Captivate 2 is a huge upgrade over the previous version of the product, bringing the Adobe software simulation tool fully into modern times. Captivate 2 also has outstanding usability. In fact, when we first launched and began testing Captivate 2, we were able to record an application and create a very professional-looking software demo in less than an hour. This can be chalked up in large part to Captivate 2s many wizards, usability aids and streamlined proc-esses.Another welcome new feature in Captivate 2 is the ability to create demonstrations or training videos using a simple graphical mapping tool that branches into different paths based on user interaction or quizzes (see top screen, Page 55). During tests, we found this tool to be very useful for creating training videos, tests or sales-based video brochures. Like many tools in the software simulation market, Captivate now includes the ability to zoom in and pan to specific areas of a video, simulation or presentation. For example, when running a demonstration of new browser features, we could zoom in to focus on the browsers address bar. As one would expect from an Adobe (and formerly Macromedia) product, Captivate 2 has close ties with Flash, including built-in support for Flash video. By default, all content is output as Flash. Captivate also now includes a library that makes it simple to drag and drop previous components directly into a simulation. Captivate 2, which started shipping in September, is priced starting at $599 ($299 for upgrades). Evaluation Shortlist OnDemand Softwares Personal Navigator A powerful e-learning and training platform for building complex simulations for complex applications (www.ondemandgk.com) OutStarts SoftSim Geared for high-end training and e-learning tasks, SoftSim lets businesses build a wide variety of customizations into simulations (www.outstart.com) Qarbons ViewletBuilder A simple-to-use but surprisingly capable tool for recording and annotating application demos (www.qarbon.com)
For example, Captivate 2 can automatically add text boxes as it is recording an application. During tests, after we finished recording and went into the initial preview and editing stages, descriptive text boxes had been added any place that we had clicked a button or link or added content to a field or form. This feature alone saved us much time.