A few months ago I created a demo for ELH Challenge #18 which was called ‘Using Characters in eLearning’ (you can see a recap here). For this one I did a ‘meet the team’ style interaction that was based on something I’d seen a few years ago. The idea is that you have some people and some questions and you pick a person and a question you’d like to ask them, then their response is shown. You can try the demo by clicking on this image:
I was happy with it originally and it works fine but I’ve felt for a while that the design could be improved because the screen is quite full and there’s not a lot of flexibility in the layout. What I mean is, say I wanted to add another person to ask a question of, I’d need to make the other four people smaller or totally move things around to fit it all in. Also, the response area is quite large and the person giving the answer is shown twice which is unnecessary. So I set about playing with some ideas as to how I could overcome these problems.
For the people on the slide, I wanted to be able to have as many or as few as needed. I figured that using one image that had a number of states (which would be images of different people) would be a good way to achieve this. I just had to make sure each image of a person was placed in a similar position and was about the same size (there was some trial and error getting that right):
Next I needed to work out a way of moving through the people. I thought of using buttons – one to go forward through the people and another to go back but then the whole interaction would be clicking. So then I thought a slider might be worth a shot. I inserted a slider, kept the design simple and added change of state triggers e.g. change the state of ‘Person’ to state ‘Person 2’ when the slider moves and equals 1 (and so on for the others states). I tried it out and it worked great. So I now could have two people or 20 and they all fit in the same space on-screen.
Now for the questions. I left the number of questions to three as I reckon that you wouldn’t need any more than three (you’d probably use less). In the original, the space for the question was just a rectangle with a glow to indicate when it’s selected. It looked more like a button, so this time I used a caption and changed the selected state to a black solid fill:
Tip: I created a button set with my questions which only allows one question to be selected at a time. Doing this creates a selected state so I could then change this state to what I described above.
As in the original demo, the responses by each person to each question are placed on layers. But this time it was a combination of one question being selected and the slider being in one of 6 positions:
I repeated this trigger for all the combinations, the ‘copy and paste trigger’ buttons came in very handy!
The space where the responses are shown is still a good size and I made use of this space on the slide (base layer) by using it to hold the instructions which aren’t visible when each layer is showing:
For the responses themselves, I again used a caption-style shape (it’s actually a combination of a rounded rectangular caption and a triangle) and because I placed this near to the image of the person I didn’t need to show the person twice on-screen.
The last thing I did was to apply some colour coding to each person and layer so that there was a visual indication as to which answer belongs to which person:
Tip: You could use videos on the layers of the person giving the answers or add audio if you didn’t want to use text responses.
If you’d like to see a published version of the updated interaction, click on the image below:
If you like to download the source file and use it yourself, just click here.
Overall, I’m happy with the improvements and I was able to try a few things and experiment. The new version is more customisable too. But best of all, going back to something I’d already created meant that I didn’t have to start from scratch. I could apply some things that I’ve learned since the original was created and I learned a few new things while working on the update allowing me to continue building skills.
This template is one of a few that I have on my new Downloads page.