Essential skills for Book Pages

With the emphasis usually being placed on providing in-application help and recording simulations, it’s easy to forget that SAP Enable Now can be used to create pretty decent training presentations – whether for instructor-led classroom training or (as is increasingly the case) for self-paced learning. Even if SAP Enable Now is used for courseware, this is often limited to providing PowerPoint-like ‘page-flippers’, but with a bit of effort you can produce training material comparable with Articulate Presenter output, or even Adobe Storyline modules – and without the extra step of ‘generating’ the distributable files.

I’ve created a few short videos demonstrating a few key pieces of Book Page functionality that should be in every Author’s tooklit. These are accessible via the SAP Enable Now How To Video section of the SAP Enable Now Community, but for completeness, I’ve also listed them below, and provided a little extra information.

Images

It goes without saying that you should incorporate images into your Book Pages. Hopefully, the images support the text and/or provide additional information, but even having stock images (such as the available avatars) can add interest and break up the monotony of a text-only presentation. In this first video, we look at three different ways of adding images to a Book Page.

Video: Inserting images into Book Pages

The key takeaway here is that you should only ever copy/paste (or drag/drop) an image directly onto a Book Page if you are absolutely, unequivocally, 100% sure that you will never want to re-use that image anywhere else. And even then, I’d recommend inserting it as an asset of the Book Page (Insert Image, select Current Object, then Insert File), so you could convert it to a Media Object later if you change your mind. But generally, if you even think you might re-use an image, insert it into your Workarea as a Media Object for greatest flexibility.

Tip: Build up a set of common assets in your Toolbox. The Content and Templates section of the Info Center contains several good sets of images you can start from.

This video also makes use of an Object Visibility object. This is an object type that I use a lot, for basic animation of avatars, or just to be able to show multiple images one at a time, where there isn’t the space to show them all at once. If you’ve not used Object Visibility objects yet, learn how to use them; you’ll find them incredibly useful.

Timers

In this next video, I look at how to use Time Control objects to add some dynamism to your Book Pages. Anyone who has used PowerPoint has likely used the Animation ribbon to introduce bulleted list items one at a time, or to provide graphic ‘builds’. Honestly, providing this type of animation is not as easy in SAP Enable Now, but where Enable Now takes the edge is the ability to have multiple timers on a single page, and to be able to start (and stop) these timers in response to user actions or other events – and independently of each other, so you can have multiple timers running at once.

Video: Using Time Controls on a Book Page

One mistake that many Authors (especially those coming from PowerPoint) make is forgetting that a Time Control has to be started by something. In many cases, you will simply trigger the timer on the On Page Loaded event for the Book Page (effectively mimicking the ‘Start…After Previous’ trigger in PowerPoint), but as always, SAP Enable Now provides much more control and flexibility, allowing you to start timers on a specific user interaction, or in response to a particular object being displayed or hidden, or when the page audio finishes, and so on.

Tip: Learn what actions an object supports (i.e. things that can be done to the object that can trigger something else – like On Click, On Show, etc.), and what events for an object can be triggered by other objects (like Animate In, Hide, etc.). The Enable Now Wiki lists these for every type of Book Page Object.

Audio

Finally, in this third video, I look at using audio in Book Pages. Most Authors will be familiar with providing a narrative voiceover by using Book Page Sound, but SAP Enable Now allows you to add audio clips (whether narration, special effects, or other sounds) and have these played in response to various actions. SAP Enable Now even provides multiple audio channels so you can have (for example) background music (across multiple Book Pages!), narration, and audio effects all playing at the same time. (Now you can’t do that in PowerPoint!). Check out how to do all of this in the following video.

Video: Using Audio on Book Pages

In this video I look at both recording your own audio for narration, and using your PC’s built-in (Microsoft) Text-to-Speech functionality to use ‘generated’ audio (which may not sound great but significantly simplifies development and maintenance). This capability is likely to change to some degree in the next release, where support for Google’s significantly more natural Cloud Text-to-Speech should be implemented.

Tip: If you struggle with getting your your animation in sync with your Page Sound narrative, import your narrative as an Audio object instead, and start this from the same Time Control that starts your animation sequence.

Summary

SAP Enable Now provides a lot of great features you can use to build effective courseware using Book Pages. The above videos are only scraping the surface of what can be done, but together they will at least get you started on the right path.