Would like feedback on 2 samples

Greetings; 

I've created 2 samples in Storyline 360. In both of these I'm integrating music and actual conversations. The characters don't move but then I'm not sure they can in Articulate. I would love some feedback on these as I intend to use them to get more work. 

They can be viewed here:

https://360.articulate.com/review/content/f1ab6546-78b5-4494-8b62-13b17a81eef5/review

https://360.articulate.com/review/content/545c557b-553e-4022-a7f2-db59685e765e/review

Thanks!

10 Replies
Tim Slade

Hi, Ilanna!

Since you built these in Articulate Storyline 360, I might recommend that you publish them to Articulate Review and share the links here. This will make it easier for folks (especially those without SL360) to take a look at your courses and provide feedback.

In the meantime, I’ll download the files in the morning and take a peek!

Tim

Nicole Legault

Hi there! 

Good job pulling these together. Love how you've used background images, characters, and audio. Nice work. 

A few things I would suggest in terms of feedback is perhaps just streamlining the colors / shapes/ fonts. Maybe just select one shade of blue, and perhaps getting rid of the stroke/outline around the shapes could help to just streamline the look. Also, I think I would use a Fade animation instead of a Spin and Grow animation on the chart image. 

One more thing.. I think it's always a good idea to clean up the Menu with proper sentence case, clear titles, etc. So that's another small detail you might consider looking at! :) Hope this is helpful!! Nice job on this!!

Nancy Woinoski

Hi Ilanna, in addition to the great suggestions offered by Nicole I would also recommend cleaning up the body text. There are a few typos on the first slide in the bullying course, and the sentence punctuation is inconsistent throughout. Sometimes you use a single period, sometimes you use two periods, and sometimes none. I also noticed instances where the period was white when it should be black.

Watch for how words are breaking in your sentences. Anti-bullying should be on the same line.

I also recommend increasing the internal margins in the text boxes and callouts so that the text does not look so crowed. Give your text a little breathing space since it is such an important element in your design. I would start by making the left and right margins 20 or 30 pts but play around with it to see what looks best.  

Nicole recommended cleaning up the menu which is a good idea. You might also want to consider placing the menu in the top toolbar for a cleaner look. 

Nicole also mentioned changing the animation on the chart image to Fade. I would take this a step further and streamline the animation throughout the courses. The animation in many cases is distracting and serves no purpose (sorry).  If you only do one thing, get rid of the flying characters in the Mediation course.

Ok, now for the narration. I would get rid of it. Most people are put off by computer-generated voices. Since you are trying to win business with these demos, it would be better to eliminate the audio if you can't use a real human voice.  The narrator is basically reading the on-screen text so it should not take much rework to remove the audio. 

If you decide to keep the narration, I suggest punching up the script a bit. In the bullying course, for example, the narrator says Now or And now at the beginning of almost every slide. This repetition will make your audience tune out. 

If you do keep the narration, try eliminating some of the on-screen text and display keywords or images that support the narration instead. Make sure the narration is synchronized with the text or images.

Finally, both of your examples have the same look and feel. If I were doing this I would create two completely different examples to showcase that I can do more than one thing.  Maybe do one that is more interactive or shows some quizzing.

I hope my feedback does not discourage you. It is intended with a good heart as I really want you to create a great portfolio that leads to lots of work.

 

Ilanna Mandel

Hi:

Thanks for the ultra-helpful feedback. I will definitely attend to those issues, but I also have a few questions:

1. What do you mean when you say they both have the same look?

2. Also, the objective menu is a template from Storyline so are you suggesting a different type of menu? 

3. The feedback I have received from clients is they like the audio narration. The reason I have the same online text as in audio is for accessibility reasons. People who read or listen, should see and hear exactly the same thing. It is not appropriate to short-change one or the other. So, it's an ADA compliance issue. 

4. I did see one white period which I fixed, but I can't see any text with two periods. But, I'll check again.

You have both helped me a great deal, and I appreciate the time you took to view my work. 

Cheers,

Ilanna 

Nancy Woinoski

Hi, 

  1. What I mean by this is that both courses use a lot of similar design elements. They both use the illustrated characters which you present on photo-realistic backgrounds. When you are not using photo backgrounds you present the information on patterned backgrounds. Your text headings on the slides are very similar and you make a lot of use of small text boxes with colored backgrounds. You also use text captions in both courses. The colors and images not identical but the overall impression is the same. Both courses are both page-turners in which the user listens and then clicks the next button to proceed. There is no interaction in the courses.  
  2. The menu I was referring to is the player navigation menu that is displayed on the left side of the course.
  3. I agree that a lot of people say they like audio narration but that is because they often do not have a clear picture of what else is available. Having said that I would be hard-pressed to find anyone who prefers the robot voices over a real human voice. People can read faster than the narrator speaks so users are often frustrated by heavily narrated courses because it slows them down.  If you are going to use this approach the script needs to be lively and engaging and read by a real person not a robot. As for ADA compliance, there are other ways to achieve compliance without putting all of the text on the screen. One way is to use closed captions which users can turn on or off as needed. 
  4. I think I saw 2 places in the bully course that had white periods. The double period was also in that course.

 

Andrea Mandal

Hi Ilanna! I just took a look at the bully course. A good course on an important topic.

I had difficulty with the slide transitions; the slide with the video only let me watch a few seconds of video before I was sent off to the next slide. Perhaps set up the slides with things learners need to watch or do so that they don't automatically advance when the timeline ends; you can put text somewhere on the slide "click the Next button to continue" with an arrow pointing to it or something so that they don't get lost. It could even pop up toward the end of the timeline so it doesn't get in the way of the user experience.

I agree about the computer-generated audio. Real human voices will give a warmer touch to this topic, which is ultimately about human connection. I get that you need audio and text both for Section 508 compliance but you may want to take a look at some threads on here about accessibility and user experience; I think that the HTML5 published content is accessible by screen readers, and often I put my narrated text into the Notes section of the menu (which I then rename Transcript.) If it's at all possible, get people to narrate. A podcasting mic can cost under $100 these days and Audacity is a free audio editor that will allow you to do basic editing, remove noise, and clean up the sound easily.

The last thing I wanted to mention is to consider the overall look and feel from a design perspective. For instance, on the objectives slide, you have boxes inside boxes and separate the themes from their objectives; it might make it more clear to your learners that the theme and objective go together if you have each group in one box. I really do like the color scheme and the patterned background; sticking with that throughout the course might be a good idea instead of switching between the photo backgrounds and the pattern. You want your learners to focus on the content, not the background :)

Andrea Mandal

For the mediator training (and also for the bully one) I think it would be a good idea to give the learner some control, even if only with play/pause button visible if you don't want to have the whole timeline showing. There were places I wanted to pause but was unable.

On the learning objectives, you need to make sure that the voice and the animation are synced up. Also, when there's a text box on the screen, I'm not a big fan of fly in/fly out animations into that box across the rest of the slide. The box serves as a boundary, and I wouldn't expect the contents of it to enter or leave it. Perhaps try a fade animation there?

Also may check with an instructional designer on how to turn the topics of the course into actionable learning objectives with verbs and any kind of standards that need to be followed.

You really need human voices on this one too, these topics are communication based and you've written a fantastic script that begs for narrators and not robots!

When using characters in real life situations, do consider how humans move in those environments; there are a lot of fly in/out where the character just drops off the page. We don't have good 'walking' animations sadly (I've made one and it took forever) but a fly in from the left or the right might feel more realistic (or at least less jarring) than a fly in from the top or the bottom.

Please let me know if you have questions!

Michael Oppenheimer

The use of stock photo backgrounds has become very popular.  However, they can be a distraction. one of the techniques i try to do is either fade the images (typically by making them translucent), or blur the background image. Sometimes doing both is also effective.  Blurring is not available within Storyline.

If you don't have a dedicated image editor like Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or GIMP consider using the image blur effect within PowerPoint.  Export the image out of PowerPoint and then import image in Storyline.  

Whatever image style you decide to go with, be consistent.