Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Captivate 6 vs. Articulate Storyline

I am a Captivate shop.
Have been since Macromedia existed (Captivate 2?)
I've used Captivate through UI changes, a couple squirelly updates and the long wait for right-click functionality.

So I go at this tool evaluation more than a little biased.  Because dangit - change is hard and scary.
Especially changing long-standing habits.

But I have more folks I need to support now.  They deserve tools that work for THEM, not just for me.

I was heartened to see Adobe address the HTML5 concerns I had. Still, something in my gut is making me just a little uncomfortable with the way Adobe is headed with this product.  And I have never had end-users seem so excited about a development tool.  So I had to go take a look at the shiny new thing called Articulate Storyline.

I am thinking that NOW is the time to make a change if I need to make a change.  It's the beginning of the fiscal year. I have not purchased the Captivate 6 upgrade yet (though I will need to since I have some folks in the pipeline), and if I have to retire Captivate as a solution - I can do so cleanly with this final version.


I've been spending this past week putting both products through their paces. I created the same quick tutorial (how to use Google Help) with both products.  Exact same steps.  I won't be sharing the tutorial links here since I haven't asked my bosses for permission.
Below is pretty much a copy of the document I shared with my management team.  It is still a work in progress, but at least it gives you an idea of how I am testing.  Noticed how I focused on what I need to do NOW vs. shiny "new" features.
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Reasons for looking at changing development tools:
  • Increasing use of mobile for training.
  • Discomfort with Adobe’s mobile strategy for Captivate
  • Feedback that Captivate is tricky to learn and not terribly intuitive.
    • May be overkill for most eLearning client’s needs
  • Unusually positive feedback from Articulate Storyline users during conferences.
    • Many of these users were Captivate users
    • Other tools do not adequately address software simulation


Decision: (not made yet)


Cost
Articulate Storyline
Academic and group discounts available.  
Licensing will need to be negotiated

Captivate 6
Confidential


Useability and Technical Comments
Note: Audio tested in a room with a really large air conditioning vent blowing very cold air.  This did an excellent job of testing any possible noise-cancelling feature in the product.

Articulate Storyline
  • PowerPoint-like interface makes it easier to teach and less intimidating for new users
  • Pre-developed interactions very easy to edit
  • Default to end of slide vs. having to reset the timing for every object like in Captivate
  • Love the scene organization - makes it easier to find and edit sections of the tutorial
  • Movies - really easy to create.  Best screen-capture.
  • Very easy to add objects
  • Audio-recording - weakest part of the product.    Would be better off using Audacity, then adding audio to the project.
  • Have to post any HTML output to test.
  • Keeps ALL items separate - resulting item not as large.


Captivate 6
  • REALLY slow.  Especially initial loading.  Took a couple of minutes to get the product started.  Captivate 5.5 takes about 30 seconds.
  • Themes override ANY settings in your presentation.  This is a “use with caution” feature.
  • The captions not picking up the names of the links.  Just gives a generic.  Captivate 5.5 did a MUCH better job of naming the links.  This will slow down production.
  • Screen capture very slightly better on Captivate 6 than on Captivate 5.5.  Not as good as Articulate.
  • Styles = much quicker caption change vs. Articulate.
  • Firefox plugin crashes when posted and tested on PC
  • Audio slightly better than Articulate Storyline.


Mobile Test (got rid of the table - HT to @oxala75 for pointing out the display problem)

Note: HTML5 output only displays correctly on HTML5-compatible browsers.  Technology not quite ready for prime-time.  (I posted HTML and HTML5 publications on an FTP site our team uses for evaluation and testing of online tutorials.)


Note: Tutorials generated not particularly appropriate for phone-size devices.  Android test (using Samsung Virgin Mobile SPH-M910

Kindle Fire HTML5
Articulate Storyline  Works.  Get “Loading Video” in between each screen.  Can click on Marker to see what happens next.  Is a rollover on PC.  Seem to be missing text captions.

