That's Interactive PDF's!


Senior instructional designer Mike Peacock returns to the show to talk about interactive PDF's. Mike shares what motivated him to want to get more out of the training manuals he was creating for his company, not just for his own satisfaction, but also because he knew he could better support his trainers. He gives recommendations types of interactive elements can be added, as well as tools you can use to create the documents. Mike loves his interactive PDF's so much he just got done presenting them at the ATD TechKnowledge Conference.

You can connect with Mike on LinkedIn.

The following transcript was auto-generated and may contain typos or spelling errors.


Leslie Early

Okay, today I am super excited because I have two-time returning champ, senior instructional designer, Mike Peacock here with me today. Why do I say to time returning champ? Because Mike Peacock is the first guest who I have had back on for a second episode. History in the making, folks. Thank you, Mike.


Mike Peacock

Hey, my pleasure, thanks for asking me back.


Leslie Early

Of course, it's just you're so easy to talk to. And we had so much fun the last time and, and I'm just excited to talk to you again, because we're going to talk about something that I really have no idea about, which is always fun. And that is interactive PDFs. Now I've seen people talk about these a little bit, but we're gonna try to dive into that. But before we get too sidetracked because I have a tendency to get sidetracked. Why don't you take a couple minutes and just introduce yourself? And maybe talk a little bit about how you got interested in interactive PDFs?


Mike Peacock

Surely. Thank you again. Well, thank you for having me back. I'm a senior instructional designer or something like that at a company called Aristocrat Gaming, we make slot machines. Are based out of Las Vegas. Been there for a little over two years, I'm one of these teachers became instructional designer. So teacher for 20 years in audio and music and video, and that just fell apart. And then you know, morphed my way into instructional design. And I wish I knew all this stuff now that I know, as an instructional designer when I was a teacher. So it would it would have came in handy.


Leslie Early

There's a lot of overlap, right?


Mike Peacock

Yes, yeah. So the next time you do a show on, you know, the combination of instructional designer meet teacher, you know, that's a good, that's I like to have discussions with that. But when I get into instructional design here at Aristocrat, we do manuals, and guides, okay, okay. Like all training does, and, and I know that all of you out there have had a guidebook or a manual, either have read one in a training or have actually created one. And there's only so much you can do on a page. And images can only be so clear, are so big. And one of the things I dabbled with, and this is how I got into this world when I guess interactive PDFs, is like I couldn't see a picture. I was like, I can't see this. This is a some kind of systems thing with tabs on I'm like, I can't see that. So I was like, there's gotta be a way for me to see this picture larger. And so I'm like, Alright, how can I do that? So I fumbled around, and I was like, Alright, let me put a button on it, like in the digital world. And if I click it, I want to see that picture. And so I figured out how to do that. I think I think I threw it in rise. And so I put a link around the picture. And you click it, and it opened up like this. It's great. And so that way, you can expand it. And then I like, what if I want more pictures, so I added more pictures. So now I have a carousel of pictures. And that's how I started in this interactive manual way, because I couldn't see a picture.


Leslie Early

Let me back up. You put a carousel of pictures into a PDF.


Mike Peacock

Yes. So what an in what an instruction of what an interactive PDF, in my mind is is a manual will say, you know, guidebook, tip, sheet, infographic, whatever, with layers, kind of thing, captivate or storyline with just different layers that you can get into. So if I see a picture, I can click on the picture and have that picture or more pictures, or so that's how it started that I was like, Well, what if I want a video for that picture? So instead of seeing the picture, I see a video explaining that picture. So I created the video, and then I put a button on the picture, I click it, and a video pops up. So in the digital world, you don't have to leave the document. And then then the other things happen, but and then I started okay, what if I, I started doing videos for stuff. I'm like, Well, I want people to see the videos within the documents. So I just started putting links, like press here. Instead of just putting a link I put a button that says press here. Anyone will press it.


Leslie Early

Yeah.


Mike Peacock

it's a button. It says press here. Of course I'm going to press it. Where does this go? I don't know. As I created this, it took away some of the relief some of the text, because I don't know about you, I can't. I don't like text. I don't know, I just I get too intimidated. I'm also a musician. So I'm a classical musician for 25 years, I still get intimidated by notes on a on a sheet. I'm like, oh, man, I can't play this. Of course, I can play it. But that's the same thing with text. It's like, I get to read too much. And again, you know, we're all educated. We can we can read. But thanks, I guess to the internet, we don't anymore. We we watch things. So I want you know, I don't I mean, still like reading, though.


