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Creating a demo like a pro

Have you ever came across a scenario where you have to show a canned demo to a Client ? If so, you will know how difficult it is. Here’s my two cents on this topic.

Why should I care about the presentation so much ?

There are many literature available on how presentation is very much important for making the right impact (I didn’t mean the “Powerpoint Presentation”). You would have heard of the rehearsals that Steve Jobs used to do before launching an Apple product. If you have a great product, but if you don’t present it well, there will be negative impact to the success of that product. Look at advertisements, how they are trying different methods to promote their products. Even in IT industry, UX (“User Experience”) is famous now. So there is no reason for you to not care about the presentation.

Why recorded demo is a hard nut to crack ?

In my humble opinion, following are a set of characteristics that impacts a presentation,

  1. A powerful story
  2. Imagination
  3. Right tools
  4. Time
  5. Delivery

Let me explain,

First of all, decide whether a recorded demo is necessary. Will it make sense if you present it live ? Sometimes, having a recorded demo helps in multiple ways. If you are in IT industry, you will know that everything will work perfectly when you test it. But when you want to perform live, something or the other will fail for sure. Also if you have a recorded demo, you will know exactly what the audience will get after the demo. In a live demo, sometime we may tend to loose some points while explaining unless you have practiced rigorously.

If you are not confident about the message that you want to convey, then it is hard to make things right even if you have all the other five items. Think like you are directing a movie. You will need a story, and your imagination can give a scene for presenting the story in such a way that your audience will sit through it.

The major topic that I want to convey through this blog is the tools. Often the requirement to have a demo comes at the last minute and you will be clueless what to do. May be this blog will help you get your things setup quickly. I am using a Mac, so some of the tools that I explain here will work only in Mac. You will have to find an alternate by searching in the internet.

  1. A Presentation tool
    I will stick to Microsoft PowerPoint because of two reasons — One, I have used it many times and I know how to create slides pretty quickly. Second, It have many features which others lack.
    You need to experiment with your imagination to use the animation techniques in powerpoint to make it look real. Do a research on how to make best animations in powerpoint. You will find many video guides. By the way, it is not free.
  2. A Video Editing tool
    I came across the Mac’s in-house tool “iMovie” . It is free with Mac. It is awesome to create very nice videos and edit. You can make movies as if it looks like a Hollywood movie ! There are limitations on the animations that you can make using Powerpoint. Also its very difficult to merge/cut add transitions …etc in Powerpoint . Even if you are using tools like “Quicktime Player” , there are only limited capabilities. If you use iMovie, its like a complete movie production. You have all kinds of options to make a movie.
  3. A Text to Speech tool
    I always use IBM Watson Text to Speech. It is free for short demos. It has many dialects which you can choose from. Having a nice narration improves the quality of your demo. If you prefer recording your own voice, then you have to be careful about editing the recording to avoid noice, errors, pauses…etc . The text to speech tool helps in this by avoiding the need of recording voice.
  4. A Wireframing tool
    If you want to create a prototype of a web/mobile application, the best tool to use is Adobe XD. It is free to use for single user. You can create stunning web pages and navigations through various pages through this tool and record it. It will look like a web application is running behind it. But in actual, it will be mockup screens. Search some videos on how to make nice wireframes. I could download Adobe XD, go through the how to guides, and create a stunning web application demo in less than 5 hours. So you know how easy it is.
  5. A medium to share your demo
    If you are sharing the video , make sure that the sharing tool has a play option (Not like download and play). Tools like Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, BOX, Google Drive…etc are examples

After all, if your story is not powerful, don’t blame the above guides. They are of no use when the story is not good. Experiment with these tools in advance, so that when you are in urgent need of creating a demo, you don’t need to go through the learning cycle, which will cause further delay to your project.

Hope the above guide help you get started quickly. Happy presenting !

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