Have you seen a really cool software simulation?

Hi, all

We've used Captivate or Articulate Presenter to create all of our software simulations (demos with screenshots). It's Okay, but not cool and modern. The screenshots pace is a bit slow, and the captions to explain the screenshots are a bit boring as well. After a few screenshots, the training get a little boring and tedious.

Have you seen any really cool, sharp, and modern software simulation? I'd appreciate if you could share any.

Thank you.

37 Replies
Jenny Wang

For example, how are the tutorials on Articulate made below? What tool is used? It looks like this is recorded real time with the narration, with the mouse animation retained.

http://www.articulate.com/products/presenter-tutorials.php

Another example I see is the tutorial from Lectora below. What tool was used to create the demo like this?

http://www.trivantis.com/lectora-pro-suite-elearning-software-video-tutorials

Robert Kennedy

Hi JW, You don't have to go the Captivate screenshot route.  The tutorials you mentioned are videos done with quite a bit of editing.  You can do some tutorials in CAmtasia or even use Screenr to do them then do some stitiching using Camtasia or another video program.  I think you can probably do some awesome things with some stitched and edited screenr tutorials.

The Lectora tuts seem to be done in Camtasia as well but I could be wrong.  Bottom line is that you do get a sharper looking tutorial if you use a full video option that allows you to zoom and callout as opposed to Captivate's full screen or WindowRecording and captioning options. 

Kristen Hull

I use Captivate a lot, and from watching a couple of those Captivate videos, I bet they did use it.  You can pan, include narration, show the mouse movement, zoom, etc.  I'm a pretty big fan of Captivate for software simultation (and interactive training), so if your stuff seems boring...maybe you are relying on default settings too much?  (I also insert slides images [not simulations] to show life cycles, definitions etc.) 

Kristen Hull

Re: Captivate 4

Hmmm, I have used both versions but I can't  completely remember what Captivate 4 was like!  (My brain must have deleted that stuff when it made room for the new version).  I'm pretty sure? that you could do all that you have listed back then.  The big change was the interface overhaul and then a bunch of other fancy items: http://www.cpguru.com/2010/05/04/adobe-captivate-5-the-new-features/

They do live training sessions now and all the previous sessions have been recorded (they are near the bottom of the page I am linking below).  Although the GUI will be different, it might give you ideas for improvement.  I pick something up every session I attend (and Vish and Pooja who teach make me laugh!)

http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/event/index.cfm?event=list&loc=en_us&type=online_event&product=Captivate&interest=&audience=&monthyear=

Dan Rollins

Another option.. if you can get your hands on a Mac, is an incredible program called ScreenFlow by Telestream (http://www.telestream.net/screen-flow/overview.htm). Untouchable for the price and the features ($99).

Here is an example I did for a client, this is a simple example that doesn't use ALL of the features.. but you can get the idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhGXxSyKMRU#t=31s

Again, it is Mac only but I actually bought a used Mac a few years ago JUST to use this program because it was untouchable at the time. I have since been converted to a Mac... except of course when it comes to Articulate  that are the only thing holding me in the PC world!!!

Betst of luck!

Dan Rollins

LiveWireFilms.com

Jenny Wang

Dan Rollins said:

Another option.. if you can get your hands on a Mac, is an incredible program called ScreenFlow by Telestream (http://www.telestream.net/screen-flow/overview.htm). Untouchable for the price and the features ($99).

Here is an example I did for a client, this is a simple example that doesn't use ALL of the features.. but you can get the idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhGXxSyKMRU#t=31s

Again, it is Mac only but I actually bought a used Mac a few years ago JUST to use this program because it was untouchable at the time. I have since been converted to a Mac... except of course when it comes to Articulate  that are the only thing holding me in the PC world!!!

Betst of luck!

Dan Rollins

LiveWireFilms.com

Hi Dan

Thanks for sharing the ScreenFlow application. Your demo project looks cool! We are thinking of getting a Mac, once the budget is available.

Jenny Wang

Gerry Wasiluk said:

Or just do simple screen captures and use in AP and then use the AP annotation tools--if your needs are very simple.

Using this method, the output can be really sharp.

Yes, more work to set up but far easier to update a single screen shot then doing a whole new recording sometimes.

(And we can wonder what Articulate Storyline will let us do here?)

Gerry, thanks for your ideas. I also like the article you hyperlinked, and have been using that in our current projects. But I found it quite time-consuming. If I want to do panning, zooming, or animation on mouse, it takes a lot of manual editing.

With our SME as a different team, it seems also hard to use Screenr, which requires SMEs to navigate the application and narrate the training at the same time. From the posts shared here, it seems Captivate seems a good alternative, allowing animation, panning, zooming, and voiceover (as separate process).

Your thoughts?

Gerry Wasiluk

Do all of your SMEs have Captivate?  How technical are they?  Would Captivate or Camtasia be too much for them?

The nice thing about Screenr is that it is free and easy to use.  The challenge would be the different abilities of the SMEs and their voice levels.

Just brainstorming outloud, could you have the SMEs capture their contributions in Screenr and then you re-do them in Screenr or another tool with a single narrator or a team of narrators?  You can always record the video in Screenr and then do the voiceover in Articulate if the MP4 is synched to the slide. 

And I'm trying to remember if annotations in AP appear over imported Flash videos or not . . .

Gerry Wasiluk

Also, the majority of software simulations that I've seen are just plain boring or are just click-throughs--and it's not usually the tool, it's the presentation. 

I need a simulation that I can relate to and has meaning to me.  Most folks do just one around an operation.  How much better if I could choose the appropriate scenario to go through to learn the tool.  But that's more work (and cost).

I'd prefer something where I'm using the tool and something stays on top and directs me what to do.  Anything removed from the tool itself usually seems too unreal or abstract to me, though YMMV. 

Dan Rollins

Actually Gerry, I wanted to promote my "Gerry Fan Club"!!

JW, the other challenge for the SME's with Screenr would be to record what they need in 5min. I agree with Jerry that Screenr is good because of the cost (or lack thereof), the SME's would all need to have access to it since it is a streaming video site (my last job blocked it at 1st).

They could record their steps and record audio that would only be for YOU or the designer (their audio would be your design guide). Then you pull the MP4 and use a pro-tool like Camtasia, ScreenFlow or Captivate to clean-up the screenrecordings and then record your formal narration and sync it all up, and if the SME needed to record it in several chunks you could bring in all the MP4's and cut them together. Sounds like a lot of work but if you want an effective Simulation/Screencast it will take work.

Good luck!

Dan

Jenny Wang

Gerry

Thanks for your ideas combining Screenr and Articulate. I haven't thought of that before. I really appreciate your reminder of choosing the appropriate scenario to help learners navigate the application (tool). You are right, it's about the presentation, not really the tool, isn't it?

We usually don't expect our SME to be technical...And I like the fact that Captivate's text-to-speech function. Using Screenr and then adding voiceover in Presenter...Did Articulate use this method to produce their tutorials? If so, this looks cool and modern to me.