Shadow

PHOTON features a module named Shadow that can record and playback the user’s interactions with its interface. It can be used to:

  • document on-going projects;

  • build templates you can exchange with colleagues; or

  • provide info as a task-oriented reference tool.

While in Playback mode, the recorded interactions will affect the current state of your project. For example, if you playback a recorded action, the project’s state will revert to what it was when the action was first recorded. This behavior will allow you to load tutorial files that will teach you the software’s basics by animating the interface. You will also be able to export files containing recorded sets of actions that can be sent to other users and specialists for support.

Always save your PHOTON Project before recalling any Sessions. When a Session is recalled or played back, the project’s state will change to reflect what is stored in the Session and all prior work will be erased.

1.1 Shadows and Sessions

Sessions are recordings of user interactions. Any interaction done with the mouse or keyboard can be recorded and can be played back. A Shadow is a container for Sessions, which makes it possible to select and group Sessions in sequential order.

This structure has been designed to facilitate the creation of Shadows, which are lists of individual tasks contained in a recorded Session. Even if it is possible to record multiple tasks within a Session, VYV recommends treating them as independent containers for single actions only, because it is possible to load previously saved Sessions into new Shadows to create complex sequences out of simple building blocks.

1.1.1 Default and Custom Shadows

Default Shadows are pre-recorded by VYV and packaged with our software. They cover most of the basic tasks a user will have to execute while building a typical project. Default Shadows should be seen as complementary to PHOTON’s technical documents. They cannot be modified.

Custom Shadows are user-generated and are meant for performing support operations and facilitating cooperation between user groups. Designed to allow UI recordings, Custom Shadows can be used to identify software bugs, to share project design tricks or help spot UI manipulation mistakes.

1.2 Recording Sessions

Before recording Sessions make sure you have correctly created, selected and named a new Shadow.

Create a New Shadow

  1. Open the Shadow module by pressing [Alt+Z] or by selecting {System > Shadow} in the module’s Main menu.

  2. In the Shadow module, click on the [+] button located under Custom Shadows. A new Shadow will be created.

  3. To select the new Shadow, click once on the new entry in the Custom Shadows list.

  4. To change the new Shadow’s name using the keyboard, double-click on the new Shadow entry to open a text field.

Once a new Shadow has been created, selected and renamed, you will need to create, rename and select a new Session.

Create a New Session

  1. To create a new Session in the Shadow module, click on the [+] button located on top of the Shadow breakdown list.

  2. To select the new Session, click once on the new entry in the selected Shadow breakdown list.

  3. To change the new Session’s name using the keyboard, double-click on the new entry to open a text field.

A new Session is now ready for data entry and UI recording.

1.2.1 Session Viewer

The Session Viewer is comprised of three sections:

  • The top section contains the title of the selected Session. You can edit the title by clicking on the text field, but the Session’s name in the Shadow breakdown list will remain the same.

  • The middle section is where you can write a description that will be linked to the UI recording you will eventually make. Click on the text field to enter your description.

  • The bottom section will display modifier keys that will be used during the recording.

1.2.2 Record Options

This section contains a [Keyboard & Mouse] toggle that should be activated because you will record UI interactions. Once you have made sure the toggle is activated you can record your Session.

1.2.3 Recording a Session

  • To record a Session, click on the [RECORD] button. When the recording is activated, the button will turn green.

Complete the sequence of actions with the UI you want to record, then click again on the [RECORD] button. Session recording will stop and the button will go back to its original state.

1.3 Playback Sessions

Once you have recorded Sessions (and eventually Shadows) you might want to play them back.

Before recalling any Session, make sure you saved a copy of your current project – by selecting {File > Save Project...} or by pressing [Ctrl+Shift+S] – because the Session will overwrite your project’s current state.

  • Select the Shadow that contains the Session you want to recall by clicking on it in either the Default Shadows list or the Custom Shadows list.

1.3.1 Play Options

The Play Options window section contains two toggles. Before launching any pre-recorded Sessions, make sure the [Keyboard & Mouse] toggle is activated.

The [Minimize] toggle can be activated before recalling Sessions. If activated, the size of the Shadow module will be reduced to help you see the action.

1.3.2 Playback

You can playback Sessions to watch the UI animate itself and execute a pre-recorded action. Keyboard and mouse inputs are not blocked on playback, so you should refrain from using them while a Session is recalled.

  1. Select the Session you want to playback by clicking on its name in the Shadow breakdown list.

  2. Click on the play button .

1.3.3 Initial State Recall

To learn how to replicate steps that you previously watched, you might want to recall the state your project was in prior to a Session recording.

  1. To recall a project’s initial state, select the Session you want to recall by clicking on its name in the Shadow breakdown list.

  2. Click on the downward arrow button .

1.4 Export/Import Shadows and Sessions

Shadows and Sessions can be exported and imported to foster cooperation between users and simplify support operations. Shadows will be saved as .shd files, and Sessions will be saved as .ssd files.

Import Custom Shadows

Export Custom Shadows

Import Custom Sessions

Export Custom Sessions