My impressions of using fluid boxes.
After working on a little project created with fluid boxes I want to share some impressions and maybe present some problems. Correct me if I’m wrong anywhere in my descriptions.
I’m not going to complain about the problems, but just mention what lowered the overall good impression of this approach.
1. GROUPED OBJECTS AND “LAYER” OBJECTS.
The first thing that I don’t quite understand the purpose of is the inability to use grouped objects or to place png or jpg files on top of each other within a fluid box. I wonder if this is a conscious approach of the programming team or is it just an unsolved issue. This way or another, it limits the usefulness of fluid boxes a lot. For example, imagine I want to have a tank and a target marker in one of the fluid boxes. (If you are curious what kind of e-learning it is, I’m answering: teaching English Vocabulary for military personnel)
In a non-fluid box environment, it is very easy to achieve. I just drag two pngs from the project library and place one on top of another. But with fluid boxes, the only workaround I found is to go to a photoshop and make it one picture. Not a big deal, but if you have, say, 50 pictures it becomes a bit time consuming, and gets you out of a project for a while. Probably nobody can help me much in this case.
2. STATE OBJECTS.
My idea was to use state objects to give the learners feedback after they answer a question. I wanted to make it more lively and inserted an object on custom states and animated them (ones state as correct one as incorrect). I wanted to use an advanced action to trigger the desired state (correct or incorrect) but if you insert anything on a state object, it automatically becomes unattached from the fluid box. So it works, but not within a fluid box What a pity !
One of my favorite tricks while using text entry boxes is to apply the system variable cpCmdGoToFrame (going a few frames backward) to clear the text entry box without the necessity of reentering it. This way, as described in a few blogs here on this forum and elsewhere, you can give a user a chance to have a few attempts without leaving the slide. I found out that it doesn’t work in fluid boxes. The only workaround I found is to give feedback on another slide and return to the target slide again. But it is not so smooth as jumping from frame to frame.
So that’s what I think the missing features are. I hope someone will say, ‘hey, I checked this problem and it works on my computer’. At least it will give me an incentive to start to investigate the proper solution.
Micronavigation is a word I invented 8 years ago in a blog, and to my amazement it has been taken over by many Captivate users.
What ou explained about resetting the TEB (another blog of many years ago) by micor-navigatino is a limitation for ALL HTML output, not only for fluid boxes. It worked perfectly for SWF output when I wrote that blog. Now you need another workaround, which I presented for the first time in a Timeline presentation couple of years ago. There is a blog as well. Let me know if you want to see the blogs.
Stage objects. Multistate objects are in most cases the workaround for the stacking problem. Have blogged a lot about those workarounds. As long as you do not ADD objects to a state but replace them (which is best done with shapes which can have text and fill image) they work perfectly in a Fluid Box. You didn’t mention that. Converting a fluid box to a static fluid box gives you more functionality, stacking will be allowed in that case and adding objects to a state. But the fluidity of a static fluid box is not that well.
A typical example of a static fluid box is the one used for the feedback messages in the Quizzing master slides (have a blog as well about that example).
What obviously works, is to have a couple of GIFs (in this case I have an avatar the main – neutral posture and some other feedback postures, e.g. an OK sign or shaking his head). When the answer is correct the conditional action hides neutral and shows OK posture. When the answer is incorrect the action hides neutral and shows an avatar shaking his head. It’s an equivalent, but with object states, it would be more convenient. I could copy the object and paste somewhere else a bit more easily than, say, three GIFs.
GIFs also worked nicely with your concept of micronavigation. I always tray to limit jumping from slide to slide for more fluent user’s experience. So what I did, I put GIF feedbacks on a timeline and the feedback was by triggering and action with jumping to a certain frame where the certain Gif was. Nothing revolutionary, but I liked it. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, with HTML5 output it is limited.
I will not try to anser the three questions at once but one by one in a separate commend.
Lot of what you mention I have described in my in-depth comparison of the two workflows for responsive projects: tough choice between Breakpoints and Fluid boxes.
The inability to have stacked components is the biggest limitation. You mention only a few: grouping, stacking of images. You forget the other limitations due to the same: no objects timed for the rest of the project, objects from the main master slide cannot be inherited by the daughter master slides.
I don’t include the links here because of the moderation time needed for such a comment.
The biggest, maybe, problem (and at the same time an advantage) of fluid boxes is their automatization. It takes a lot of your freedom. But, as I see it, it the sacrifice for having some job doe for you. Mentioning the missing features I didn’t write about, I also had problems managing texts. I had problems setting different sizes of fonts for different fluid boxes.
You must be logged in to post a comment.