Very slow course with animated GIF

We have a course that becomes very slow for our end-users when entering a page that contains animated gifs. When we analyze the output we notice that the original file utb_4_innemiljo_battre_luftkvalitet.gif (4102 kB) becomes significantly larger in the flash output story_content\6DfLcIBa2dN_DX1134_DY1134.swf (25 839 kB). That is more than 6 times the file size!

The html5 version shows the original animated gif and the page loads normally.

When we used another tool to convert the animated gif into swf, we got a file size that was equal to the original file. But we can't swap and use the new swf in the Storyline output - the tempo is distorted and the all-in-all apperance is not right.

What can we do to get a course that loads faster for our flash-users?

I have attached a test course and a output demo here: http://demo.autotech.se/articulate/story.html Page 2 and 3-4 have animated gifs(click on the left circles).

5 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Anna, 

I took a look at the course you shared here and viewed it in Chrome with Flash enabled. I took a video of what I was seeing, as I wasn't sure without the original gif file if it was slow or not? Can you take a look at this and let me know how that compares to what you'd expect?

If this doesn't match what you created perhaps you can share the original GIF file as well?

Also can you confirm that you're using the latest update of Storyline, Update 10? 

Anna Elvnejd

Thanks for your reply. The problem does not occur in your film. What happens to our end-users is that they have to wait almost a minute for the next page to load (the load icon appers) when they are going to a page that contains animated gif. We didn't discover the problem in our tests prior delivery, maybe because of better Internet connection, but we have received complaints from our client during this summer.

The course was first delivered in Mar 2016. Now we have republished the course using Update 10, since the release notes contained fixes for animated gif files. No improvement in output file size though.

The first attachment of this thread already contains (besides the .story-file): the original GIF file, the output SWF and the SWF we created with smaller file size.

Your comment made me think of the possibility that it's somehow within the LMS that problem of a slow course is noticeable..? I have attached a PDF with a link to our LMS (moodle) where the course is published and also instructions on how to access it.

 

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Anna,

Thanks for sharing the link to your current course. I took that one while in Chrome and had an initial delay while the first slide with the GIF (I believe slide 3) loaded, but it didn't seem to be particularly long? I didn't have any other delays after that and the actual GIF playback was in line with what I had previously shared in the video.

I also took a look at your original file folder, and the GIF I saw in there was a smaller size than the SWF file that was also in there? I didn't noticed that the GIF was larger in that folder as you mentioned. So I took a look at publishing your course and uploading it to SCORM Cloud which is an industry standard for LMS testing. You can take a look at my version here. This one again had about a 3 second delay while the first GIF slide loaded up, but beyond that everything else progressed normally. Storyline courses will preload content in the following order:

  • Assets are loaded for the first slide (or the current slide when resuming), so the course can begin playing right away.
  • Assets are then loaded for the next three slides to prevent playback delays.
  • Assets are then loaded for the remainder of the course.

So perhaps it's the delay between loading of those assets and slides that your users are experiencing based on the wifi/internet speed they have and hosting location? 

Anna Elvnejd

Hi Ashley,

For me the SCORM Cloud version was slower than the version on our LMS, see attached video. I think you're right about the assumption that the problem is affected by the internet speed and hosting location - I'm in Sweden and you're in the US. Which in turn could be less problematic if the output file size was smaller than it is right now. 

What can we do to get a course that loads faster for our flash-users?

I know that you don't support adjusting the output files, but I will ask anyway: Are there any instructions or specifications on how to recreate the output swf content files so that they will appear the same way as it does right now? I would like to replace the largest swf files with new smaller ones (that I create outside of Storyline).

Ashley Terwilliger

Definitely seems to be an internet speed and connection issue than since it's so different for each of us. One idea would be looking at spacing out the slides with the heavy media loading items, but that would change your whole set up. As far as the modifications to the files, I know some folks in the community have looked at replacing MP4s in their published output with the original - although I'm not sure if the same would work for the SWF files. If you decide to give it a try, just make sure you have a back up of the original .story file and that way you can always republish the content if something goes off wrong.