Leslie Early

Yeah, I will agree with you there. My level of comfort with a large amount of text is very dependent on the context of where it is.


Leslie Early

If I hold a book, in my hand, I can hold a huge coffee table book in my hand, and there's tons of text in there. But because it's in a book, it's not overwhelming. But if I see a screen, or PDF document full of text, I don't know what the difference is. Maybe it's just the way we track with our eyes, or whatever it is. But I my brain just goes, Oh, no, I'm not doing that. I am not doing that right now, I need to have a full cup of coffee or something before I even attempt to do that.


Mike Peacock

And it's usually not designed correctly for our eyes to too friendly read through and you'll go down the page. And so that's how the interactive, I guess the textbook or whatever, be started was I just wanted more from the book, more from the flat picture. And the texts that were there. And so I started putting in links to videos, to pictures. We were doing the inside of a slot machine cabinet. And so I took a 360 camera and I put it in there. And that way they could scan around. And they could see around that I put hotspots on that. So if they wanted to see the printer, they could press the hotspot, and then they could go into the printer, which was just a video. So it's just layers on layers. At the end, instead of having a written quiz, I built scenarios in Rise. And so there was a link over to the scenarios and Rise or Storyline or whatever I use. Yeah. And yeah, and that's all for the most part. It is. Yeah, it's just because I always wanted, because I did these guidebooks, like most of you, I'm sure listening do, and you know, they're not being read, you know, after the class, you know, they're being recycled, or, you know, hopefully they're recycled, or deleted or forgotten about. So I really wanted my hard work to be, and the hard work of the trainers and all this information that people should be needing as a resource.


Leslie Early

Yeah.


Mike Peacock

And that's what, you know, snowball this idea into what it is now.


Leslie Early

Yeah, so, um, I don't know if you have any examples that you're willing to share and show but I would, I would love to when we do post this episode be able to show something so people can sort of see what you're talking about, because I think I understand what you're talking about. But maybe what I'm imagining is totally different. But what I'm thinking is that you have to like your PDF or your document, Word document, whatever it is. And essentially, you're adding graphic elements that are linking to outside, like, URLs.


Mike Peacock

That is one way of doing it. Yes, absolutely. Okay. Yep.


Leslie Early

Okay, then that makes more sense to me now. I'm getting it now. Okay. So, yeah, that makes a lot of sense why you would want to do that, because you're right. I don't think anybody takes like a 36 page, PDF or, or even more, 100 page PDF, and goes to their desk and sits down. And it's like, I'm gonna just go right through this today. So, yes, you motivate them with like, these interactive elements that you're talking about.


Mike Peacock

Yeah, there's some pretty neat stuff. And we're dealing with one and we do use this at Aristocrat, so we've been converting manuals over. And we're dealing with one now, which is 186 pages. And one; just to print that out. I mean, I love trees. You know, don't get me wrong. I love trees, even though I'm in the desert. But I, I do love trees, and a printout, you know, for 20 people in the class, 186 pages. That's a lot and then to send someone a PDF and I know me, I'll like open it and go, Okay, how many pages is this? Oh my god. 180! You know, all right, this better be good. So what we're doing now is we're trying to reduce the, not the content, you know, obviously weed through an update, but also the journey, the experience, which we can now do with in other formats. I'm creating a comic strip. So you'd actually zoom in and it will go to each of the parts of the comic strip. So instead of putting text and bullets, it's a comic strip of someone having an issue in a casino. And then on the last slide, you click it and a video pops up of how to fix it. So it's the journey of the person at the machine has problem goes to the, you know, the help desk, you know, what's the issue, yada, yada, yada. And then there's a video that pops right out of a comic strip. So, so much better than just bullet bullet, bullet bullet.


