I use Brainshark to create and host recorded presentations on the Webinar Success website. I also create on-demand presentations for clients using Brainshark to build on-demand presentations that can be accessed around the clock for lead generation, brand awareness, and training. That means I'm always happy to see new releases and enhancements to the product's functionality. And their new version 16.2 is no exception.
There are a number of things that make life easier for administrators and corporate organizers, but those are only important and understandable to existing customers, so I'm not going to get into them in this article.
Brainshark already supported 10 languages for commands and pop-up text in the viewer application that lets people see your content. They just added 6 more, including Danish, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, and both Brazil and Portugal versions of Portuguese.
It is now easier to get the URL information you need to let people link directly to your presentation, controlling the way they are allowed to interact with the recording. You can also get the complete HTML code you need to embed the presentation window directly into a web page, eliminating the step of having to link to another site.
Companies using Brainshark to create courses and curricula can choose to auto-login students and send them directly to a particular course, which can reduce support calls for forgotten passwords and the like.
The two areas of new functionality that are the most significant for my needs as an author deal with sound and animation. Brainshark now lets you add background soundtracks to your presentation. As with any such rich media, this is ripe for abuse by overenthusiastic authors. But in certain circumstances, background audio can add a professional and engaging aspect to a recording. The new implementation makes sure that the background audio keeps playing smoothly even during slide transitions, where there may be a break in your narration. There are also controls to allow you to choose whether to play the background track once or on a continuous loop. Companies can control whether authors are allowed to pick their own music tracks or are required to select from company approved tracks already loaded into their library.
Brainshark has also boosted their support for PowerPoint animations, now accepting and playing back timed animations that are triggered to fire with or after another animation effect. In previous releases, you had to make each animation a manually-triggered event and then specify the timing after uploading the content. The new release will be much more convenient for content authors who use PowerPoint animations in their presentations.
In addition to features in the base product, Brainshark has built upon their Brainshark Content Network with the ability for clients to create privately branded portal pages that give access to their Brainshark recordings. This is a nice way to collect lots of presentations into groups, with the ability for viewers to rate individual presentations and leave feedback for others. It also takes the burden off website coders, since they no longer have to add new links every time someone in the organization creates a new recording.