Captivate 6Get Browser not support content warning. Once get there, works clean.  All text captions and audio

Kindle Fire HTML
Articulate Storyline  Works cleanly - better than the HTML5 version.  Resizes correctly and get all markers and text captions.

Captivate 6Works clean

iPad HTML5
Articulate Storyline  Works.  Get Play button before start.  Can click on Marker to see what happens next.  Is a rollover on PC.  Seem to be missing text captions.

Captivate 6Works clean

iPad HTML
Articulate Storyline  Does not work without Articulate Mobile Player app

Captivate 6Will not find the page at all


Android HTML5
Articulate Storyline  Takes forever to load. The menu takes up most of the screen real-estate.  Baseline tutorial never loaded.

Captivate 6Get “no support” message. Baseline tutorial never loaded.

Android HTML5
Articulate Storyline  - Will not find the page at all

Captivate 6Kicks to “get flash player” app but my device won’t work with it - then nothing.  Phone used not compatible with the Flash Player app needed.


SkillPort Publication
Articulate Storyline
  • SCORM 2004 publish to SkillPort SCORM 2004 - received error.  Null reading on a file
  • SCORM 1.2 publish to SkillPort SCORM 1.2 publish - clean.  Works as expected.  VERY fast load time to SkillPort.

Captivate 6
  • Works the same way as Captivate 5.5.

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I have asked Sid and a couple other end users to look at the Articulate Storyline trial.  I figure they would give me better input regarding usability.  I will use their feedback to help me with my final decision.

Of course - this whole thing brings up the other question of - do I want to have "one tool to rule them all"? Or should I come up with another way of doing this.

6 comments:

John Lawrence said...

Wow. Quite the decision to make here when it comes to the two. Challenging... You're points here have really helped with the choice though! Still haven't come to our conclusion over here at Cogentys Corporation, here are some points that we've come up with to help ourselves and viewers alike decide.
http://cogentys.com/elearningtv-episodes/articulate-storyline-vs-adobe-captivate/

We'd love to hear what you think!
Thanks again,
John
http://cogentys.com
eLearning Management Systems

Paul Schneider said...

Good comparison. I was wondering if you considered some of the other tools out there, given your mobile needs there are a few that might fill in some of those gaps you experienced.

Unknown said...

Hello Wendy, thanks for this great post. I am from Adobe Captivate engineering team and I would like to talk to you regarding couple of points that you raised -

1. About the launch time. Our tests showed that we are almost at par with Cp 5.5. Do you see it consistently, because the absolute first run might take some more time for default theme creation etc.

2. "The captions not picking up the names of the links. Just gives a ..." - I did not understand this. Can you please elaborate?

If possible, we would like to have a call with you and address your rest of the concerns about mobile strategy etc. If you have more thoughts, you can always send me an email at asgarg at adobe dot com (intentionally putting it like this to avoid spam)

Anonymous said...

Does AICC work when hosted separately from the LMS in Captivate? I have captivate 5 (terrible) and captivate 5.5 (adobe fixed what they broke in 5) and neither work with the courses loaded separately from the LMS. Course completion and tracking do not work. Courses work on scorm cloud... so it is only when hosted remotely. AICC courses from Lectora and Articulate both work.

Anonymous said...

Does AICC work when hosted separately from the LMS in Captivate?

I have captivate 5 (terrible) and captivate 5.5 (adobe fixed what they broke in 5) and neither work with the courses loaded separately from the LMS.

Course completion and tracking do not work. Courses work on scorm cloud... so it is only when hosted remotely. Lectora and Articulate both work.

Duncan said...

We are having major problems with our HTML5 course on mobile safari. Several slides are crashing. There is a discussion at http://forums.adobe.com/message/4594849. I don't seem to be getting anywhere with Adobe and wondered if anyone else had experienced any problems or has any solutions.