Presenting Dos and Don’ts

The good old “Dos and Don’ts” list is a quick and easy way to teach people how to perform their jobs. This week’s e-learning challenge was to create a novel way of presenting these lists. So, I decided to make mine about the restaurant business, directed towards those on the front lines, the servers.

DosDonts

I recently saw a graphic image of two faces facing each other in b/w and I thought I could employ similar imagery to create this simple little interaction. The learner is presented with a scenario and then selects either the “Do” face or the “Don’t” face to see an example of each.

DosDontsFeedback.jpg

This could very easily be adapted to give actual lists of Dos and Don’ts for each scenario even though I only offered one example for each.

DosDontsFeedback2.jpg

Rather than using the Next and Previous buttons, I gave learners the option to “Try Again” to see the other option for the current scenario or to go on to the “Next Scenario”. Try it out yourself and let me know what you think!

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What Should You Include in a QA Checklist? Part Two

In my last blog I introduced you to the QA Checklist and talked more specifically about styles as they relate to the way text is presented. This week we’re going to focus on QA for animations.

Animations to Objects on the Screen
Most animations in e-learning are entrance and exit animations. For example: a picture might enter the screen by growing from small to large, fly in, fade in, etc. A picture might be set to exit the screen by flying out, fading out, or may not have any exit animation at all. In Storyline, there is a setting on the timeline for showing objects until the timeline ends, or to show always.

entrance exit

entrance exit

So, there are four primary things to look out for:
1. Are the entrance and exit animations set to the right type (IE: fade, fly, grow, etc.)?
2. Are the images appearing and disappearing at the correct time? This is especially important when you have voice-over narration that the images are supposed to be synced up to.
3. Is the length of time it takes for the image to animate in and out set to the right number of seconds/milliseconds?
4. Are images unexpectedly disappearing before the screen finishes? This is why it’s crucial to make sure you are watching each screen until the end to make sure this isn’t happening. Objects may disappear like this because they were copied and pasted from another screen with a shorter or longer timeline.

Oftentimes after the narration gets added, the timeline gets longer and some of the images may have not been set to stay on until the end of the timeline. In the example pictured below, one of the images disappears at the 30 second mark because the narration extended the timeline.

image set to disappear at 30s mark

image set to disappear at 30s mark

Transition Animations from Screen to Screen
I like to set my animations to do a quick cross-fade from screen to screen as I think it makes the modules appear to run more smoothly rather than an abrupt jump from one screen to another. But there are a lot of screen-to-screen animation options available. You just want to be sure they’re set the way you want them.

I tend to duplicate screens to save time when adding new ones, but occasionally I will add a new screen from scratch, and that’s when I’m most likely to miss adding my favorite cross-fade animation to a screen.

Have I Missed Anything?
Now I would love to hear from you about animation settings. Are there any things I haven’t mentioned here that we should be looking out for? Feel free to add your comments below and we can add them to our QA Checklist for animations.

What Should You Include in a QA Checklist? Part One

First off, I should apologize. In the words of Robert Palmer, “I didn’t mean to turn you on” with such a sexy and provocative subject as the Quality Assurance Checklist. So with all apologies aside, let’s get this party started.

perfect-pouty-lips

What’s it for?
We use QA Checklists to troubleshoot for errors in navigation, animations, spelling, graphic elements and a whole host of other things. QACs are also great for ensuring the styles are consistent throughout a series of courses.

Consistency Aids Comprehension
Let’s say you’re doing software training. You may have had a number of SMEs from different areas of the company who have contributed content. Some of them italicize the names of each screen name, some put them in parenthesis, some capitalize the first letter of every report name, some don’t, some put keyboard commands in bold, some don’t.

For the learner, software training can be difficult enough. One almost subliminal way of making your training more intuitive and comprehensible is to simply be consistent. If all report names are in title case, all screen names are italicized, and all keyboard commands are in bold; the learner will naturally pick that up and have a much easier time understanding your instructions.

Branding
You also run into this a lot in sales training where the company’s name, their line of products and services, and their brands are supposed to be presented a certain way. Here’s a before and after, just to give you an example:

BEFORE: TrueSearch’s SearchTech solutions offer a variety of software products to address your customer’s SEO needs including: SearchBait, ExecuSearch, and RealTimeMonitor. True-search designed search-tech solutions with their particular business in mind. Realtime-monitor, for example can be tailored to any company’s particular SEO needs.

AFTER: TrueSearch’s SearchTech solutions offer a variety of software products to address your customer’s SEO needs including: SearchBait, ExecuSearch, and RealTimeMonitor. TrueSearch designed SearchTech solutions with their particular business in mind. RealTimeMonitor, for example can be tailored to any company’s particular SEO needs.

Be Careful With Search and Replace
One final note of caution. NEVER do a “search and replace all” or you’ll suffer some embarrassing consequences! As tedious as it may seem, you’ll want to look at each instance of a word or phrase individually. I can’t tell you how many times a “search and replace all” has backfired resulting in unexpected global errors.

embarrassed

Free QA Checklist
In my next post, I will talk in more detail about other areas to include in your QA Checklist. But for now, here’s a free, editable one I created in Excel to get you started.