How I designed and built the scenario
Some people avoid creating branching scenarios because they seem too complex. In case it’s helpful, here’s the approach I took.
I kept track of the branching by writing the dialog and results in an informal flowchart. I used OmniGraffle for the flowchart, but you could use any tool that builds basic flow charts or just draw one by hand. Click the image to see a larger version.
As I built the slides, I wrote the slide number by each node of the flowchart for future reference. Then I tested the interaction by following each branch of the flowchart, marking the path with a crayon so I could see at a glance which paths had been checked.
To produce the slides and SWF, I used Keynote 08 (not Keynote 09!). Keynote is a slide editor for the Mac. You could create the same interaction with PowerPoint and a conversion tool that supports branching.
The “order taker” meter is a static PNG in three versions (“order taker,” midpoint, and “instructional designer”). The learner’s path determines which of these graphics is displayed, just as the path determines which slide is displayed. There are no variables involved.
The scenario in this post is about as long as I’d want to build using a presentation tool like Keynote or PowerPoint. For longer or more complex branching, I’d look at a tool like SmartBuilder, which would let me put multiple results on one “slide” and would display a flowchart of the interaction.
What’s your favorite way to guide your client or to design a branched scenario? Please share your tips in the comments.
Webinars to come: Starting in early 2010, I’ll offer some lively, interactive webinars. I’ll announce them in this blog and look forward to seeing your name pop up in the meeting chat some day soon. (To make sure you don’t miss an announcement, you might want to sign up to receive the blog as emails or in your feed reader.)
Nov. 10: Darwin
Nov. 12-13: Adelaide
Nov. 18: Hobart
Nov. 20: Perth
Nov. 26-27: Brisbane
Dec. 3-4: Melbourne
Dec. 7-8: Sydney