Monday, February 07, 2005

Designing Scripting Templates

  1. Identify the primary, secondary and tertiary users of the template. For example - external clients might be the primary users, instructional designers (ID) secondary and the production team tertiary users.

  2. Collect the requirement and expectation that each set of users has with the template. Work out how your design would address these needs. For example, it might be important for the external clients to be able to visualize the solution. Hence they might need some props like images of the interactivity. For one of my solutions, I devised, "Interactivity at a glance" which was a series of key interaction frames to address this requirement of the clients.

  3. Evaluate the interactions that have been approved for the project. You might need to get in touch with your production team or the Creative Director to get this information.

  4. Group the interactivities in their families. This will help you decide if you need to create a different template for each interaction variation or if the same template can be reused by providing variation details. Let me illustrate this point by using an example-
    Suppose there are two variations of drag-and-drop interaction- one where the image is dropped to a label and other that uses just labels for drag-and-drop. Group them as one family. If there are six kinds of flipbooks - three with same-sized images placed in left, right and bottom position. two with a larger image placed to the left and right and one with no image. Group all flipbooks as one family.

  5. Within each family, identify the unique variations and provide this information at source. For example- Provide word count related information close to the text area, image related information where image needs to be uploaded. If there a precondition attached to the usage of a particular interaction, provide this information at the start of the template.

  6. Provide headers for each interaction - Which course, module/lesson, page does the interaction belong to? It is very important that interaction headers are provided since they are important linkages that bind the entire script into a logical whole.

  7. Create a template for the course/lesson skeleton which would have course/module/lesson/page headers, introduction and conclusion.

  8. Test this solution with the internal teams, take their feedback and incorporate changes that bring the solution closer to the user requirements.

  9. Develop your template. I prefer creating automated templates using MS Word. You might have another preference. A very helpful document created by my friend and ex-colleague, Swati Sengupta on developing automated templates using MS Word -

  10. Create a user manual/help for the template so that the users can refer to it, if needed. You will be surprised to know how many practicing IDs don't know how to attach a template!

  11. Undertake a training session for the users, explaining the different features.

  12. Go live!

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