CMairsCreate and Candyce Mairs blog about Adobe Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, Acrobat, Captivate, eLearning, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Livecycle Designer and all things web and mobile. Learn tips and tricks on a variety of web, PDF, and elearning in the posts below.

Importance of UX UI Design

I just finished teaching another UX UI Design this week which immediately followed my attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. What a perfect 2 week combination. Everything I saw at CES had to following the principles of UX & UI design.

UX UI is a rapidly expanding topic and there seems to be no end to this expansion. CES this year was all about the Internet of Things (IOT) and Voice integration with products. This may make it seem like the pattern is to eliminate the need for an interface to control services and products, but I think it means quite the opposite. Each of these devices needs an interface to set up or use the product or service. That also means more products and services will need someone to design those interfaces.

When the internet was introduced and businesses were just creating websites, there were no clear cut standards for UX UI. There were no processes that could be used for testing, no such thing as personas, user stories, wire framing, or even metrics to analyze when creating a website. Everything was a guessing game at that point. Those who guessed correctly were able to greatly benefit from their decisions, others struggled or perished. The industry was new, therefore there were no official processes to fall back on.

With the success of new technologies and new products, each business began to create design processes of their own to use in this brave new world. Apple will forever be at the forefront of creating these processes due to the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. User interfaces started to become extremely important in order to keep up and survive as a business.

Companies saw this as a great opportunity and started researching machine and human interface interactions. Much research was made into this subject and UX/UI was officially born. Businesses now understand the importance of the user experience and the effect it can have on the success of a product. Companies now have metrics about their users they can use along with this research in order to make sure they are developing a great product that is easy and pleasurable to use.

The overall principle of humans reacting based on the pain-pleasure principle can easily be applied to new products on the market. If the product is a great product, but is impossible to get set up correctly or used easily, the product will fail. If the product causes pain to use, humans will not use it and be very careful to avoid anything associated with it. If the product or service causes pleasure, users will be very interested in it. Our human instinct is to avoid pain and seek pleasure.

Since more and more products require an associated app to set up or use the product, the user experience has become a vital one to the success of the product and the business itself. The industry of UX and UI is a vital one, and companies must be willing to invest time and effort into this area of the business in order to succeed in this competitive marketplace.

If you are planning to move into the user experience or user interface industry, now is a perfect time to do so. For more information and resources, view my UX and UI Design page. If you are interested in learning more about this topic or wish to attend a UX/UI course, please contact Candyce Mairs.

ColdFusion Video Training by Candyce

Candyce Mairs has completed a new video training course on ColdFusion 2016 for VTC. This new course is presently being edited and should be available for viewing this month.

Get up to date on the latest version of Adobe ColdFusion in this over 8 hour hands on video training course at Candyce is an Adobe Certified Expert and Instructor who will guide you through learning ColdFusion on a step by step basis so you can become familiar with the entire process. Candyce begins with the software installation and complete ColdFusion setup.

The course then moves on working through the process of creating a ColdFusion database driven dynamic website. This course caters to the beginner and intermediate level front end web developer who wants to build a strong foundation in ColdFusion.

This course can be purchased as a single course, or through a subscription service at Watch for it coming soon!

The XML Language

I recently finished teaching an XML class, and was reminded of the importance of this language that is used behind the scenes and not talked about or considered cool. There are so many systems that communicate digitally that use this language but we never hear about it in the media. XML is one of those workhorse languages that does its thing behind the scenes day after day allowing totally different systems to communicate with one another.

XML allows data to be moved and rearranged into different formats for use in various systems. The language can be parsed and converted into other formats for web viewing. Thousands of different systems send this language around the internet everyday. It is a silent quiet language doing its thing allowing data to flow automatically. Nothing sleek or shiny about it so it is not discussed.

Whether it is formatting data into standards that abide by specific formatting rules to conform to regulatory standards or simply allowing data to flow, XML does its thing. What an interesting & dependable language.

Need Help with eLearning Courses?

