Everyone knows that a picture is worth 1000 words. When you're trying to explain something, a moving picture can be worth 1000 stills. Animated demos and marketing pieces can explain and persuade. They hold the audience's attention better and are more compelling than just using words and written text for many purposes.
There are several programs that create animated demos, including Flash Demo Builder and Viewlet Builder. I'm going to review TurboDemo, one of the most popular.
For this review, I tested TurboDemo by creating a short tutorial on using FindApp. To begin, I recorded myself using the Find feature to locate software on FindApp.
After recording, TurboDemo looked like Figure 1:
Figure 1: The TurboDemo User Interface
|Notice that TurboDemo calls each captured screen a "Slide". Each slide can have its own graphics, text, and audio added. If you have used Microsoft PowerPoint, you should find the interface for editing slides familiar.|
Once you're done recording it's time to turn the simple screen capture into a demo or tutorial. It's surprisingly easy.
First, I added text to several slides. I also added a callout, also known as a word balloon, to one slide. I used rectangles and arrows to emphasize important parts of some screens. Finaly, I added a "Start" button to the beginning of the tutorial so it wouldn't begin before the viewer was ready. I chose not to use audio for this demonstration.
After you've completed all the text/audio annotations, it's time to adjust the timing. You can control how long each slide stays on the screen using the Player controls.
Figure 2: TurboDemo Player Controls
The number shown is the duration for the current slide. Allow enough time for viewers to read the text and/or listen to the audio.
A major strength of TurboDemo is how many ways you can save your demo. You can create Flash or Java for web pages. You can also make a self-running Windows program (EXE), PDF and Word documents or an AVI movie. I created an executable file, which you can download below.
FindOnFindApp.exe (4.15 mb)
TurboDemo is surprisingly easy to use, and has enough depth that experienced users will continue to get better and learn new tricks. You can create buttons, interactive test questions with automated responses to both correct and incorrect answers, and much more. It does have a few quirks and frustrations, mostly a somewhat out of date user interface.
TurboDemo is a very good choice for a professional who will be creating enough demos and animations to justify the price. You can find both TurboDemo and other demo builders in the Presentation category of FindApp.