Guest post by Shawn Zuratovic. Shawn is an Instructional Designer, Professional Trainer, and eLearning Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh.
Layers and States are two of Articulate Storyline’s primary tools for building interactive content, but deciding how and when to use them can be tricky. The following quick guide will discuss what states and layers are and the uses of each tool to help you best decide:
What are Layers?
Layers are part(s) of the slide that changes to display or hide additional content. Layers are often used to group related content on one slide and make transitions and the overall flow of your course cleaner and more intuitive to the user. To see a quick tutorial on working with layers click here.
What CAN you do with Layers?
- Show or hide large amounts of content.
- Allows you to hide some or all of the base layer of a slide when other layers display.
- Allows you to hide objects when other layers display.
- Hide certain layers when the timeline of a slide finishes.
- Visually segment a slide to make it more appealing.
- Allows you to decide if you want to reset a slide to its initial state when as user returns or resumes with the last layer(s) shown.
- Use layers to provide transitions for your slides.
- Pause the timeline. NOTE: If you’re using a seek bar as multiple layers, it can become confusing to the user or, in some cases, goof up the seek bar’s display.
What CAN’T you do with Layers?
- Access them from the Menu within a published project. Make sure that accessing layers on your slides is intuitive otherwise your user will never know it’s there.
- Layers use a bit more memory than states so if you’re building a very large course be careful not to add too many.
Check out the examples below to see how eLearning Brothers’ templates use layers to keep slides clean and intuitive.
What are States in Articulate Storyline?
States in Articulate Storyline allow you to display different views of a specific object, which can be triggered in a number of ways. Articulate Storyline has a number of built-in states such as “hover” and “selected,” but you can add many more. By far the most common usage of states is in interactive buttons by using hover or click states to show the user that the item is interactive and/or has already been visited or clicked. To see a quick tutorial on adding and editing states click here.
What CAN you do with States?
- Show or hide objects.
- Show visited buttons or objects.
- Organize an object or information in one location on your slide (e.g. an avatar that changes expressions as more content is displayed)
- Use multiple triggers to change the state of one object.
- Use one or more state changes to change a trigger to some other event.
What CAN’T you do with States?
- Apply the states to a group of objects; however there are workarounds to this such as ungrouping the group, cutting all but one object in the group, changing the state of that one object, and pasting the rest of the object in a second state.
- Update the other states dynamically by changing the initial object. (e.g. You have a text box with 4 bullet points in the initial state and bullet 1 changes color in New State 1, bullet 2 changes color in New State 2 etc. If you delete bullet 3 from the original object it will still appear in ALL of the states it was in before.
- While layers transfer well, states are a bit more finicky especially as they become more complex. Always check to make sure your states have transferred properly if you copy objects with states from one slide or presentation to another.
- Add triggers to states of an object. If you have some interactive component then put it on a layer
- If you are using a template make sure you check out the Slide Master to see which objects have their states altered as this is often not intuitive.
Check out the examples below to see how eLearning Brothers’ templates use states to make objects pop with!
It’s worth noting that with a little creative use of Articulate Storyline you can make these two features almost interchangeable, and as you become more adept at using each you’ll find new and exciting ways to pair them to make some amazing content. Check back later for more eLearning tips and tricks!