Training Media Review asked a panel of 33 training and
education professionals to rate the authoring tools they have used
regularly. The review summarizes the comments of the panelists who
have used ViewletBuilder.
ViewletBuilder is part of a series of integrated products for
producing online presentations. The series includes ViewletCentral,
ViewletACE, and ViewletCam. ViewletBuilder is a
cross-platform-compatible, screen-capture program marketed for
designing presentations, demos, simulations, and tutorials. Like
similar programs, such as Captivate and Camtasia, ViewletBuilder
publishes its completed files to Flash format.
Reviewers said the application is best suited for
developing software instruction:
"ViewletBuilder is especially good for learning software
applications or other processes where screen captures and a moving
cursor to demonstrate the material are important. ViewletBuilder
provides multiple ways to adjust and control cursor movement once
captured. The program has some interaction capability for clickable
hot spots and text-entry boxes, making it worthwhile for practicing
new software. The product creates Flash files, making it feasible
to develop a series of small, just-in-time performance support
tools to assist new users of an application."
Panelists highlighted specific program features, including the
ability to easily add customized balloons and notes to the screen
views, design interactivity through branching with hyperlinks,
record or import sound, and create simple testing.
Limits and drawbacks
Mot reviewers agreed that ViewletBuilder is not suited for practice
and assessment. It is also not well suited for designing a
presentation in which materials need to be printed. One reviewer
mentioned that ViewletBuilder is not the best choice to work with
"ViewletBuilder would not support animations and transitions in
PowerPoint, although these can be captured as Flash files with a
separate product, ViewletCam. Another separate product, ViewletACE,
creates more involved quizzes and surveys."
The benefits and disadvantages of using a screen capture versus
screen recording utility were also discussed:
"The benefit [of ViewletBuilder] is that you have a good deal of
control over what gets captured. On the other hand, the
disadvantage is that you need to remember to designate the slide,
which in the beginning is not always easy."
There are also other products available that will automatically
capture screen action from beginning to end; however, the
disadvantage is that they may capture "oops" actions and are not
necessarily easy to edit.
Although ViewletBuilder is a good screen capture program, reviewers
agreed that it has limited use: "ViewletBuilder is well suited for
its intended use for software demonstrations and tutorials. Its
design functionality makes it harder to apply to alternate uses."
Overall, panelists rated ViewletBuilder slightly less than Good,
putting it in the bottom one-third of all tools rated. Although
Value for the Money was rated very good, Help/Support was assessed
less than average. Documentation also received a fairly low rating.
A panelist summed up ViewletBuilder by saying that the product
seems to market itself as an inexpensive, easy way to produce
simulations and demos. That being the case, ViewletBuilder delivers
on what it offers, as limited as the product is in its overall