Are you having trouble keeping up with eLearning projects? Are you trying to work in Adobe Captivate and having some issues? Could you use some training on specific commands within Captivate? Are you wasting hours trying to create consistent styles across your eLearning projects?  Do you have present courses that you need to convert to projects for desktop, tablet or mobile viewing?

Candyce Mairs is available to assist you with your projects no matter how small or large they are. Need an hour or 2 of training on Captivate to become familiar with a feature within the program? Need an entire team to get up to speed creating projects or rebranding old ones. Let an expert trainer show you how to save time and get your projects online faster with more consistency across projects.

Contact Candyce Mairs now and reduce your project time and frustration. She is available for onsite or online training no matter the size of our project.

Adobe Discontinues Acrobat Mobile Link

Adobe recently announced that the mobile link feature available now in both Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Acrobat Reader will be discontinued on July 12, 2016. In case you were not aware, the mobile link feature automatically uploaded and stored documents to your Document Cloud account.

The Document Cloud is still available to use across all devices. Simply save your files to Document Cloud from any device, and that file will be available from any device. This is a great feature that it has taken me some time to implement. I was so used to not have that storage space, and needing to copy files onto a USB drive or copy across my network in order to view or work on files on my desktop, tablet or phone. Now that Document Cloud is a part of my workflow process, I could not live without it.

For more information and what this means for you, go to the Mobile Link FAQs.

Adobe Captivate 9.01 Update

Adobe Captivate 9 has an update available that includes a few new features along with some bug fixes. Be sure to go to Help->Updates to access this new update. Once the update has been applied, your Captivate version will display as If your IT department is responsible for all software updates, you will want to make them aware of this update.

One exciting new feature available through this update is the ability to use Rulers & Guides within Captivate in a similar manner to other Adobe products. This is a feature that has been sorely lacking in previous versions and has frustrated many users. This new capability is well thought out within the program. You can set rulers and guides to be based on pixels or percentages depending upon whether you are working in a responsive or non-responsive project. Rulers are applied by default as percentage based for responsive projects, and pixel based for non-responsive projects. View the rulers and guides video to learn more about the new Rulers & Guides in this video.

Another new features is a small checkbox within the Object State area that allows you to retain the state of an object if a user revisits a slide. This simple checkbox sales you a lot of work when using multi-state objects.

Captivate Draft for the iPad has also had an update. This is a storyboarding program available with Captivate 9 that allows you to plan your projects and share these storyboards for team collaboration. You will find the app a bit easier to use with this update.

Another new feature from this update are some additional responsive navigation players that are now available for you to bring into your own projects. There can be some quirks to working with some of these new players, so you will want to view the video before working with these new responsive navigation players.

For more detailed explanation about how to install the update and all the new features available, visit Captivate 9.01 Release Notes.


Responsive Web Design & eLearning

Responsive designs for both websites and eLearning projects is here to stay. A responsive design is a page layout design that has different content layouts based on the screen size of the device viewing it. The big difference between a responsive layout and a non-responsive layout is that the content designer has factored in how to accommodate the best page layout for each device width.

The number of devices and screen sizes is growing, and with it the web community has learned to adapt to building websites and elearning projects to accommodate this new environment. I find that websites have come a long way in adopting responsive users can easily view content on mobile devices, even screen sizes that are a third of the width of a standard web page for desktop.

Content creators for eLearning however, are not quite so up to date in thinking about page layouts for varying screen sizes. The assumption is that since the eLearning content is being delivered via an LMS (learning management system) the user will always be viewing the content via the desktop environment. This is becoming less and less the norm, with users needing to view eLearning content in any spare moments they have.

I have created 2 new training classes to get up to speed on working with responsive page layouts for both websites and eLearning projects. This is in response to my asking the question in Adobe Captivate classes “Do you plan to design your content for mLearning?”. Most people ask me “What is that?” and How do I create responsive Captivate projects?”.

For more information about my Responsive Web Design or Responsive Projects Using Adobe Captivate, please contact Candyce Mairs. Learn how to get your eLearning content moved into mLearning content today!


