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Lesson 6. Interactive Simulations

Lesson 6. Interactive Simulations

In the previous lesson, you created an animated video simulation. The simulation itself was pretty convincing—although created from a series of screenshots and some tweens, it actually looked like a video recording of the task it demonstrated. Still, enjoyable as they are, video demos are not terribly interactive. Having users click a Next button does not involve them in the task itself. Users are generally more engaged—and retain more—when they interact with the simulation.

In this lesson, you will create an interactive simulation in which users perform a task—setting up a System DSN—themselves. DSNs, or Data Source Names, enable you to configure dynamic Web sites using server-side scripting, such as Macromedia ColdFusion or Microsoft ASP, to communicate with a database. Setting up DSNs is an important skill for Web developers today, so you'll be learning double-time by completing this lesson. In this example, the user role-plays an English professor setting up a DSN for a course: English 337.

In this lesson, you will build an interactive simulation that uses hotspots, text entry, and tab order interactions.

Structurally, this simulation is a lot like the animated video simulation in the last lesson: It consists of a series of screenshots made up of Next buttons. But there is a key difference. This time around, the Next buttons are invisible to the eye and positioned over appropriate areas of the screenshots. The result is the creation of the illusion that users are clicking dialog tabs, OK buttons, and list items, when in fact they are clicking hotspots layered over screenshots.

Users interact with graphical software interfaces through more than clicking. They enter text, drag and drop objects, press keys, and so on. A good software simulation contains all of these behaviors where appropriate. When setting up a DSN, the most prominent activity is clicking. But users also need to enter text and tab between text fields. You will add this interactivity as well.


In this lesson, you will:

  • Build an interactive simulation of the process of setting up a system DSN

  • Lay out screenshots convincingly to mimic menu pop-up behaviors

  • Create and program hotspots using invisible buttons

  • Create input text fields that collect information entered by users


This lesson takes approximately 1 hour to complete.


Media Files


Starting Files


Completed Files




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