Getting Out Of The Mould
If you had a chance to see Tom Kuhlmann’s demo in one of his recent articles, you’ll notice how he managed to make a regular PowerPoint file look anything but PowerPoint. One way he managed to do that was to remove any signs of the Articulate player.
You can customize the player via the Player Templates tool in Articulate Presenter and make the player black and the HTML background black. All we see is the PowerPoint slide. This works because the black lines of the player which cannot be removed merge with the black HTML and slide backgrounds making it look like just the slide is showing.
I used this method when I started creating e-learning courses. It worked well but it did give an overall dark (ie. black) feel to them all. Seeing Tom’s demo prompted me to consider building an Articulate skin which would hide the entire player without buttons or navigation. The skin would be white. I asked Webducate’s Tony Lowe if he would be kind enough to oblige and he did. This what you get:
Click on some of the icons and click on the home button to the right of the display to come back to the home page.
If you didn’t notice, the iPad simulation is just an Articulate presentation without the player. It launched when the page was launched and is embedded via an iFrame. What’s great about this skin is that it really allows you to think outside the regular PowerPoint mode or indeed the e-learning mindset. You can create your Flash interactions very easily with Articulate Presenter and insert them into your web page without the user even knowing they are going through a PowerPoint set of slides. You can create video or audio jukeboxes. And you can create interactive simulations like the one above.
How Do You Do It?
- The iPad simulation was created pretty easily using screenshots from the iPad itself (Home button and Sleep button at the same time) each in their own slide in PowerPoint. I placed invisible hotspots over the buttons to hyperlink from one screenshot to the other. The videos were placed on top of the iPad screenshot.
- To remove the Articulate player, I used this Articulate skin package prepared by Tony Lowe which you can download here for free.
You should be downloading a file called webducateWhiteNoButton.artpkg. If you find you are downloading a zip file instead, you can try downloading this file instead (webducateWhiteNoButton.zip) and unzip that to find the correct artpkg file.
- Once installed, choose the skin from the list of available templates.
- Now prepare your presentation. You’ll probably want to make your slides have a white background so that they merge well with the white skin.
- Now publish and enjoy!
You may need to close PowerPoint first before running the package.
IMPORTANT: The skin works with the No Sidebar view of Articulate Presenter only.
Note that it will not work in preview mode so be sure to publish to see your final output