Previous button trigger

I don't know why I never noticed this, but why does the Prev button on some of my slides automatically go to the previous slide in the course, while on other slides the Prev button automatically goes to the last slide viewed? I am required to manually add/ copy a trigger to every slide to send the user back one slide.

Is this an actual issue for which I should submit a ticket?  Thanks.

28 Replies
Creativ Technologies

Hi Jill freeman,

yes you are right , if you have to go last viewed slide than no need to manually trigger .it automatically articulate give this trigger for go to last viewed slide. but if you have to go on previous last back one slide than you have to make a manually  trigger  for that .

thanking you 

creativ technologies 

Andre Van Looveren

I actually have a problem with the way Storyline handles navigation history. Two problems, in fact.

First, there is an asymmetry in Storyline's navigation that creates a big problem.

The idea that previous in Storyline works "similar to a browser" is true.  Unfortunately, next does not. A web browser does not have a concept of next until the user has used the back button or otherwise gone back in his/her navigation history.  The navigation the browser enables by next and back is constrained entirely to the sequence of pages/locations that the user has selected (not counting JavaScript, redirects, etc.).  In web browsing, there is typically not a concept of a next page unless you are in a context that introduces that idea, such as a product list, procedure (like checkout or registration), or series of pages in a multi-page article.  However, in Storyline, there usually is an identifiable next page (discounting last slide or branching), and that is the content that is intended by the author to be seen immediately following that of the current slide.  So, while Storyline's previous works precisely like a browser's back button, Storyline's next button works nothing like a browser's forward button.  By default, previous deals with history, but next deals with the "natural" ordering of slides.  And here is why it's a big problem...

Suppose I have slides A through E.  The user clicks next four times to get from A to E.  If I want the user to see slide C only once, I remove C from the content menu, use a project variable to record the visit to C, and override the next trigger on B and the previous trigger on D.  Now, here's what happens as I click previous multiple times from E: I see D, then B, then D, then B, then D, etc.  The looping arises as follows: D's previous is overridden to go to B, and B's default previous goes back in history to D.  It's an infinite loop, and not at all what the user desires/expects.  So, to maintain user expectations, if I override the previous trigger in one slide, I have to override previous triggers in ALL slides.

Second, the navigation history is recorded in the suspend data and thus grows with user navigation.

The record of navigation events allows the user to resume where he/she left off in the SCO and get the same behavior he/she would get in hitting previous, for example, before ending the preceding learning session.  That sounds nice, but there is a cost.  The suspend data (fairly limited in SCORM 1.2) grows.  I found that it grows quickly and linearly (each nav event adds several bytes to the suspend data length).  When I override all previous triggers (rationale explained above), even going "back" adds to the full nav history that is recorded and, as a consequence, increases the length of the suspend data.  The longer the user reviews the material, the greater the chance the suspend data will exceed limits and (as I've found anecdotally) we find some users are loosing their progress.

Can Storyline be made to save state minus navigation history (at least across sessions)?

Can Storyline be made to have symmetrical navigation?  That is, can Storyline adopt a browser style OR (my desire) handle its default previous trigger the same as its default next trigger?  I don't think the (semi-web browser) navigation history is valuable.



Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Andre, 

Thanks for the detailed explanation here and providing some scenarios for when you've encountered this. Since both the previous and next behavior are currently set up as is, and by design - it would need to be something submitted as a feature request.  I do not claim to know the thoughts or ideas behind our team who created Storyline, but I suspect the "next" button does not function as a typical browser button does, based on the fact that this is for the user to be able to advance within the course - whereas on a browser, you'd need to click on something within the screen to advance and then if you used the previous button to go back one screen the next button would now be active. Storyline allows for the course to be set up with the default "jump to next slide" in the sequence or with a trigger to jump to a particular slide, or even remove all the player navigation and create your own navigation - it allows for some flexibility. But as you mentioned, if you set up a custom "previous" behavior - you'll likely need to set that up for each slide. 

