Trial Director 6 and missing features

Since I have to update my Trial Director Certified Trainer certification, today I got to take part in a webinar/conference call training session on what’s new in Trial Director version 6. As I’ve mentioned before, there are a number of new features that make me quite happy (Pack and Go, callout zoom on video, Print workbook contents to PDF, etc.), but today I realized for the first time that they also removed a couple of features.

No, before I go any further, I totally understand why they removed these two annotation features in particular. They are somewhat redundant. You don’t really need layers when you can save any number of revisions of an image. They do basically the same thing. I also get that the hot-spot for one-click script also was probably redundant, since you can create a workbook to simply run as a script, and can organize a workbook to bring up a document without making a clickable area on the existing document to bring up another document.

On the other hand, I actually use that feature a lot. Not necessarily for trial presentations that I’m running, but for ones an attorney will run themselves. Here’s the typical scenario. At the last minute, someone helps the attorney create a timeline, in Excel or PowerPoint, and they send it to me to add as an exhibit, along with a request to “make it interactive”. Which, in lawyer speak, means to make it so I can click on each event in the timeline and open “x” document. Typically, I can do that really quickly in Trial Director 5.2 by using hot spots and defining what document to open when it’s clicked. I keep the timeline in a workbook by itself, so that I can easily go back to the timeline by hitting the space bar.(Click the event, show a new document, hit the space bar, and you’re back at your timeline, it’s a nice workaround to having another program open to accomplish the same thing.)

Granted, there’s nothing all that special about this, and it actually makes more sense to simply put copies of each document in between copies of the timeline graphic in a workbook and simply space-bar through each document, or to space-bar through the event documents while keeping the timeline visible in one of the screen zones, but there’s just something about that point and click that really excites the attorney’s I’ve dealt with. They’re going to be disappointed when that goes away.

Of course, given the hefty system recommendations for 6.0, and the lack of a budget to replace all of the older machines in our current trial laptop pool that may have problems, I may just have a few copies of 5.2 available for cases where this might be needed for a little while! We’ll see how stable it is in my testing once I get this re-certification finished up before making any decisions on using it live in a trial. I definitely want our first live experience with it to be with me using it before I trust it to anyone else!

I’ve got 2 days to complete the exam and get it submitted to inData, I’ll keep you posted!

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