I have been using Adobe Captivate 4 on a more or less daily basis since it’s release on January 20th.
One of the things I really love with Adobe Captivate 4 is the speed. In Adobe Captivate 2 & 4 you often had to wait several seconds after clicking on an action until something happened. Now with Adobe Captivate 4 everything goes quickly and smoothly and that is really something you can feel when you work with Adobe Captivate all day.
The second thing I really like with Captivate is the ability to included external flash animations into the Adobe Captivate SWF file when publishing. It works really well and eliminates a lot of the problems you could encounter with Adobe Captivate 3 and external content. Complex Flash animations/components still need to be published seperatly on some occasions, but in my experience approximatly 90% of all the external resources I used can easily be integrated into the Adobe Captivate swf when publishing.
The third thing which I find extremely useful is the reviewing feature. It’s brilliant when you are working on project with multiple stakeholders it’s very useful and userfriendly to send the project for review like this. The only downside is that the reviewer application is a separate program that need to be installed on the users computer. If you work with big companies or cooperations chances are that most of the users don’t have admin priviliges and therefore need to involve their IT-department in order to install the application.
Now to the downsides of Adobe Captivate 4.
The audio part of Adobe Captivate 4 is terrible. I have a course produced in Adobe Captivate 3, which contains a lot of speak in the form of MP3 files. When I converted it to Adobe Captivate 4 the sound quality had gone down significantly. I tried to create a new Adobe Captivate 4 project and import the source MP3 files into the project again, but the sound quality is still poor. From what I gather Adobe Captivate 4 uses some form of compression on the imported MP3 files, which compromises the quality. This is a serious issue with Adobe Captivate 4 and if you look at the Adobe forums you can see that a lot of users have the same problem.
For courses which contain audio I’m still using Adobe Captivate 3 and will not be able to use Adobe Captivate 4 until Adobe has fixed this problem.
I urge you to report this problem to Adobe by clicking http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform&product=5
The TOC (Table of Contents) finally got usefull in Adobe Captivate 4. Unfortunately there are some issues with the TOC feature, which reduces the usability. I really like the fact that the user gets a check mark once they have completed a page. However these checkmarks apparantly only appear when a user has watched the entire timeline of that particular slide. I usually construct my courses with my own navigation buttons and these buttons pause before the timeline ends and when clicked they perfom a “go to next page” action. If you use buttons like this (or have any form of branching in your course) then you will never get the check mark in the TOC for those pages.
It’s really too bad because it’ s a great feature – especially for people who doesn’t use an LMS to deliver their Adobe Captivate content.
Some other issues with the TOC feature is the lack of customizability of the TOC and the fact that you need to use the default >> button to open/close it. It would be nice to be able to customize the TOC 100% and then open/close it with a script from your own button in the course.
All in all I’m pleased with Adobe Captivate 4 but I must admit the main thing leading to this is how it’s much much quicker than Adobe Captivate 3.
I still haven’t explored all the features with user defined variables and customized widgets yet, but I’ll start on that soon.