Today Adobe Captivate 9 was released. It falls a bit outside the normal release schedule of around 12 months between versions, so what exactly did Adobe use these extra 3 months to do?
In this review I’m going to give you a high level overview of some of the things I find interesting in Adobe Captivate 9. It won’t be a detailed review of every single feature, but I cherry picked some of those that I find interesting (and strange). I have been playing around with Adobe Captivate 9 in the beta tests but I have yet to create a full production project in it.
Responsive project enhancements
In Adobe Captivate 9 it is now possible add one or two additional break points when you are creating responsive projects. Adobe Captivate 9 starts a responsive project with three default breakpoints; Desktop, Tablet Portrait and Mobile Portrait.
Another change is that it is now possible to prevent users from using “landscape orientation” when they are using a mobile. This is done by selecting “Disallow phone landscape orientation” in the Publishing settings. You can also provide a custom message to the users.
You can now use motion path effects and transitions in responsive projects. It is also possible to define different effects to the same object in different breakpoints.
This is one of the new features in Adobe Captivate 9 that I really like. In short it allows you to define various states for an object and then switch between these states based on user interaction, advanced actions and so on. It has always been possible to achieve this effect in Adobe Captivate by using multiple images/objects and Advanced Actions using Show/Hide, but now it is much simpler to work with.
This is one area which has been in dire need to rethinking and reworking for a long time. In Adobe Captivate 9 Effects have finally gotten some attention.
In Adobe Captivate 8 Effects can be found under the Timing tab when you have an object selected. They are an integrated part of the GUI now as opposed to earlier where it was its own panel. Effects are now shown using icons in the panel and if you hover your mouse over an effect, it will actually “preview” it using your object on the stage.
Adobe Captivate 9 comes with significantly fewer effects than Adobe Captivate 8 had. In Adobe Captivate 8 you had 88 different types of effects available (effects with multiple directions are only counted as one so “Fly-in” is counted as one effect even though it has 8 separate directions). In Adobe Captivate 9 this number is down to 46 unique effects. The big question is – will you miss effects like “Cinema Starwars” or “BSpinBackandInLink”? I doubt it – I for one am happy to see that Adobe has cleaned up a lot of these (really bad) effects – I am sure that learners of the world silently thank Adobe for not having to be subjected to projects using “Come in Disappearance” or “Blaster Bang Glow” effects 😉
Another new feature is that you can have different effects attached to the same objects in multiple breakpoints. This allows you to fine-tune your project in every breakpoint to ensure that it looks just like you want it to.
Another big change is that the effect is now shown on the timeline for each object. This is much better than having the effect timeline separated from the main timeline and makes it easier to visually see and understand how the effect will work.
And finally.. It is now possible to create your own completely custom motion paths using the three new effects: Custom Curves, Custom Lines and Custom Scribble. This will be a real timesaver.
Knowledge check questions
I have been waiting (and asking) for this feature since Adobe Captivate 4. It is finally here. It is now possible to create Knowledge check questions in Captivate
You can now add question slides in your projects that will not interfere with your overall project quiz settings, results, points, scoring etc. Earlier you had to build knowledge check questions yourself using click boxes and advanced actions (which did have its own advantages though) but now you can create them quickly and easily using the built in Captivate quiz questions.
Adobe Captivate Draft
One of the really big things in this release is the Adobe Captivate Draft iPad app. Basically it allows you to start creating a course on an iPad and drag elements on to slides, create question slides, placeholders etc. The idea is of course that you can sit down with the SME (Subject Matter Expert) and build the course together. Now you are free to build Adobe Captivate courses where ever you are 🙂
Once you have created your course in Adobe Captivate Draft, you import the file into Adobe Captivate – apply a theme and publish your completed project.
This is one feature I don’t understand. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see one single situation – past, present and future – where I would whip out an iPad and start creating a course on it.
If *you* use this I would really like to hear from you. Post a comment with your experiences using Adobe Captivate Draft and tell us how you feel it adds value to your production flow.
Preview in SCORM Cloud:
Adobe Captivate 9 gives you the ability to preview your course using SCORM Cloud to work out any SCORM compatibility issues. You can preview directly from within Captivate and get a general health report of your course.
I’m not really sure what good this will do other than give you the ability to say “Hey SCORM Cloud says the course is great so why doesn’t it work in XYZ LMS”.
Adobe Captivate 9 gives you free access to a big library containing different assets. I haven’t been able to see exactly what these assets are as they are not part of the beta releases, but Adobe describes it as follows:
Adobe Captivate 9 gives you free access to a library of 25,000+ exclusive assets including games, interactions, layouts, scenarios, people cutouts, and much more, to dress up your courses. The assets store is developed exclusively for Adobe Captivate 9 users, and the library will be updated regularly so that your content always dazzles.
This could swing both ways. If the assets are good quality, customizable and useful in many different situations it could be a really positive thing to have access to. On the other hand – if you can’t customize the assets it might not be so hot after all. It remains to be seen which way it will go.
So is Adobe Captivate 9 worth it?
If you are on a subscription license it is a no-brainer as you will automatically have access to Adobe Captivate 9 so you might as well upgrade. In addition to the new features you will get a lot of bug fixes as well. This alone makes it worth upgrading as you will be able to produce better and more stable content.
Also keep in mind that a subscription license gives you the right to use two version of Adobe Captivate with the same subscription. The current version + one version back for the next 12 months. So basically this means that you can install Adobe Captivate 9 and still keep Adobe Captivate 8 installed for the next 12 months legally.
This also means that if you have a subscription license and still have Adobe Captivate 7 installed – you can no longer use this and must uninstall it.
When an upgrade to my subscription edition product becomes available, am I required to install it?
No. You are not required to install any new version of the subscription software, and you have a great deal of flexibility on when you install an upgrade should you choose to do so. You can continue using your current version of the product for one full year after the subsequent version is released.
This is very sad as I still use Adobe Captivate 7 a lot – mainly because of the GUI. The GUI in Adobe Captivate 8 and 9 is developed to be used with the mouse and you’ll either hate or love this – I am in the “hate” camp and prefer the GUI in Captivate 7. There is a 62.5% increase in mouse-clicks performing a simple operation in Adobe Captivate 8 or 9 vs. Adobe Captivate 7 – that is a lot and if you use Adobe Captivate many hours every day, you will definitely be feeling these extra clicks eventually.
Putting subscription licenses and rules aside – is Adobe Captivate 9 worth it? Yes I think so. While the feature list isn’t as impressive and groundbreaking as say the gap from Adobe Captivate 7 to 8, it is still a good release. The changes to Effects in Adobe Captivate 9 are really nice, the knowledge check question is long overdue and Multi-state objects will makes things easier. If the free Asset store delivers some quality assets as well, then things are looking good. I don’t really do a lot of responsive projects so these changes aren’t relevant for me personally. I also find it hard to see myself using the Adobe Captivate Draft app, which is a big part of this release.
What do you think about Adobe Captivate 9? Have you had time to try it out? Drop a comment here and share your view.