Best practice for navigation

I often try to think about what's best for an end-user in regards to navigation for a course, especially when a course involves hyperlinking to other slides because this introduces a whole new set of navigation to the table.

In my newest course, I decided it was one or the other:

  • Use the Articulate navigation buttons

OR

  • Create my own navigation buttons

There's some drawbacks involved.

If you decide to use the Articulate navigation, it can be confusing. The navigation offers 2 seperate buttons to navigate forward (While I do not agree that this is confusing, I have users who beg to differ). Also, if you are using hyperlinks in your presentation, you are now introducing yet another place the user can click to navigate.

I decided to just create 2 buttons, a forward and backward button in my latest course (on the slide, each with a hyperlink to Go to Next Slide, or Previous Slide) to keep all of the navigation on the screen to try to eliminate any confusion. I've eliminated all navigation options from the course player except for the Outline button in case a user wants more options to jump around the course.

What are your ideas?

16 Replies
Rachel Leigh

In the modules I am currently working on, I am using the Articulate navigation buttons and using branching in the courses.  In the beginning of each module, I also have some instructional slides on the how to navigate using the Articulate buttons, how to switch between the different types of views, and how to submit answers to knowledge checks.  I also provide the option to skip this section for people who don't need the refresher. 

Natalia Mueller

I have a few different things I use. Our employees are accustomed to the Articulate player and while each series of courses may have different skin/player elements, they're all pretty similar. For general navigation instructions, volume, resize button, etc  we have an Engage Labeled Graphic inserted as a tab on all courses. In the beginning of each course, we tell them it's there if they need it. 

Within the course most of the navigation is done thru the player controls, however,  I do use a lot of hyperlinking for software simulation and knowledge checks. Since that comes and goes, I want to be sure the user is aware that something different is expected of them on that particular screen. Anytime they need to click in the screen instead of using a player control, a Participation Icon pops up at the bottom of the screen. This is just something I made in ppt so they would have a consistent visual cue and they have come to recognize it. We also reference resources that are available as attachments throughout the course. Instead of telling them that constantly, we have an Attachment Icon that pops up as well. 

Here is what they look like and I've also attached the ppt file with the animated version so anyone that wants to is free to use them.

*Note: These are the original ppt object versions so you can ungroup and deconstruct/change them. I convert all elements to png for the courses.

Colin Eagles

+1 to Natalia.

Personally, in a lot of cases, I tend to stick to Articulates provided buttons for a few reasons:

  1. I can allow folks to use the seekbar to scan through the slides. This is especially nice if there is any significant amount of audio. There is nothing worse than having to sit through a slide just to pick out a key word or phrase - the seekbar allows me to save learners that aggrevation;
  2. I'm sad to admit this… but, using the provided buttons saves me time - tons of time. I don't have to "test" the navigation (if it's simple slide to slide progression) to the same degree if I use the defaults; and;
  3. As Natalia mentioned, I also use a tabbed engage that I attach to most modules demonstrating the basic parts of the player. If I use something custom for a module or two, I have to retool this engage to fit the custom job. It's not always worth the time.

As to the point about hyperlinking within a module being confusing, and again, to build on what Natalia mentioned, I use markers or animations to help users with the navigation.  I try to keep everything as intuitive as possible - while remembering that my audiences idea of intuitive and mine often differ.  When I can't be intuitive, I'm overt and blunt.  A pulsing | CLICK HERE | often works well.

In short (or long, as the case was), I keep the Articulate buttons in all but the most custom of situations.

Jeff Kortenbosch

I tend to stick to the Articulate navigation as well. I use branching quite a bit and as Colin mentions it saves me a LOT of time to use the navigation provided. We also have a how to navigate this course page that explains in short how to navigate. Also I often use pointing out (handwritten fonts with organic arrows) to indicate additional clickable areas or other actions on the slide.

I like Natalia's icon method as well.

In general I think our users will get the hang of the Articulate navigation after a few clicks. It doesn't get any more basic so I accept the learning curve for the 5% that doen't intuitivly get it

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I love the idea of using an Engage labeled graphic tab for those who need it. An easy way for instructional designers to address different skill levels. Skipping slides is good too. But the aesthetic of "pulling down" this option if you need it, "releasing it back up" when you're done (kind of like a window shade) and otherwise having a clean screen appeals to me.

