Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Adobe Captivate 7 - Now or Later?

By Jonathan Shoaf

I've always been a software junkie. I'm happy to spend some money on a software product when I know it will save me hours of effort over the course of the next year. So when new software comes out, I'm like a kid at Christmas opening up the gift to see if I got what I wanted.

These days, Adobe is the software vendor I'm using the most. I use the Adobe Master Suite and Adobe Captivate for many of my projects. So when Adobe Captivate 7 was released, I was eager to unwrap the gift. While I still need to use it for a few projects to give it a full review, I'd like to share some of my initial thoughts. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of the new features...just enough to answer the question:

Do I upgrade now or later?

The new release is the same Adobe Captivate you already know. If you are familiar with Captivate 5 and 6, it will be an easy transition to Captivate 7. There are new features and improved functionality, but don't expect an overhaul on the user interface.

Adobe is continuing to strongly support Microsoft PowerPoint. Many of the instructional designers I work with love this feature. It allows them to use a tool they are familiar with to lay out content and simply import it into Captivate. Once in Captivate, they can provide the additional functionality they need or pass it to a developer for advanced interactivity.

I'm careful about adding pre-built interactions to my projects. That said, Adobe has added some new interactions to its library. While the YouTube video streaming is not really an option for me (and my company), the new learning notes, and in-course web browsing could be useful. There is also some new features for creating drag and drop interactions.

New with version 7 is support for Tin Can. While I'm excited about this, I imagine it will be a long while before I have an LMS that will support this. If I did, this would be a good reason to upgrade.

The Adobe Captivate app packager is another reason I would consider upgrading...except that I mostly support Windows 7 computers using IE8 or IE9. (blah, I know!) That said, many folks will appreciate this if they need to support a variety of mobile platforms.

There is a new shared advanced actions feature that I'm looking forward to fully evaluating. I use advanced actions a lot. In fact, I keep wishing Adobe would update the user interface to advanced actions. In this release they've added the ability to reuse advanced actions more easily through templates.

There are some other new features that may be useful such as additional question types for HTML5, support of GIFT format for question banks, enhanced accessibility features, improved audio recording and editing, an equation editor, and a Twitter widget.

I've peeked under the wrapping paper...and, I'm glad to see something I know and love improved. I upgrade now or later?

I don't have the urge to upgrade to it this very moment. There are no major time savers for me in this release. However, this may not be true for you. For example, there are certainly time saving features for supporting mobile platforms and HTML5 users.

Are you an Adobe Captivate user? Will you upgrade to Captivate 7 now or later?