The suspend data in SCORM 1.2 is limited, but Storyline does compress suspend data to help with the overall amount of data that is reported while still allowing the user to pick up where they left off to help prevent you from exceeding the data limit. Again, in your scenario (ignoring the loop for a minute) you'd want to have the previous clicks remember, so that the user wasn't prompted with the C slide again after already viewing it. Currently there is not a way to change what suspend data is reported and tracked - although I have seen a few other threads where users set up submission of such data using Javascript or similar.  If as you shared here, you'd like to see a more customized approach to what is sent and how often, that would also have to be a feature request at this time. 

If there is anything else we can assist with, please feel free to let us know. 

Ray Arkin

Thanks for all the information on this...I was trying to figure this out myself and was surprised there wasn't a choice between the to versions of "Previous". Looks like I'll be forced to modify each navigation trigger manually. It would be great if Articulate could simply add an additional trigger option so you could between either:

- Go to Previous slide visited

- Go to Previous slide in sequence

Ray Arkin

I just realized another problem I have: for many of my slides in a lesson, I had the navigation buttons on a Master Slide. That won't allow me to make each Prev action for those slides go to the previous slide in the sequence---I'll have to remove the custom Nav buttons from the Master and copy them separately onto each individual slide, adjusting the Prev trigger for each slide.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Ray,

It's been something a few users have shared their thoughts on in the form of a feature request as the current, default set up is described here:

The default trigger for the Prev button, which jumps to the last visited slide, is hidden in Articulate Storyline. If you customize the Prev button with an additional trigger—for example, to adjust a variable—it replaces the default trigger. As a result, you'll need to add another trigger to restore the default Jump to previous slide functionality.

Chris Trefz

Hi Ashely, I'm interested in the custom trigger described from the article you linked to. The trigger as I set it up, isn't work for me though. The article doesn't go into detail on how you create the trigger, so I'm not sure where I'm going wrong. Can you look at the attached screen shot and give me any suggestions? Thanks!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Chris,

What isn't working with the trigger? Does the variable not adjust or it doesn't return to the previous slide? Perhaps you could share a snippet of what you're looking to set up in the .story file. The article I shared above was for Storyline 1 and it looks like you're using Storyline 2. 

Chris Trefz

Hi Leslie, Thanks for the quick response. I've attached my test file.
When previewing the file, I used the menu to jump from slide 1 to 5, then the goal was for the previous button to take me to slide 4 from there. But instead it went back to slide 1. 

Chris Trefz

Hi Leslie, 
Thanks, I downloaded the file. That's traditionally the way we would handle the previous trigger. The thing is, sometimes our projects are very large, 100 plus slides. So we were hoping that instead on manually reprograming the previous button for each slide, that there would be one variable or trigger that we could paste on all the slides to avoid individual alterations. Given that, can you recommend another solution? Thanks, Chris.

Chris Trefz

Hi, a while back I was trying to find a way to globally set the previous triggers in my storyline file to go to Previous slide in sequence, as opposed to the default, which is previous slide visited, like a web browser. But I didn't have any luck.

I know you can manually change this functionality by going into each slide's individual previous trigger, but it's very time consuming to do this on every project, especially the larger ones. 

I was wondering, now that some time has passed, has anyone found a way to set this globally with a variables? Or are there any plans to add this as an option in the setting of a future update?

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Mario!

This thread is a bit dated, but the default behavior for the Previous button is still set to go to the last slide viewed.

Due to branching and other non-linear courses, this button acts more like a browser back button instead of the numerical or linear previous slide as this could be a slide the user has not seen yet in some cases.

You can certainly set this trigger manually if needed.

Hope that helps you out.

If you need some assistance or have questions about your particular set-up, feel free to reach out :)

karen forkish

Hi Ashley, I realize this is an old thread, but from comments that Leslie made 7 months ago, it sounds like the Previous button functionality is the same in Storyline 360? I am using the latest version of Storyline.

I'm trying to set up a Previous button on my home slide, that is disabled the first time someone visits (when there is no history, yet), but on subsequent visits behaves the way the Previous button usually behaves in Storyline.

Everything works great when I return to the home slide via the menu, the Previous button is active, and returns me to the last visited slide.

But, if I go back to the home slide by pressing Previous, nothing happens when the Previous button on the home screen (which now looks active) is pressed.

I tried adding the trigger mentioned in this article, to subtract 1 from the varCount variable, but it hasn't helped.

Does this ring any bells for you? Do you know what I might be doing wrong?