Interactive Screenshots for Online Learning

Click on the image to view the demo

A lot of online training is created around documents, charts and software systems.  I’ve created my share of screencasts for technical training, but unless you keep these short and relevant, you run the risk of the learner being disengaged.

The inspiration for this demo was the E-Learning Heroes weekly challenge #26 – Interactive Screenshots for Online Training.  The challenge was to “create an interactive screenshot for an application’s UI or specific features”.  My final demo has gone a step further and shows a complete process.

The Design

After reading some of the resources for this challenge, including Interactive Screenshots in Articulate Storyline by David Anderson, I started thinking about my design – which ended up addressing a couple of the stated considerations – how much of the application will you show, how much do you need to show, and how will learners pull the information?

I decided to host my screenshots on a “desktop” surface and the colour scheme fell into place fairly quickly once I’d chosen the wooden background image for the desktop.

The Process

I started the process by grabbing the screen shots of all of the steps – a fairly straightforward process that actually made me really think about the UI and how intuitive or otherwise it is in Storyline.  I chose not to use the Zoom Region functionality for this design as I felt there was too much happening on the screen already – although one thing I discovered whilst making this decision was that you cannot use the Zoom Region feature on a slide layer.

I ended up used arrows to point to the exact spot the learner was prompted to click on in the explanatory dialogue box for each step.  I spent some time making sure each screenshot was exactly the same size and in exactly the same position on the slide so there would be no visible jumping from screen to screen – something not as easy to achieve as it sounds when you’re relying on individual screen shots following a process through from start to finish.

After looking at a number of similar projects, I chose to use a 1-8 numbering system of round “buttons” as the interactive element that the learner clicks on to “pull the information” for each step in the process.  I created these buttons in PowerPoint using shapes with a gradient fill, then added the numbers as text.  Once I copied these numbered images into Storyline, I added a shadow effect and a trigger that took the learner to the next screen.  Lastly, I used Hotspot controls over the sections of the UI that the learner was being prompted to click on.

The Result

The demo ended up with 14 slides, some with another layer – this included the intro and ending slides.  The 8 steps included a preview of the result of the animated effect that the learner was following interactively in the 8 steps of the process to add sequence effect animation to animate paragraphs of text in Articulate Storyline 2.


As my first attempt at an interactive screenshot demo, I think this example is fairly easy to follow, instructive and engaging.

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