If you have a brain like mine, then it's probably organised along the lines of Tarzan's Tree House after Jane went on holiday in England for six months. If so, then you need to pick up some sort of crude chisel and carve this next thing on your bedroom ceiling (won't Jane be pleased?).
The optimal Captivate project size is: 995x627 pixels
Why screen size matters
If you start your project with the wrong Captivate screen size, changing it later in the project can range from very inconvenient to downright impossible. In a worst-case scenario, you might even need to start the project all over again.
Factors that determine the optimal project size
Arriving at the ideal screen size
- Take a screenshot of a typical 1024x768 windows computer workstation running one of your Captivate presentations in the corporate approved web browser. If your company or client has more than one sanctioned browser (e.g. IE and Firefox) then you'll need to do calculations on both. I used a graphics program (Snagit) to capture the area inside the browser's content area so that I could accurately find out the exact pixel dimensions required for my Captivate project.
- If launching your course from the corporate LMS, you usually get the opportunity to specify that the module will play either in the normal SCORM player window, or launch itself in a separate window. In most cases where you want to maximise screen real estate you use the separate window option. The LMS should have additional options to turn off browser toolbars. Ideally, you should be able to turn off all
- If launching from a link on a website, your best option is to use a bit of Java script to disable toolbars in the browser and other stuff that comes up in an internet window (maybe we'll talk about that in another post). If your new window should be minus the browser header, and as many toolbars as you can manage to exclude.
- At this stage you just have a fairly clean browser window with "chrome" all around (the grey borders that all browsers have. It should leave you with about 1014x702 pixels to play with.
- Technically you don't get the full 702 pixel height to play with because there's likely to be a Captivate playbar sitting underneath the content, and the playbar is usually between 20-30 pixels high. So you need to allow for it as well in your calculations.But that's not the end of the story.
- If you are working in the corporate arena creating e-learning courses, chances are they'll be delivering the content via a Learning Management System (LMS). This system will usually be SCORM-compliant, which means it accepts e-learning courses created with any number of authoring tools like Adobe Captivate, that package the courses as zip files using the ADL SCORM standard. Most LMSs use a 'player' that displays the course content in your web browser. And these players also tend to limit the amount of actual screen real estate available to you. For example, they don't all offer the option of turning off toolbars such as the location bar or status bar, and they'll often mandate that the right side vertical scroll area be present.
- Then, if all of this wasn't enough to ruin your day, along comes Microsoft with their latest anti-phishing security measures for Internet Explorer. 'Phishing' is the industry term for a particular type of attack where a hacker builds a website designed to look exactly like someone else's website, say your bank's site. Then they try to trick you into thinking you're on that site and enter your personal details. Normally you will be able to see the website's correct URL in the location bar (sometimes called the Address bar) at the top of your web browser, and know that you are on a secured site by looking for the little padlock symbol in the status bar at the bottom. But if these toolbars are turned off, all you have to go by is the look and feel of the site, which the hacker can easily replicate. So, in an effort to combat this type of attack, Microsoft have introduced security restrictions and patches on newer versions of Internet Explorer that make it impossible for hackers (and web developers) to arbitrarily turn off these toolbars. The downside of this for e-learning developers is that it further limits your available screen real estate.
- And one more thing...Captivate's standard HTM publishing templates will ensure that there is around 10-15 pixels of unused space surrounding your actual Captivate content. You can easily remove this space and force your content to go right to the edge by inserting a small amount of CSS code in your templates. I explain how to set this up in another blog post here...>