UPDATE - RESOLVED: Next and Previous - forced navigation structure not working

Hi everyone,

I have recently commenced a new role elsewhere developing eLearning SCORM packages using Articulate Storyline 3.

I have been provided with an Articulate template file, to which my clients want me to use the default Next and Previous buttons in-built to the player, rather than custom ones. 

I am trying to design every slide, so that the user cannot just skip through by pressing Next over and over. So, what I have done, is for almost every slide, the Next button will not appear until either the end of the timeline, or if a certain requirement has been fulfilled, such as clicking on interactions. 

I have also done this with the Previous button, so the Previous button is also hidden and will not be revealed until the end of the slide's timeline or if certain requirements are fulfilled, again such as clicking on all interactions. 

I have set all slides so that the slides advanced "by user" and if you click on the Previous button, every slide is set to "Resume saved state", because I do not want users having to watch an entire slide again to be able to progress.

Here's where my problem lies. 

If the user hits the Previous button, yes, they can go back and review the previous slide without having to re-watch it, but both the Next and Previous buttons are gone/hidden. 

So, here's what I want to do: 

1 - Make it so you have to go through each and every slide, so you cannot hit Next until the slide's timeline is complete or a certain interactive requirement is fulfilled. 

2 - Be able to go back and forward through already seen slides, without having to re-watch them.

3 - I want both the Next and Previous buttons to be available for all re-visited slides. 

Unfortunately, due to policy and security, I am not allowed to upload my working file for assistance, which is why I tried to provide as much information I could. I hope my post makes sense?


2 Replies
Judy Nollet

The easiest way to ensure that the user can't advance until the slide's timeline ends is to set the course navigation to Restricted. This is done in the Player's Menu options (even if you don't show the menu).

Restricted navigation automatically disables the NEXT button the first time a user encounters a slide, and enables it when the timeline is done. And the NEXT button will stay enabled whenever the user returns to a previously visited slide.

  • As for interactive slides, you'd need to use custom triggers with conditions and variables to disable the NEXT button until the interaction is completed. There are multiple posts in the Forum about how to do that.

As for the PREV button: I see no reason to hide or disable it. Learners typically know they have to go through an entire course (and possibly pass a quiz). There's no reason for them to click the PREV button -- unless they actually want to review the previous content. And why would you want to prevent them from doing that?

BTW, when using the default PREV and NEXT buttons, I think it's always best to use the Disabled state rather than hiding the buttons. That's especially true for the NEXT button, because if you hide it, the PREV button moves into its place -- where someone may click it and then get confused about where they are in the course.

Craig Brown

Hi Judy, 

Thank you for your response. Before you took the time to reply (which I sincerely appreciate), I was able to resolve the issue, but I failed to update this thread. 

You are correct, the PREV button did not need hiding or disabling. I only hid the PREV on the very first slide (as well as the NEXT button) because as according to the approved template I'm working with, the first slide is supposed to have its own custom "Start Course" button, for some reason. 

Anyway, here is the resolution I took. 

I did some digging and found this thread here in the e-Learning Heroes Community: https://community.articulate.com/discussions/articulate-storyline/next-button-disabled-when-viewing-previous-slides - so huge credit goes to user Diana Meyers for this one. 

So with almost every "compulsory" slide (e.g. I want the user to actually read the content on screen), I set a trigger so that the NEXT button would be disabled (not hidden) at the beginning of the slide, but I did not set it to be "Timeline starts" under Timeline Events. Instead, I set the trigger so the NEXT button would be disabled "When the timeline reaches time 0s"

I set it this way because if you set it to "Timeline starts" then hit the NEXT button, but for some reason want to go back and click on PREV, then the NEXT button would become disabled again and there would be no way to progress. However, by setting the disabling function to begin "when the timeline reaches time 0s", this issue does not occur, meaning the user can freely navigate back and forward. 

On my "compulsory slides", the NEXT button is triggered to return to "Normal" when the timeline reaches the end of the slide, or (in certain slides) when a certain time limit has passed, or if a certain criteria has been met (such as clicking on all on-screen interactions). This is to prevent the user from attempting to skim through the course without viewing the content, meaning they must either wait a certain amount of time or achieve said certain criteria (such as clicking on all interactions) in order to progress forward, so they might as well view the content on screen. 

As you suggested as well Judy, the course navigation structure has been set to Restricted. So in accordance to the template I was provided, I must reveal the left side contents tab, but have made it so that users cannot click on forward slides in an attempt to skip through the content. Once they have visited certain slides, then they may re-visit these slides by using the contents tab. They cannot use the contents tab to jump through the course and go off path. 

I have also set it so that all slides are set to "Resume saved data" when re-visiting. This means that if a user hits the PREV button or chooses a previous slide via the contents tab, they will not need to re-watch the entire slide again. 

Apologies for my long response, Judy, I just wanted to let you know my resolution behind this issue. Once again, I do sincerely appreciate that you took the time to comment with possible solutions, thank you so much.