Monday, October 17, 2011

Using Raptivity with Captivate

Several Captivate users build Raptivity interactions for use in their elearning and presentation materials. Adobe, the maker of Captivate, has been releasing upgrades and new versions of Captivate over the past several quarters. Naturally, their users want to stay on top of the best ways to use Raptivity within Captivate.

Raptivity for its part has also kept a high pace of innovation, with new releases coming out ever so often. The resources I will cite here are useful for Raptivity 5.5, 6.0, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.5.

A recent blog post on the Raptivity blog addresses the integration of Raptivity with Captivate quite comprehensively for Captivate 5.5, Captivate 5 and Captivate 4. In addition, here are some more places you might want to go.

  1.  The first place to go is the ‘Using Raptivity Output with Other Tools’ document which you will find under the resources page of Raptivity website.
  2. The Captivate integration steps – if you are trying to work around audio issues – are found here.
  3. One great place to get the latest word on this is the online Raptivity Community. Here you will find discussion forum on Raptivity Captivate integration
  4. Community forums for all other tools are accessed here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Raptivity 6.6 Enhanced Element Collection Management

When a product evolves from one generation to the next, many things get better - sometimes to a point where you find it hard to imagine how they had been before. I am having one of those moments with Raptivity right now.

One recently implemented feature of Raptivity 6.6  has got me thinking. It is the Enhanced Element Collection Management functionality. I know that sounds a mouthful - but the idea is really basic. In designing interactions, you often need collections of similar elements. Examples - a pyramid has levels, a flipbook has pages, a simulation has scenes, an animation has path segments, a rollover diagram has hotspots, an assessment has questions and so forth. All these are examples of collections.

In working with collections, here are some common situations the course developer comes across:

  1. Add a new element
  2. Delete an element in between 
  3. Duplicate an element along with its contents
  4. Drag an element from somewhere and place it  somewhere else

You can imagine how hard life would be if you could not perform these seemingly simple actions easily. Yet, in the past, users had to resort to all kinds of clever shortcuts and workarounds to accomplish these tasks. That was life before Raptivity 6.6.

Now with Raptivity 6.6, users can use the mouse right-click context menu and easily insert a blank element,  delete or duplicate an existing element or alter the sequence of elements with a simple drag-and-drop operation. That makes it easy to duplicate a flash card, re-sequence questions in a TV game and delete that panning card you don't like.

This discussion applies to collections of various elements supported in Raptivity. Certain special graphic elements such as Paths, Highlights, Hotspots and Parts  don't get covered under the new functionality. Why is that? Because Raptivity already has a way for you to manipulate these directly from the interactivity editor itself.

If all the user feedback and comments on Raptivity community are any indication, this new feature set is sure to receive a warm welcome! Users will see it as a sure productivity enhancer.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Better Productivity with Raptivity: A Story of Customer Centricity

When Yehudi Menuhin was asked: "What has music taught you?" he replied: "It has taught me to listen." It is no different with product design. You design products in a flash of inspiration, and keep making them better by listening to your customers.

The Raptivity 6.5 release is full of productivity features that are based on ideas that come straight from the trenches. Here are some examples.

Users found it a chore to delete sample content from interaction templates before adding their own. They needed the sample the first couple of times, but later on they wanted a way to start with a clean slate. That was the genesis of Raptivity's Blank Template.

Another area where course developers faced some inconvenience was in putting together media content for use in interactions. Raptivity now shows helpful information such as recommended image size, sound bit rate, video format, size, frame rate etc alongside the customization window.

As interactivity design came to occupy prime time, a quick step-by-step procedure to build interactions became critical. The new version of Raptivity provides that too - in the customization screen.

Raptivity's productivity enhancements span across the entire product usage experience. Users can convert their trial installation into full use package just by adding a license key. There is no need to install the full package over again. Likewise, while deactivating the product, the license key is detected automatically. These little enhancements bear testimony to Raptivity's commitment to the course developers' productivity.