Michael: my Arch Angel of Widgets

Posted on: July 16th, 2012 by Edward No Comments


A title that’s maybe a bit grandiose, but Michael Lund aka CPGURU was my guardian angel when I needed one! Let me set this up for you so you’ll truly understand the magnitude of my situation and how Michael and his widgets saved my…you know what!

The POC for one of our largest clients came to me and asked if I could create an e-Learning course…he gave me a few specifics, a branching scenario and a few client requirements…no problem, I said, I knew that I could produce the product using Captivate—which at the time, the only thing I knew about Captivate was what I read on the Adobe website.

The POC came back later with a much larger task, and based on my telling him I could produce the original product, told the client the new parameters were no problem…so what were the new parameters?

Well, to start, it was no longer a single course. The “expanded project” would now contain three separate courses…ten modules each and a quiz after each module and an exam at the end of each course…a branching scenario for user failing exam three times…oh, and the ability for the user to save/print a certificate that had the exam score and date that could be forwarded to the client for acknowledgement…resume/bookmarking capability…AND…it all had to work from a CD/DVD-ROM…WHEW!

Needless to say, by the end of my meeting with the POC, my head was spinning…

Well, the first thing I had to do was make it all work; which I could only make happen by using Flash as an interface…but the primary obstacles where not with using Flash as an interface or creating the courses in Captivate…no, the challenge was user input–user tracking–user data storing and retrieval!

The funny thing is, Captivate has nothing to help with any of that unless you know about creating and editing widgets…I couldn’t find anything, in Captivate’s myriad of installed widgets to help me with any of my…user input–user tracking–user data storing and retrieval issues…so, of course, I was in a REAL PICKLE!

So, off to Google I went…there had to be someone, somewhere who needed to do what I needed in Captivate…well, you could knock me over with a feather, why don’t cha! It didn’t take but one search results page to find out that there was a world of Captivate widgets out there to help you do practically anything you could think of…I almost started feel comfortable with the project I had to do…

One of the first websites I went to was www.cpguru.com — I can’t tell you how blown away I was with the selection of Captivate widgets on this site…as I perused the list, my confidence level for the project was building to a real comfort zone…I was downright feeling good about things…

So, after making my widget-wish-list, I decided to just purchase the Save and Load Data Widget so I could get the gist of how to use it before incorporating it into the project…there was a demo that was available on the page that used the Save and Load Data Widget to save a value in a SharedObject (i.e. a Flash cookie) and reflect a value of “Completed” or “Not Attempted” from a menu of modules…for a certain aspect of my project, this was exactly (almost) what I needed…

So, I viewed the demo and read the documentation but couldn’t seem to get the widget to work…so, I filled out the form on the website looking for support and this is when my “angel” began looking after me…

Of course, I expected some reply to my query just as a courtesy, but what I got impressed me to the point of instant allegiance. Not only did I get a reply, I got detailed reasons why what I was doing could not working and suggestions on what I could do to make it work…and sure enough, with a little bit of logical thinking, the reply got me on track with using the Save and Load Data widget in no time at all.

And most impressively, at the end of the email was not, the CP GURU SUPPORT TEAM…but simply…Best regards, Michael. I was just dumbfounded with this level of personal attention to someone who only spent $30.00 on a website…I can’t recall ever getting this level of support no matter how much I spent!

Needless to say, over the course of the project I purchased more widgets to get the project doing what I needed and Michael even created a custom Bookmark Widget for me with my own design to further make the project’s design elements even more seamless.

Yes, Michael Lund, aka CPGURU is definitely my guardian angel when I look back on this project…what would I have done with you? THANK YOU MICHAEL!

Special pat on my back 🙂 …

Over the course of my project and problems, Michael and I developed a professional relationship and when he needed some graphic design support he was nice enough to give me an opportunity to do something for him…so, I had the privilege of creating an interface for one of his latest products…the Glossary Widget (which is a phenomenal product by the way). Thanks again Michael!

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