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

Hi Rebekah,

I think this may be what you're looking for:

Normal 0 oNotShowComments /> false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

Assuming the interaction has already been created

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation that willinclude this interaction.
  2. Select the Articulate tab
  3. From the Insert Group, Click the EngageInteraction button
  4. The Quizzes and Interactions dialog box willopen
  5. On the left panel, select Player tabs
  6. Click the Add existing button on the right
  7. Browse to the Interactions (.intr) file
  8. After the interaction is inserted, close thedialog box
  9. Back in PowerPoint, preview any slide. You’llsee the new interaction tab near the top right of the window.

Creating a new Tab Interaction

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation...
  2. Select the Articulate tab
  3. From the Insert Group, Click the EngageInteraction button
  4. The Quizzes and Interactions dialog box willopen
  5. On the left panel, select Player tabs
  6. Click the Create new button on the right
  7. Choose Engage Interaction from the drop-down
  8. Begin creating the interaction and go from there
Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

P.S. Not sure how all that garbage came in above my post. I'm thinking it's because I originally wrote my answer in Word and copied/pasted, and some binary code came with me. Live and learn. Here it is again, copied/pasted from plain text editor (Notepad). Hopefully it will eliminate all the garbage!

Assuming the interaction has already been created

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation that will include this interaction.
  2. Select the Articulate tab
  3. From the Insert Group, Click the Engage Interaction button
  4. The Quizzes and Interactions dialog box will open
  5. On the left panel, select Player tabs
  6. Click the Add existing button on the right
  7. Browse to the Interactions (.intr) file
  8. After the interaction is inserted, close the dialog box
  9. Back in PowerPoint, preview any slide. You’ll see the new interaction tab near the top right of the window.


Creating a new Tab Interaction

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation...
  2. Select the Articulate tab
  3. From the Insert Group, Click the Engage Interaction button
  4. The Quizzes and Interactions dialog box will open
  5. On the left panel, select Player tabs
  6. Click the Create new button on the right
  7. Choose Engage Interaction from the drop-down
  8. Begin creating the interaction and go from there
Melissa Kryglowski

I have Presenter 5.4 and I'm having trouble with hyperlinking within the powerpoint presentation.  I'm using a picture as the hyperlink and maybe that's the problem because when I use text as to hyperlink it works just fine.  Is that the case? You can hyperlink with text but not a picture?  It works fine in the powerpoint but once I publish to Articulate the hyperlinks graphics no longer work.

Any insight would be appreciate! Thanks!

Natalia Mueller

@Melissa- I can't tell you why, but I've had problems with hyperlinking images too. Maybe it has to do with the compression process? What I do for all of my hyperlinks is

  • Create a PowerPoint shape (circle, rectangle, whatever)
  • Size and place the shape over the image
  • Add a hyperlink to the shape
  • Format to have no outline and no fill (making it invisible)

Works like a charm!

Tip - Name it in the Selection Pane. That will make it easy for you to locate/move as needed. Also, you can insert them in the slide master. For example, a home button you always want to link to the menu slide. 

Natalia Mueller

Another note on using transparent ppt shapes for hyperlinks...

You can do some cool effects with them by making them appear at designated times. So the image is not "clickable" until a certain time. You can also cover the rest of slide in another transparent, hyperlinked object and send them to specific feedback slides based on what area of the screen they clicked.

Meg Bertapelle

Natalia Spurgin said:

I have a few different things I use. Our employees are accustomed to the Articulate player and while each series of courses may have different skin/player elements, they're all pretty similar. For general navigation instructions, volume, resize button, etc  we have an Engage Labeled Graphic inserted as a tab on all courses. In the beginning of each course, we tell them it's there if they need it. 

Within the course most of the navigation is done thru the player controls, however,  I do use a lot of hyperlinking for software simulation and knowledge checks. Since that comes and goes, I want to be sure the user is aware that something different is expected of them on that particular screen. Anytime they need to click in the screen instead of using a player control, a Participation Icon pops up at the bottom of the screen. This is just something I made in ppt so they would have a consistent visual cue and they have come to recognize it. We also reference resources that are available as attachments throughout the course. Instead of telling them that constantly, we have an Attachment Icon that pops up as well. 

Here is what they look like and I've also attached the ppt file with the animated version so anyone that wants to is free to use them.

*Note: These are the original ppt object versions so you can ungroup and deconstruct/change them. I convert all elements to png for the courses.


hey thanks! great little icons!

Simon Perkins

I reckon 9 out of 10 courses I build have custom nav.  I know that generally means checking tons of hyperlinks but the upside IMO is being able to blend those buttons into the 'look and feel'.  I don't know why, but I've never felt particularly comfortable 'relying' on the default Player buttons.  Sure, the scrub bar can have its place, but I prefer switching to Slide Only view and managing everything from within the slide.