If you’re working remotely or as part of a distributed team that is building a project for clients (versus something internal), having a way to give product demos is something that can be incredibly helpful.

I know, I know: The term “product demos” sounds like something you give after a product is complete. But when you’re chatting with a client through whatever means you’ve chosen, and you’re unable to pinpoint a bug, I’ve found that it helps to create a product demo and send it over to them.

Naturally, it’s not a good idea just to send a video and be the stereotypical developer who says:

Hey, it works on my machine. Must be yours.

First, that’s a terrible and counterproductive attitude. Secondly, it’s disrespectful to the client because you’re in the business of solving their problems. Not creating them or complicating them.

So how can you make their lives easier (as well as your own)?

Product Demos, Project Demo: Good All Around

There’s a lot of software out there specifically for screencasts:

And on and on it goes. Personally, my preferred service is Droplr.

Product Demos with Droplr

I’m a fan of using Droplr, but it’s not the only option.

There are some reasons why (the least of which has not come from trying out other software), but because it makes it so easy and straightforward to record a screencast.

  1. The option to do so sits right in the toolbar of your screen.
  2. You can export the movie as a mp4 or a GIF file.
  3. You can mute the audio before performing the screencast or include it using whatever hardware you have available.
  4. You can select the region of the screen you want to use to record the screencast.
  5. It stores the video for you and provides a link to share.

And that’s all well and good, and I know other services provide the same thing. I just so happen to be partial to the way this particular service does it.

Does The App Matter?

It does, but it’s not the end-all-be-all of product demos. For example, I use Screenflow for more advanced tutorials for others.

But for quick demos of several issue resolutions or milestone completion, nothing beats the simplicity of one of the above applications.

Secondly, and as I said above, we’re aiming make the lives of our clients and customers easier. And if you’re not doing that through code, communication, trust, and, yes, even product demos, then I’d argue that maybe you aren’t going as far as you can with your efforts.

So when you find yourself asking:

“What can I do that would help explain what I’ve done, show the work that’s completed, and contribute to making the lives of my customer easier?”

Consider using a screencast of the product demo. I’ve yet to hear a complaint about doing it. And no, I don’t inundate the customer with videos.

But when a complicated feature has been completed and resolved, I find it to me much more helpful. It shows what I’m seeing, it gives a visual point of reference to refer to in conversations, and it’s much easier than typing out words in a back-and-forth that might take much logner to get resolved.

There are more upsides than down, so why not try it?

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Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years, using Camtasia.

    Also, upon job completion, videos are the best way to provide help for your clients. Long, or even short, written instructions just don’t seem to work for most people; it’s the visual demonstration with voice-over that gets the job done.

    In WordPress you can provide a dashboard widget with a list of help videos so they’re right there, front and center, when needed. Keep ’em short and always provide voice.

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