Brainshark Fall 2014 User Group and Workshop Recap: Part 3 – End User Experience

Brainshark Fall 2014 User Group and Workshop Recap: Part 3 – End User Experience
December 18, 2014

This is the third in a 3-part deep dive for Brainshark authors into best practices covered during our fall User Groups and Build a Better Brainshark Workshops. Parts 1 and 2 covered audio and slides, respectively.  This final post will look at the end-user experience.

Once again, we also suggest you look at 10 Keys to Creating Engaging Brainshark Presentations, which focuses on planning your presentation.

End User Experience

A Brainshark presentation can be viewed on any device, including Apple, Android, Blackberry (with some limitations) and PCs. To learn how to run reports to determine which devices are used to view your presentations, read this blog post.

Guest Book

On average, 30% of all Brainshark presentation views with a Guest Book are abandoned. The Guest Book is best used for audiences (i.e. employees) that are less likely to abandon your presentation or provide false information. If you want to minimize the abandon rate, consider using a tracking code. For more information, read this blog post.

Table of Contents

You can use chapter titles to help organize your Brainshark presentations. Generally, when a presentation has from 8-14+ slides, chapter titles should be added.

For presentations with one or very few slides (i.e. a single video), where the Table of Contents has minimal value, use the URL Parameter DM=1 or DM=5 to hide the Table of Contents. Click here for a complete list of parameters that can be added to a presentation link.

Call to Action Slides

Most presentations have some sort of call to action. The natural tendency is to have it be one of the last two or three slides. However, not every viewer will get to the last slide, so consider introducing the call to action earlier in the presentation, making it available in the Attachments tab and/or auto-launch the call to action when the presentation is closed. This can be done by choosing “Edit” on the Attachments tab.


Pausing Slides

By default, PowerPoint slides are not automatically paused. For dramatic effect or to accentuate a point, any slide can be paused. If you do this, we suggest limiting this technique to once per presentation.

By default, question, URL and document slides are automatically paused when the viewer reaches the end of that slide’s narration. Pausing can be overridden for URL and document slides if the author wants these slides to automatically change when the narration is complete.

Either can be done by choosing Manage Slides then “Edit” and checking or unchecking the box.


Slide Navigation (Primarily used for learning and compliance presentations)

By default, viewers can jump to any slide in a presentation by clicking in the Table of Contents. You can modify Slide Navigation in a few ways. For example, viewers can see slides in order and review slides they already saw, but not skip ahead.

All slides can also be paused if you check “User must click play to advance.” This should only be used for compliance presentations in which you need to be sure that each slide was viewed. This can be done via the Options tab.



You can send viewers to other content types in three ways:

  1. Based on how the question is answered, the viewer can be sent forwards or backwards within the presentation, or to another presentation or URL. Go to the question and choose the Branching Tab.

  2. If Completion Criteria is established, when the viewer passes the “class” they can be branched to another presentation or URL. Go to Manage Properties and choose “Require Viewers to Complete Presentation.”

  3. When the viewer closes the presentation, regardless of which slide, one attachment can be auto-launched. Go to Manage Properties and choose the Attachments tab.


Depending on the look and feel of your presentations, the player themes (default grey, black or white) can impact your audience’s viewing experience. Be sure to pick the one that suits your presentation. In addition, contact to create a custom theme that matches your colors. To see examples, click here.


By default, the first slide of a presentation will be the thumbnail that is a visual representation of the presentation when it is embedded in a website. The thumbnail can be created by choosing “Embed” at the Presentation Properties page.


Pay particular attention to the layout of the slide so that the play button does not cover key text.

Fall 2014 User Group and Design Like an Artist Workshop Recap: Part 2 

In summary, the key with audio is to mix it up. A predictable presentation can cause an audience to tune out. When possible, use various slide types, videos, animations, background audio, a second presenter, and pause slides to keep your audience engaged. According to frequent Brainshark webinar presenter Carmen Simon of RexiMedia, no matter how you are presenting slides (online, on-site, or on-demand) something different should be happening every 4-6 slides. (Read this blog post from Carmen for details on what audiences remember from PowerPoint presentations.)

For a complete list of the 60+ Brainshark features go this page in Help and Training.

To see presentations that incorporate many of these best practices, check out the Customer Presentation Gallery.