Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Optimizing Demo File Sizes

When creating a DemoMate, it's useful to be aware of the factors that can influence the size of the demo file. This is especially important when creating a demo for use as an online tutorial, where download speeds can affect how long it takes your customers to load the demo. The following four factors can influence the size of your demos:
  1. Screen Resolution - The higher your screen resolution, the larger your demo file will be. This is because DemoMate will be recording more pixels of information for each step. Reducing your screen resolution before capturing your demo will dramatically reduce the file size. This has the added benefit of making your demo viewable on a wider range of displays, and making text more readable when presenting your demo.
  2. Color Depth - This refers to the maximum number of colors Windows can display on your desktop at any one time. Typically, this is set to 32-bit to ensure the highest fidelity when watching videos and viewing photos. Reducing this setting to 16-bit can help minimize DemoMate file size, and usually has only a minimal impact on the quality of the screenshots in your demo, because most business applications don't display enough colors on the screen at once to take advantage of 32-bit color.
  3. Image Complexity - Capturing demo screenshots that contain highly complex images takes up considerably more disk space than screenshots with simpler images. When capturing demos, you might want to consider removing that fancy beach photo from your last vacation that's being used as your desktop background, and using a simpler, single-color background.
  4. Number of Steps - Of course, the number of steps in your demo will also affect the size of the demo. It's always a good idea to review your demo and see if there are unnecessary click steps that can be removed to tighten up or shorten the demo.

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