Leslie Early

Right, and it's the same information, and also, but you're talking about, like, you're getting too into, like storytelling and all that stuff, too, which is like, a lot. And I think what we're talking about, also is like, I always say it wrong, Mayer's Principles of like, Multimedia, right? Like, we can all read a lot of text when it's on a page, which is what we already sort of said. But when we start looking at digital media, it's like, nobody wants to do that. Nobody, right. So what I'm hearing you saying, it's like you want to make it, bring it into the digital realm. And we've, it's been proven by you know, that certain things work a lot better digitally. Like some of that being bringing in visuals, bringing in storytelling, bringing it in reducing the amount of text, no bulleted lists, like things like that. Right.


Mike Peacock

Right.


Leslie Early

I'm on board. You sold me.


Mike Peacock

Right, I got a customer. We're rockin. Take my masterclass. So I just got off of presenting this at the ATD TK conference, which by the way, it was wonderful. And thank you to all the people out there that I met. And if you've never gone go next year, you have to go it's the one of my favorite conferences. And so what I talked about is doing this not just you know, the best part is like InDesign. So if you have InDesign and no InDesign you are set, but but also doing it in a straight Word document, because everyone has Word. So this is how. I walk you through kind of how you would do it in a Word document. How to do it, if you have a PDF and or even a piece of paper, scan it now as a PDF, you put it in Acrobat. If you have Acrobat, Adobe Acrobat, and then you can you can customize it from there.


Leslie Early

I don't know if I've ever...you can add buttons and things into Adobe Acrobat?


Mike Peacock

That was how I first started was I took the PDF itself and did it in Acrobat. And then when I went back to, you know, add some more stuff. I'm like, Alright, what did I do that in? And oh, yeah, you can do buttons. You can add videos, you can everything for the simple parts you can do in InDesign, you can do right in Acrobat.


Leslie Early

I had no idea. I think I haven't used Acrobat really that much recently. Right? Thinking of Acrobat as like signatures and fill in, what is that? Fill and sign?


Mike Peacock

Right, there you go. Fill and sign, right. Now there's a lot you can do. And then I'm going to now interactive 2.0. With this in InDesign, where I know my next manuals will be on the web. So they'll be the same documents as they are in PDF, but it will be a link. And I can do more content, more creativity, because it's on the web instead of an interactive PDF, or a digital PDF, but I can update it instantly. So if something changes, or you know, I need to add something, I just add it and it's updated. Not, I have to print it out again, send an update, upload, you know, it's instantly, instantly done. And it can be password protected, and all those security things. But it's really neat what you can do. You know, there's a couple of drawbacks here and there. But it's pretty neat and for the most part, and it works on any multimedia device. So if you're on your phone, iPad, computer, Mac, PC, it's a link.


Leslie Early

Yeah. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It would be like responsive. Um, what was I gonna say? Shoot? Oh, um, I guess so. It's You said you know, you're on version 2.0 now


Mike Peacock

I'm leveling myself up.You know?


Leslie Early

Exactly.


Mike Peacock

It's my game I can play now.


Leslie Early

Yeah, you decide when you've leveled up, but I guess, Are there any... Can you remember or recall, like lessons that you've learned along the way like, Oh, this really did not work. out like or, or this thing didn't quite go the way I thought it would or has it? Just, it's more just like you're just expanding.


Mike Peacock

Oh, it's worked every time. There's been no issues whatsoever. I don't know what you're talking. Oh, yeah, it's a lot of trial and error. You think something will work and it doesn't work. It's kind of like, you know, like Storyline or Captivate or anything with layers, you're like, Alright, what layer doesn't work? What button is? What am I not doing right? And for the first one was I was doing this layering thing where you hover over something like a picture and the text would pop up. So all you see is pictures on the page, but you hover over each one. And there's the text, so you don't see a page of text, you just see a page of pictures. Hmm. So when I was doing that, I, I had everything around kind of think, you know, Storyline and you have your whole page. But I didn't know that the the textbox or the picture or the image had to be actually touching the page for it to be seen or used. So I had all this stuff. And I'm like, Alright, why can't I see this? Why can't I see this? I'm looking at my layers, my buttons, and I was like, Oh, wait, it has to touch the page even just a little bit. So work just like Captivate and Storyline.


Leslie Early

There has to be something on that base layer.


Mike Peacock

Exactly, exactly.