Captivate 9 Release

Captivate 9 was officially released recently, and there are lots of new features to check out. Learn more about all the new features and stay up to date on Captivate news at the Adobe Captivate Blog – Adobe Captivate 9 link.

Captivate 8 introduced the capability to create responsive elearning content that can adapt to mobile phone, tablet and desktop screen sizes automatically. This was a huge step forward for the program.

Captivate 9 introduces a new storyboard iPad app named Adobe Captivate Draft. This new app allows you to storyboard your elearning content including features for a team review process built into the app. Once the storyboard is finalized, you can open the storyboard in Captivate 9 and convert it to an elearning course.

Once your course is complete, you can upload it to a new Adobe LMS system named Adobe Captivate Prime. Learn more about Adobe Captivate Prime – Adobe Learning Management System (LMS) including a free trial of this new learning environment by Adobe.

Adobe now offers a complete elearning course workflow. Move from design and storyboarding using Captivate Draft, to course creation and completion using Captivate 9. Complete the workflow and publish to Captivate Prime.

Captivate 9 offers many new additional features beyond these 2 new programs. Download the Captivate 9 trial version and get started today!



Accessibility in eLearning

Accessibility on the web has been a concern for a long time. Internet users who cannot use a mouse or keyboard, or visually see the screen have great difficulty in everyday life as most companies have moved access to their services onto websites or mobile apps. Imagine trying to get any task done nowadays without the use of the internet via desktop, tablet or mobile phone.

Despite this being a huge issue for millions of users, companies still do not understand the importance of this issue. When I ask students in any of my Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Captivate or web classes about accessibility, they look at me blankly. Making your content accessible to users with screen readers is absolutely crucial to a company’s marketing strategy, yet it is overlooked by a majority of organizations including state, county, province and city websites.

eLearning Accessibility has this same issue. I get the same blank stare when I ask students in my eLearning classes about accessibility. I have yet to work with a company that has a concern about making eLearning content accessible.

Learning Solutions magazine is trying to address this issue in their article titled Nuts & Bolts: It’s not just about compliance accessibility in eLearning. It is important to include education about accessibility in any eLearning class, and this article addresses the issue head on. This article can act as a great resource for learning more about how to make content available to everyone. Make this process a part of your eLearning strategy, and get ahead of this issue within your organization. It is much more costly to have to redo content than to initially incorporate accessibility features into your courses.

For further assistance on accessibility in eLearning or more information on eLearning courses, contact Candyce Mairs.

Acrobat & Outlook 2013 Issue

Do you use Acrobat to create PDF versions of your emails or email folders on Windows? Are you having issues trying to do this using Outlook 2013? There is a known issue in this process when using Acrobat.

The Outlook plug-in for PDF Export and Acrobat do not seem to play nice with one another. The larger your emails, the worse this issue becomes. I have not been able to convert emails or email folders since my upgrade to Outlook 2013. The issue occurs with both Acrobat X & XI.

Basically, a plugin called HTML2PDFWrap controls this conversion process. Memory issues can occur when trying to convert emails of a large size or that contain many images. You can end this process if you have had issues by using the Windows Task Manager and choosing End Process. This does not correct the problem however.

The Adobe Acrobat Engineering team is aware of the issue, so hopefully there will be a fix in an Acrobat update coming soon. To date, I am still unable to use this capability.

This is a convenient feature within Acrobat that allows you to create PDFs of individual emails or folders within Outlook. This is a great way to save copies of emails so they are fully searchable and viewable on any machine that does not have Outlook installed. I use this process consistently so I have easy access to older emails without the need to store it all in my Outlook folder. I can keep this PDF online or on my local machine, so I have old emails readily accessible no matter where I am provided I have internet access. I do not need to use Outlook to view my emails stored in PDF format.

Let’s hope that the Acrobat Engineering team is able to fix this issue. This is a very convenient method for maintaining and controlling email content, and I miss having this capability. I will try and post an update if and when this issue has been fixed.