Articulate Storyline 2 has been released for about a year now at the time of this writing. Because we use Storyline so much at Vantage Path, when we heard that Storyline 2 was being released and that it addressed some of the issues we had with version 1, we were excited to say the least.
Now that this excitement has worn down a little bit and we’ve had a chance to get our hands on Storyline 2 to develop courses, it’s a good time to reflect on what we really like about it and where it still has room for improvement.
One of the features that we absolutely love in Storyline 2 is the addition of motion paths to animate objects. In Storyline 1 we were limited to objects appearing from one of eight directions (Top-Left, Top, Top-Right, Right, etc.)
For the most part this suited our needs and we were able to create some really great courses using these animation. We didn’t think much of it until we struggled with one course we were developing initially in Storyline 1. In this course, we created a role-playing scenario where a player throwing a basketball through the hoop with the correct answer. In this scenario, the ball must leave the players hands, hit the backboard, go through the hoop, drop down to the floor and bounce off the screen. Motion paths were the only solution and the effect was definitely worth it.
We were happy with Storyline 1 when it came to HTML5 support. For the most part it worked pretty well. There were a few notable exception as we found Drag and Drop interactions to be a bit finicky. This worked much better in the Articulate Player which was available for the iPad. However, any Android users were left a bit jealous of its better functionality.
Thankfully Articulate Player is now available for Android and we can enjoy additional functionality like offline viewing that our iOS-using friends have enjoyed since Storyline 1.
Better Design Options
Storyline was great in being able to put together interactive courses quickly, but it lacking when it came to being able to create truly beautiful courses from a design perspective.
We like all of our courses to look really great from a design perspective. As such, typography plays a very important part in all the courses we produce. The type tools in Storyline 1 were quite rudimentary. As we were used to the advance type tools available in software from Adobe, we had to come up with some workarounds like creating custom bullets as objects and breaking out the lines of text as individual objects when we wanted custom line spacing. Even then, there were still no options at all when it came to letter-spacing. It took a lot of extra time.
We’re pretty glad that Storyline 2 has addressed most of the issues when it came to type and design. Not only will it make any course we produce better looking, it saves us time.
One of the things we really didn’t like about Storyline 1 was its Powerpoint import. We found it messy at it created too many object and not it a very smart way. Storyline 2 has improved PowerPoint import somewhat but still not enough where we would recommend it. In the cases where a client has provided us with a PowerPoint file, we just ended copying the individual elements one by one as we had better control over the final output.
Interesting, we had issues with Storyline 1 files being imported into Storyline 2. The content appeared fine. However, the timing of some of the more complex animations we created in Storyline 1 was a bit off and we had to go back and tweak it.
With all of this in mind, Storyline 2 is a good (although a bit pricey) improvement over Storyline 1. While most people will still be fine using Storyline 1, as we like to push the envelope with the quality of courses we develop for clients, it was a critical upgrade for us to create truly inspired elearning.