Leslie Early

Okay. So you've come up with some good examples of applications that you can use to make this and some good examples of how you've used it. I'm curious if you have any suggestions to like people who are just starting out, like, what is an easy way to say, oh, that would be a good use case for an interactive PDF?


Mike Peacock

I would say, look at a document, whether it could be an appendix, a tip sheet, an infographic manual, whatever you're creating, or your trainers are using. Unfortunately, I create my training and then I pass it off to my trainers. So I'm not the one implementing it. So I have to sell them on the idea sometimes. Now this is gonna make your job easier. But to get started, just look at anything that you're creating go Okay, what, what would I want better, like mine was an image, you know, there's only so much you can put on an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper. And, or I want them or you're explaining a process maybe and it'd be much easier if they just saw a 10 second video. So create the video, and then put a link to it, and then get rid of the bullets.


Leslie Early

Yeah.


Mike Peacock

And we'll save space or look better, clean, you know. I know, we always say it, but don't be afraid of, you know, empty space. You know, spread it out, make it look all pretty. And that's where I would start and if you're, you know, you don't have InDesign, great. Use Word. You know, if you don't have any of the Acrobats or anything like that. Just use Word, all it is is a link. And if you do create a Word document very simply to a link on something. And when you convert it to a PDF, it will keep the link


Leslie Early

Oh, yeah.


Mike Peacock

Because you don't want to send out a Word document most of the time, because people will come in and be late. Yeah. Right. But if you do add a link into a Word document. You can. Yeah, it will save as a PDF File, Export it. Yeah. Yeah. And you can do the same thing with, you know, PowerPoint, you know, instead of going slide to slide to slide to slide, have, you know, a bunch of tabs, and go, Okay, I want to talk about this topic, hit the tab, and that create a button and it goes to page 10. And then on page 15, when the information is over, it goes back to page one, and then you go now I want to go to this one now. And you jump around. So a lot of the trainers don't don't like to go in order, they will jump around. So what I've been trying to do is create that jumping ability for them. Like here's all the information, it's linear. But on this main page, you can jump around all you want. So I'm doing that for the manuals, for PowerPoints for anything that I give them, because I know if you've ever been a trainer or teacher, you know, every class is different depending on the audience. And sometimes you want to talk about a B and C and sometimes you want to go adcb So, so I'm trying to I'm thinking like how would they want it trained? And and and that all started from they want they kept updating their textbook, like or having me update the textbook. No, we want it like this now because that's how I train it. And two weeks later, no, I want it like this because that's how I trained it. Like Come on.


Leslie Early

Just let you navigate as easily and smoothly as possible.


Mike Peacock

That took very little selling. Yeah, they will. Okay, they were on board with that. Yeah, so yep, yeah. So just live. Things like that are already there in your word or, or PowerPoints, another one I use. And I use this, because we still, you know, the digital world, but they were still printing them out. I'm like how whatever, I'm not in charge. So I'm like, I still want them to get that experience. So how can I, you can't press a piece of paper, nothing happens. So I started using augmented reality.


Leslie Early

I was actually thinking about that. Yeah,


Mike Peacock

So I put separate codes, I use Zappar. And so I will put zapper codes on there. And they would zap it and get the same experience a link to the 360. photo, a link to the video, a link to the scenarios, a link to the game, whatever I can create with a button. I can also create in code with the code. And I could do some other really cool stuff just for zapper that I would put in there too. And, you know, so they would experience the zapper. zapper world?


Leslie Early

Yeah. Yeah. When you were describing it, I was like, Oh, this is like content curation. So this is very similar to what you would use AR for, or what one of the uses for AR.


Mike Peacock

One of the uses. Right, right.


Leslie Early

Yeah. Very cool. All right. Well, I guess my last question is, if people would like to reach out to you to discuss this a little further or bounce ideas or anything like that. What is the best way for people to connect with you?


Mike Peacock

You can connect with me on LinkedIn. Mike peacock, or my email address is Mikepck42@gmail.com. And I'll send you a link. We can talk this, then an audio video, anything like that. I'm just you know, hey, I play we play some ukulele. Whatever you want. Let's just connect. I like connecting.


Leslie Early

Yes. And you're very fun and easy to talk to. I can vouch for that. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Mike. And I hope you have a good rest of your day.


Mike Peacock

Thank you very much and you do the same.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai