As course designers, each of us approaches e-learning with a different design eye, and a preference for how our courses look. Sure they have to be neat and tidy, but sometimes they need a few custom details to make the design cohesive. One way to do that is to add customized Next and Back buttons. And Articulate Studio ’13 makes it so easy and fun to create controls that seamlessly integrate with your design. Today, I’d like to share with you three ways to jazz up the Next and Back buttons for your learners.

Change Button Text

If you just want to change the labels on the buttons, there’s an easy way to do that. Open your Player Properties and select Text Labels. You’ve probably already noticed that you can change the language of the player here, from English to German or French, etc. But underneath, you can also overwrite the text that appears on the buttons. Scroll down to “Next Button” and change the text in the right column to anything you want.

In this example, I changed it to “Continue.” You can preview your changes by clicking on the Update Preview button underneath the table. You can do the same with the PREV button by scrolling down to “Previous Button” and adding your text in the right column.

Selectively Hide the PREV and NEXT Buttons

Sometimes, it makes sense to hide either the PREV or NEXT buttons, or both. For example, if your slide already has custom buttons, having the standard PREV and NEXT buttons might confuse learners. Or, maybe you want to restrict the way learners navigate your course so they can only go ahead, not backward. For these instances and more, you can easily hide the standard controls from the Slide Properties menu:

When you select the slide, take a look at the right side of the panel under the Branching heading. Just uncheck either of the boxes to disable one or both of the buttons.

Notice that this will also change the slide information you’ll see under Controls (between Branching and Features). This is another way to turn the buttons on or off with just a click.

Change Linking for PREV and NEXT

Sometimes when you’re developing a course with a branching scenario, you might want to jump to a slide that’s not next in line. As such, you need to be able to change the navigation to skip to certain slides to support your scenario. Simply open Slide Properties and select your destination from the list of slides available:

What I really like about this is that you get a small preview of that slide, which makes it super easy to confirm where your link should go.

Ready for a quick navigation tip? When you’re testing your course and realize that something might be wrong with your navigation (such as a broken link), start by going to the Slide Properties overview. Here, you can give a quick look at the Controls information and see if there’s a link missing. It’s a great first step to troubleshooting navigation problems!

What about you? Do you have some tips to share about customizing navigation buttons? Please leave us a comment below and share your thoughts. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

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