Before I tell you what's new…
I enjoy a rare and amazing view of the entire process of creating great software at Adobe. My position lets me advocate (often vociferously) for the needs of users, and to collaborate with brilliant software engineers, managers and marketing specialists at Adobe to help bring forth software that meets very real needs for eLearning professionals, academics and training solutions providers.
From that perspective I get to see an enormous amount. I have been consistently wowwed by the incredible dedication — not just to producing great software, but also — to the needs of end users that i’ve witnessed among the product managers and engineers on the eLearning Suite and Captivate teams. I see it paying off incredibly in these new releases, and I’m confident that everyone will share my enthusiasm – This is an amazing leap forward not just for Captivate & the eLearning Suite, but for the entire field of eLearning authoring.
One of the most impressive things I witnessed is the manner in which Captivate 5 was rebuilt, both to accomodate the release on Mac OS, and to maximize user productivity. The changes are clear – but what might not be immediately apparent is the similarity, consistency, and allegience to the roots of Captivate that permeate the newest version. In other words, even if you’ve used Captivate in previous versions – even dating back a long long way, you’ll know immediately where you are and what you are doing. The fundamentals are unchanged – and where there are changes, the time I’ve been able to save in authoring is astonishing.
… mind the break and ‘read on’.
The new user interface in Captivate 5 leverages the same basic elements found in previous versions of Captivate. The basic paradigm, (slides in a filmstrip, timeline, library of assets and stage to assemble) are all identical to previous versions.
This is a comparison of Captivate 4 and Captivate 5 interfaces.You’ll see in the animation above that the fundamentals are all not only still there, they are in the same places. You can now move them around if you like, but out of the box, the experience is very familiar to previous Captivate users. Because the UI now takes advantage of the familiar Adobe User Interface as well, you can collapse and drag – mix and save panel sets just like you do in Photoshop, Dreamweaver or most other Adobe applications. The best way to explain it, is just to say that everything behaves the way you expect it to.One of the exciting new changes for previous Captivate users is that we now support the multi-document interface. That’s right, you can open as many projects as you like, all in the main window. You can easily move media and slides between projects – and no need to keep closing and reopening files.Another cool new addition; There’s a scratch area. An offstage zone that is fully functional, so you don’t have that odd no go zone anymore. Now you can drag your images half off the display area if you like – or place a bit of text off to the side etc. Of course only the stage area is visible in the finished project, but you’ll find the overall experience far more intuitive.Tabbed panel sets make it easy to switch between your timeline, your notes, and other elements very quickly – and there are a ton of other improvements that will save you amazing amounts of time. Check out the study from Human Factors International on the Captivate Product page for more info about the astonishing improvements in productivity.One of the big reasons Captivate 5 and eLearning Suite 2 let you work more rapidly than ever is the new context sensitive property inspector. You’ll find it tabbed snugly behind your library tab – as you select objects on the stage, the Property Inspector opens to the properties of that object. No more need for constant double clicking and dialog fussing – just set all your properties in the PI. Convenient shelves let you collapse and open topic areas easily – making it simple to find everything you need.So while i’m unbelievably excited about all the mind blowing features in the new version of Captivate, I’m even more excited about the respect it shows for the traditions that have evolved over the years. It will make transitioning to the latest version easy for anyone who has ever used Captivate, and the awesome added functionality and enhanced eficiency will make the investment well worth it.My sincere congratulations to the whole team, on an extraordinary leap forward.Hungry for more? Check out the [online eSeminars](http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/event/index.cfm?event=list&loc=en_us&type=online_event&product=Captivate&interest=&audience=&monthyear=), or join us for a [live eSeminar ](http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/event/index.cfm?event=list&loc=en_us&type=online_event&product=Captivate&interest=&audience=&monthyear=)as we continue to celebrate the launch. Keep your eyes peeled here – we’ll be posting updates frequently. Check out RJ’s blog – he’ll be sharing his perspectives as well. Watch the new [eLearning Channel ](http://tv.adobe.com/channel/e-learning/)videos on Adobe TV. Best of all, you can pop over to Adobe.com and check out the latest highlights for [Adobe eLearning Suite 2](http://www.adobe.com/products/elearningsuite/) and [Adobe Captivate 5](http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate/).