Last week, Articulate 360 announced exciting new features for e-Learning translation – in particular, support for standard caption and subtitles formats in Storyline. Along with that, Articulate added new functionalities to Review, their online portal for course QA. Review is already a game-changer for e-Learning localization, but these two features make it even better.
This post will look at the new features in Articulate Review and their impact on e-Learning QA.
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A brief history of Articulate Review
Review was introduced as part of the Articulate 360 suite late last year. It’s an online platform that can be accessed through an internet connection. This platform allows e-Learning authors to experience their published courses as their users would – with the same buffering or compression issues, broken links, or anything else that might not be an issue on a local server or desktop.
Better yet, Review has a feedback panel that looks like this:
It allows QA reviewers, project managers and clients to:
- Track comments along with screen shots of their corresponding slides. The screenshots actually capture the moment in the slide that’s referenced in the comment.
- Reply to each comment – effectively enabling discussions between clients, project managers and QA reviewers.
- Mark comments as resolved, and choose whether or not to display them.
- Upload course versions side-by-side to allow comparison.
For a more in-depth look at Review, check out our post from last year titled How Articulate Review Will Affect e-Learning Translation QA. The post also describes the previous QA review management process, and why Review is such a welcome addition to Storyline.
So what’s new in Review?
Two features – both useful for e-Learning localization QA.
First, anyone tracking a specific course can now change his or her notification settings. This doesn’t sound that exciting, but project managers will love this feature. Previously, reviewers got an email for each new comment, which could be overwhelming, causing them to turn off notifications and miss an important update. Now, users can receive daily digests, tracking comments by courses uploaded to Review – especially nice for project managers tracking several languages at once.
Second, Review now supports exporting comments to CSV and PDF. Here’s an export of the feedback panel above in CSV:
This output isn’t very useful, since the great thing about the comments is having the screen shots as a visual aid. The PDF version looks much more like the online panel, though:
So why is this second feature so great? One big reason – it makes assigning bug fixes easier, especially for elements of the multimedia localization process that have to be taken offline. Because e-Learning courses can import just about any content – voice-over audio, music & effects, graphics, animation sequences, or even fully-produced videos and their caption or subtitle tracks – fixing bugs in a course usually requires sorting comments by multimedia elements.
For example, if the voice-over recording requires pick-ups, you can’t have a studio engineer, talent and director work off the Review feedback panel – that’s a sure recipe for chaos in the voice-over recording studio. Exporting to CSV can allow the PM to retain only the VO bugs, and cross-check their sequence number against the audio files.
Same for any captioning or subtitling edits – since they are created in a post editing suite, it’s best to separate comments pertaining just to that deliverable. And of course, same for any video content that’s embedded – if there are video translation bugs, best to move those offline to the studio, especially if they require re-shooting on a green-screen soundstage.
In short, exporting comments allows a project manager to better sort and delegate bug fixes to the different post-production suites. In fact, once all elements are fixed and re-integrated in the Storyline timelines, the fixed course can be uploaded to Review as a new version, and the QA reviewer can mark resolved bugs. This way, the QA reviewer, project manager and client to fully control the final corrections sign-off.
Expect more from Articulate Review in 2017
There are still a few items on our Review wish-list. For starters, adding time-codes information in the feedback panel for each comment would be very useful for the editor fixing them in Storyline, especially for long slides with lots of information. Likewise, tags for course elements (like VO, captions, video, etc.) would help sort comments, making delegation less time-consuming. Finally, a CSV export with screen captures or even time-codes would make that format ideal for delegating the fixes, since it can be sorted. But for now, we’re excited about what Review means for e-Learning QA, and can’t wait to see the features that Articulate will add in the next releases.