MulTimedia demo script?

Subject: MulTimedia demo script?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 10:22:24 -0400

OSSAMA NABEL has <<...been tasked with preparing a script for a multimedia
demo for the marketing team. The demo should guide first-time users on a
quick tour of the software that we develop. My part is to prepare a scenario
for the demo, write the script and orchestrate the whole process... I'm not
sure how to start, or how to write an interesting script that's neither a
"high-pressured" sales pitch nor even a monotonous documentary comment.>>

Start with a consideration of the needs of the users: they want to find out
what they can do with the product (thus, why they'd want to buy and use it),
and they want to obtain this information in a manner that reassures them you
have their interests at heart--with minimal marketing bumf. That is, make
the sale by showing them how the product is useful to them, not by
overloading them with adjectives and "wow are we good" text. That means you
should produce a script that explains the overall metaphor of the product in
such a way that they quickly obtain an overall picture of how it works: how
the parts fit together, how real people get real work done. Emphasize the
special features (the sales points that Marketing will insist you include)
by showing these features in use, not by saying "wow look at this!" If the
future users see how those features will make their lives easier, and see
that you respect their intelligence, you're halfway towards making a sale.

My opinion, supported purely by anecdotal evidence (my responses and those
of many colleagues) is that the most effective demos are relatively quiet
and restrained, with minimal flash and special effects (unless, of course,
the demo is of a product that generates flash and special effects, or is
designed for an audience that creates these things). The ideal demo
concentrate on explaining (in my own language) what a product does for _me_,
and how it meets my needs. Extravagant claims and bragging turn me right off
and convince me that the company has its priorities wrong.

One caveat: That's perfectly sound advice for an audience composed primarily
of people like me, who just want to find out whether they can get the job
done. Other audiences (e.g., creative artists) may require something
considerably flashier just to catch and hold their attention. Know thy

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer

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