April Update

During the beginning of this year, Adapt hasn’t had a lot of updates outside of bug fixes. In April that changed, and changed in a big way.

12 new themes

Today we’re launching a series of new themes I’m calling “boxed” due to the design of the centered box that all content lives in. I won’t bore you by listing out all 12 theme names, so you can find the list in any course by clicking the “Theme Picker” from the left menu. These themes were inspired by the OK Foster’s “RFT” courses, but as with all Adapt themes, they can be used by anyone.

The themes are monochromatic in that they use one base color then apply shades to that original color for all of the theme colors.

Boxed themes are a bit more opinionated than the more generic themes. The differences are subtle and it may take you some time to get a handle on how to use some of the techniques you’ve applied to the full-screen Adapt themes.

For Example: Parallax articles will never show the full image; only the part of the image that shows through the boxed article’s area. Which brings me to…

Parallax Articles Updated

I’ve added some options to the Parallax Articles Extension to allow a greater degree of control. You can now apply a “bias” to the image so that the image will begin it’s positioning where you specify. You can also now turn off the “scroll-over” effect so that the image appears in the normal flow of the document (which is particularly useful for the boxed themes). However, you should have realistic expectations about the positioning: “cover” image placement can’t be fully controlled (as they respond to screen ratio and resolution). Plan your images accordingly.

Also in the update is the ability to force the component in a Parallax article to have a transparent background. This option can create some very neat effects but should be used sparingly and always with accessibility in mind.

New Extension: Course Complete

There is a very simple new extension called Course Complete. This adds an alert element to the main menu when the learner completes the course. The appearance is fairly standard across themes.

New Menu: Enhanced List Menu

The new menu, Enhanced List Menu, is a slightly more graphical play on the existing List menu that can help make courses with a large number of pages feel more manageable to the user. Keep in mind that while the graphic and page description aren’t required, the menu looks a little plain without them.

All Themes Updated

All themes were updated to support the new behaviors. In addition, additional styles were added to clean up the appearance of tables, lists and blockquotes in text areas.

Adapt Changes

In the (maybe) near future, Adapt will be getting a significant update with hundreds of changes in courses and the authoring tool. This change will require modification of every component, extension, menu and theme in Adapt.

It’s a big move and there’s still a ton of work that has to happen before we can update.In the meantime, we should have at least one new theme (if not another 12) in the next few months. Another component or three (form detailing, pull quote), a menu, an update to the Adapt Authoring Utilities to make Hot Graphics and other position-based components easier to wrangle and a possible new extension for people who miss the powerpoint-like courses.

On the horizon…

Matt and I have been exploring some ways of getting complex vector-only animations into Adapt using a tech known as “Lottie”. There’s still a lot of work to go on this one and it may take a while to see how it can be integrated into existing components (if it can at all). So if like doing your own animations and want to work with Adapt — and this experimentation pays off — After Effects might be good for you to learn in the future.

And maybe, just maybe, it might be possible to get complex simulations to play Adapt. MAYBE. Not holding my breath.

August Update

Just because we launched doesn’t mean we’re done. We’ve been patching little things here and there and watching Adapt Core for updates. We also promised to continue building in new functionality — one component, extension, menu or theme per month.

New Component

This month’s new component is a much asked for extension, Graphic Headers. This extension can be added to any course by clicking Manage extensions and then clicking Add next to the Graphic Headers item.

This extension, unsurprisingly, adds the ability to insert a custom background into the header section to your pages or submenus as well as the main menu itself. Like Parallax Articles, you can also force the header to be the same size as the browser window. In addition, this component also allows you to add a logo to the header that will appear just above the title.

This component required an update to all themes and menus so be sure to perform a full rebuild of your course before you attempt to use the features.

New Functionality

Parallax Articles has a new feature that on the surface is pretty underwhelming: You can now provide a small caption that sticks to the bottom of the article when it’s forced to Full Screen. Unfortunately, it can’t be used when the article or block has any text, titles or components except for the Blank component. Pretty boring, right?

However, it does enable a technique that can be visually stunning: Full Screen Stories. The idea is to create a series of parallax images with a very short caption that tell a story in pictures as the user scrolls the course. The blog post has the full details on how to put it together — be sure to read the full post as there are some serious side effects to using the technique incorrectly.

If you would like to see the technique in action yourself in the Adapt Demo Course found in the Shared Courses. Once you preview the course, navigate to the main menu, then select “Special Techniques.” Once on that submenu, view “Full Screen Stories” page. Feel free to look at how the page is put together, but as always don’t edit the settings.

Have an Idea?

If you have an idea for a new component, extension, menu or just wonder if something’s possible, let us know. The best time to catch us is during Q&A hours from 10am to 11am Monday-Thursday.

Thanks everyone and have a great week!

Adapt Update

Just a few minor updates this month:

  • Adapt Authoring launched on the 15th of this month. There were several kickoff meetings held on the 19th and 24th. Everyone who will be using the system should now have a login and permissions to use the authoring tool.
  • The Adapt User’s Guide was updated for version 0.5.0 which launched at the same time.
  • The new theme Citrus Material has just left beta and is available for all users. However, the theme was built to Child Welfare’s request as they intend it to be used for their new CORE content.
  • There is a pending update to the Card component, fixing a label which incorrectly lists “Front” instead of “Back” in the component editor.  This update should be applied the 2nd week of August.
  • The Adapt Beta instance has been shut down. All access has been removed and the server itself will be decommissioned shortly.

Thanks everyone!

Forcing a Course Rebuild

We’re frequently updating the components available in the Adapt Authoring tool — which is great. Well, most of the time. We may tell you about a great new feature in a component but when you go to your course and click Preview button you don’t see the change.

The Authoring tool is trying to be helpful. Because component updates can introduce breaking changes (like adding required fields), by default Adapt tries to preserve the state the components in the course from the last time you previewed or downloaded.

Fortunately, there’s a very easy way to force Adapt to rebuild the course, pulling in new versions of all components and generating a new preview. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open your course from the Dashboard an make sure you’re viewing the Menu Editor screen.
  2. From the Sidebar, select Theme Picker.
  3. Click the Save button without making any changes.
  4. Click the Preview button.

Really, that’s it. Your course preview will take a little longer to generate than normal because the Authoring tool is re-importing all assets.