme depend more on consistent shape, size, placement, and message of objects than anything else. You don't need to stay on one slide to do what you are asking. You can, but the more stuff you put on a slide, the more complicated it gets for you. The attached sample shows intuitive navigation, consistent look and feel, and visual theming. I used slide masters quite a bit, especially for the menuing and look and feel. I may have exaggerated a bit in some of the theme colors for emphasis - you may want be a bit more subtle. Most of it is scavenged from previous projects, so a lot of it may seem disconnected.

And of course, you can use lightboxes. Michael is seldom wrong.

Ellysa Yes

Although my supervisor loved the lightboxes, he wanted to customize them and as far as I can tell that's not possible. He mentioned making the lightboxes bigger, moving them into the middle, and setting a new background for lightbox slides. But thank you so much for this suggestion, as I can now use them in future projects!

Joanne Chen

Hi Ellysa,

I concur with Walt, you don't need to stay on one slide to do what you are asking. You can have a home slide describing the medical case and with four layers for learners to learn about each treatment. You can then set four treatment options (button) to appear after all the treatments are visited, and ask learners to choose. The buttons will link to different slides for different treatment options. In fact, there could be more than one slide for one treatment if needed (there might be multiple interaction designs required in one treatment). Just navigate learners back to the home slide with a custom button (maybe "Try another treatment"?) at the end of the treatment option slide.