HelpXplain v1.1 DRAFT with Audio Objects

HelpXplain is the exciting new animated infographics and screencast tool that integrates with Help+Manual.

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HelpXplain v1.1 DRAFT with Audio Objects

Unread postby Alexander Halser » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:12 pm

We have a first draft of the implementation of audio objects and voice-over ready for download.
Please be aware that this is a beta version!

Download: ... p-v110.exe

Audio objects implemented

  • You can insert (short) audio files on slides
  • The audio starts playing triggered by a "Play" animation
  • "Play" animations allow detailed control of when an audio object starts to play
  • A slide may contain more than one audio object
  • Slide audio works in HTML (Webhelp) as well as H&M EWriter eBooks and in CHM files



Best practices for audio objects

  • Use MP3! MP3 enjoys the widest support across all browsers and all platforms.
  • Do not place audio objects on the first slide! They may work or may not work (e.g. in Google Chrome)
  • Always use Lightbox display! If the Xplain runs inline (in an <iframe>) use a dedicated Play button.
  • Audio objects can be visible at runtime! Place the audio objects somewhere near to the textual information they represent or go along with.

Google Chrome - a special case

If you display an Xplain with slide audio in Google Chrome, it could be that Chrome does not play anything. Especially, if the audio object is placed on the first slide. Why is that? Google has rolled out their new audio and video policy with Google Chrome. In short, the policy says that the user must interact with a website (e.g. click somewhere), before Chrome plays anything automatically. Read more about Google's Autoplay policy changes here: ... cy-changes

But Chrome is just the first browser to implement this, others are likely to follow-up with a similar policy sooner or later.

How to deal with Chrome's Autoplay policy

The last couple of best-practice points need some explanation. As mentioned above, Google's Autoplay policy prevents audio objects from playing unless the user interacts with the website (i.e. clicks somewhere on that page). In other words, to make audio play, we need the user to click somewhere first. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways.

Display the Xplain in lightbox mode

If your presentation runs in a lightbox, it requires the user to click on the preview image to start it. That click delivers the "OK" for Google Chrome to play audio. The important detail with lightbox mode is: the <iframe> inside the lightbox must inherit permissions from the host page. We have updated the xploader.js script to inherit autoplay permissions. If you are using this loader script on your website, make sure to update it.

Implement a PLAY button at the first slide

If your presentation uses a play button to start autoplay, that's fine. Every audio object that starts playing after the play button has been clicked, is audible. Any audio object on the first slide, however, might not be played.

If an audio object does not play

If an audio object does not play because of Google's Autoplay policy, the Xplain script will make it visible! It places a small audio icon on the canvas, exactly where you had placed it at design time. This audio icon can be clicked to play the audio file it represents. Because that click is a dedicated user interaction, it will give Google Chrome the OK to play this audio and (automatically play) other audio objects on subsequent slides.

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Alexander Halser
Senior Software Architect, EC Software GmbH
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Alexander Halser
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