What not to do when creating a software demo

I recently went through the pains of making a demo for an upcoming product. Perhaps the most obvious thing that I learned from this trial was that there is a reason people do this sort of thing professionally!

Needless to say, I took my lumps and in the end generated something that closely resembled a big steaming pile of poo for a demo. Fortunately, there will be a second crack … and we received some awesome feedback from Steven Blank, author of The Four Steps to Epiphany, a classic on bringing a product to market. Some lessons learned when making a demo:

4. Slow down
People watching the demo haven’t lived, breathed, and dreamed Attassa for the last year and a half. Chances are, it’ll take them a bit more time for things to sink in and make sense.

Screens need to be displayed for more than a fraction of a second, actions need to be explicitly pointed out, introduced, and explained.

3. Keep a running dashboard of benefits
One of the best suggestions that Steven had was to create a running list of benefits. As these benefits were being demonstrated, check them off of a list; making them painfully obvious. Clear Context does a nice job of the running dashboard of values.

2 . Create a demo scenario, not just a list of features to demonstrate
The most compelling demos are those that are able to show a real life usage that resonates with viewers. Without getting overly specific in any scenario, you can usually come up with one that is generic enough to convey value, while specific enough that the practicality of the software is beleviable.

1. The point of the demo is demonstrate value
It took me about 2 minutes to lose track of this and my engineering side to pop out as I proudly sliced together clips, transitioned audio, and in general, used every feature of the screen capturing software.

One thought on “What not to do when creating a software demo

  1. David:I’m pleased to hear that you think our demo does a good job of driving its point home – thanks for the mention!Brad MeadorClearContext

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