Choosing Visuals for your Demo

Can you remember a time when you were so bored with a Powerpoint presentation you were forced to daydream about all the other careers you might have tried that involve fewer meetings with Powerpoint presentations?

Now, can you remember anything about what was on those Powerpoint slides? Or, to put it another way: if boring Powerpoint presentations were outlawed, and you had to identify any one of those Powerpoint slides in a court of law, could you?

No? (Insert the CSI “da-dou” sound effect here.) Enter the concept of “visual evidence.”

Choosing Visuals for your Demo, gavel, judgeAccording to the experts atWiseGEEK: Visual evidence, when you’re talking courtrooms, includes photos, illustrations, videos, computer models, or any other media that is visual. Outside the courtroom, visual evidence is the same stuff, only less incriminating. In the everyday world, visual evidence helps people absorb information during presentations—like those in classes or boardrooms—by engaging their sight.

Use both sides of the visual evidence coin to help viewers remember your video demos: present your case with effective evidence and help them absorb the information.

Whatever you do, don’t clutter your demo with vapid visuals. Every image, screenshot, logo, chart, animation, etc., in the demo should be there with a purpose: to drive home your key message. When effective demos last between two and five minutes, there’s no time to waste on meaningless and ineffective filler.

Here are a few tips for effective visual content in your demos:

1. Focus your logo and branding at the beginning and end.

2. Showcase your product/solution with screenshots illustrating exactly what makes it unique, exciting, revolutionary.

3. Don’t use the same screenshot throughout. If your demo is for software with a layout that doesn’t change much from screen to screen, for example, zoom in on unique functions, menus, reports, and other features. Find ways to mix up the on-screen scenery.

4. Remember there’s a voiceover. Images alone don’t have to tell the entire story, just demonstrate and accentuate the message.

New York Times visual Op-Ed columnist Charles Blow put it well in an article published Aug. 27, 2008 at “A lot of graphics are overdone. If you can make it so that you can get right to the point, that’s so important.”

The Poynter article explored Blow’s insights on the then-emerging field of “visual journalism.” Blow expressed his surprise at discovering of how simpler visuals get stronger reader responses. “They want you to make a strong point and give them that in a visual nugget that they can digest right away.”

Find visuals for your demo that make your point and make it memorable.

Check out some of the companies we’ve worked with here: Autodemo Samples