Animating bullet points - timed or not timed, that is the question

OK, so I am creating some articulate courses which have some bullet points that need to come up on the same I am creating a basic fade entrance effect on each bullet...basic PowerPoint stuff, right.

Bu I am wondering what best practice is when it comes to timing the animations.  If I go with the 'by click' option then when I publish it seems a bit too slow to me for those learners who read fast...but if I go with an 'after previous' animation then it may come across as being too quick.

So, recognising that some people read quicker than others (and knowing that some bullets have more words than others) what do you think is the best way of animating bullet points?  'By click', 'after animation' or 'timed' to a set number of seconds?

8 Replies
Dale Hargis


Are you synchronizing with narration or are the animations by themselves?

My personal opinion would be that if there is no narration, on click would be best, then the learner can pace their own learning.

I think you would also have to consider how the rest of the course has been navigated.  If it has been established that the user will click their way through everything to navigate then by click works.  If, through the rest of the course the animations and elements play automatically, then I would go that route.  Consistency and keeping the learner from being confused are probably the key elements.

Dale Hargis

John Scudder

Hey Robin

I usually try to talk my clients out of animated text bullets, since they offer very little to a presentation and result in more time spent in production (i.e. more $$$ for them). Also, if you end up dealing with grouped object animations, they can be a complete nightmare (some PowerPoint source versions more-so than others).

Anyway, when I do include such text animations, I usually have them animate automatically and adjust their timing in AP's audio editor. Seems the simplest approach to me. 

Good luck..!!

Robin Fenner

Thanks Dale, John for your speedy replies.

I am not using narration (as intended audience is the general public and it is not known if they will have sound cards installed) and am using automated animations on each slide so that the user clicks 'next' only once the entire slide has finished.

Excuse my ignorance as I am fairly new to Articulate, but I am guessing that Audio Editor won't be relevant for me in this case.  So, I take your points that I need to be consistent...and that perhaps just showing all the text at the same time is probably best....unless there is a real need to synch it with a meaningful image?

John Scudder

Hey Robin

If you have no audio, you could always add a blank/silent audio file to that slide and set the automated animation timings as I mentioned above. You may still be able to adjust them without a blank audio file...but, that's something I've never tried (all my work contains audio). The problem, of course, is that such an approach still ties the animations to a timeline independent of the kind of user-driven advancement I believe you're hoping for. So, it seems you only have a few options...

1. Animate the bullets to appear automatically, all at once.

1. Animate On-Click and have the user advance each bullet's appearance (this would drive me crazy as an end-user,, it seems you should provide instructions to advance when ready (besides the AP controller prompt))

2. Animate the bullets to appear automatically, using a natural time gap. For instance, have the first bullet appear as the slide loads and then set all subsequent bullets to appear automatically 2-3 seconds after the previous animation (this is set in PPT, not AP). This will have them appear one after the other and leave your end-user with just a single click to advance to the next slide.

Simon Perkins

Most bullet point animations I do are based around 'wipe in' 'very fast'.  But that depends on the 'look and feel' of the course ... in which case 'fade in' is sometimes better.  Either way, I tend to create a duplicate slide with no animations.  Why?  Well, when the learner is moving 'forward' through the course they hit the animated slides, but if at any time they decide to return to a previously animated slide, they get the static version.  I.e. they've seen the slide already and therefore don't need to sit through the sequence once again.  I apply this not only to bullets but to most other simple animations too. 


Sarah Tinson

Simon - that's a great idea! A few of my slides are heavy on the animations, so this would work well. Do you just do comething clever with branching to achieve this?

Robin - I have most of my animations set to fade in. (We don't use audio at the moment). I usually set the animiations to 1 second or so (we have PP 2010) - that way they don't appear at the speed of light - rather just slightly less than that

Then, when I synch in the Articulate I read the content (quietly!) out loud to myself to gauge timings, then have someone else preview to check. So, if I had a list of text or bullets appearing the timings may be different for each one depending on how much content there is.

I also remind users in one of the first introductory screens that they can pause the course at anytime.


Jeff Kortenbosch

I often do the same as Simon, have a slide with specific animations and have a duplicate slide without it which is hidden and only accessible for users via the branching of the course.

I try to keep the variation in animations to a minimum when I use them in a course as I feel it confuses our learners more than it helps them focus on the content.