Triggers in Articulate Storyline are one of the most powerful features you can leverage to create interactive projects. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be writing a series of posts that will cover the basics of using and creating your own Triggers. This first post will provide a general overview.
What Are Triggers?
Triggers are a feature in Storyline that allow you to add a new layer of interactivity and functionality in your projects. The basic model for using Triggers, is to create a script using the Trigger Wizard, and then associating this script with an event, such as a button click or slide event (for example when the timelines begins or ends). A Trigger can be comprised of four different parts: An “Action”, “When” the Trigger should be executed, the” Object” that the Trigger is associated with, and finally the “Conditions” for the Trigger. We will take a closer look at each of these next.
Specifying When a Trigger Will Be Executed
As we mentioned earlier, a Trigger is always tied to an “Event”. An Event is something that takes place that causes the Trigger execute. To help you visualize this, think of this scenario. If your goal is to turn on your computer, you would push the power button. Pushing the power button is the action that “Triggers” the computer to power up. Storyline Events are divided into four categories: “Click” events, “Timeline” events, “Drag and Drop” events and “Other” events.
“Click” events cause a Trigger to execute when a user interacts with an object by clicking on it. “Timeline” events cause a Trigger to execute when the timeline starts or ends. “Drag and Drop” events cause a Trigger to execute when a user drags or drops an object on the slide. Finally, “Other” events cause Triggers to be executed when objects are hovered over, states are changed, etc..
After you have specified the Action and Event for your Trigger, you are now ready to tell Storyline which Object to associate the trigger with. In the previous example of turning a computer on, the Object that Triggers the event is the power button. The Object that you can associate your Trigger with will vary depending on the Action and Event that is selected. For example, if you select a Click Event, then the Object that you can select will be something on your slide that can be clicked, such as a button. If you select a Show or Hide action, then the Object that you can select will be a layer. In a future post, we will take a closer at each of the Action types, Events and Objects, and learn exactly what you can do with them.
Conditions are extremely important when creating Triggers. A condition can be used to help determine when or if a Trigger is executed. For example, if you want a button on your slide to become active only if a user’s score is over 80 points, you could achieve this with a condition. Essentially a condition is a set of criteria the must be met. To truly leverage the power of Triggers and Conditions, you should have a good grasp of variables. We will take a look at these next.
What is a Variable?
A variable is a key building block for programming and scripting. While creating Triggers is not technically programming, some of the basic concepts are the same. Your main task is to create an expression that will result in some type of action that is completed. As we mentioned previously, in a condition, there is a set of criteria that must be evaluated in order to determine if the action will be completed. In general, this criteria will be stored in a variable. You can think of a variable as a container that will hold information. To illustrate, you can use a variable to store a user’s name or quiz score. In Storyline, there are three types of variables: True/False, Text and Number.
- True/False Variables: A True/False Variable is a variable that can hold the value of either “True” or “False”. In programming, this is sometimes called a “Boolean” variable. This variable can be used to set flags for certain conditions. For example, you can create a variable named “slideViewed”. After the user has visited the slide, you can set the value of “slideViewed” to “True”.
- Text Variables: A Text Variable is a variable that can hold a string of text. An example of when a Text Variable might come in handy, is if you would like to capture the name of the user that is taking your course. You could create a variable named “UserName” and store the user’s name in it for later use.
- Number Variables: The final variable type is the Number Variable. If you guessed that this type of variable holds numbers, then you are right. This variable type can be used to capture any type of numeric data such as scores and other items.
Now that you have a basic understanding of Triggers and Variable, it would be a good idea to launch Storyline and play with the Trigger Wizard so that you can see what options are available to you. In our next blog post, we will learn how to create a new Trigger in your Storyline project.