Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DemoMate Enhancements - February 2010

The DemoMate Team is pleased to announce that the latest version has been released (Build 969), introducing a number of new features and enhancements. We’ll be adding numerous new tutorials over the next few days to give you a complete overview of the team’s great work. Check back often!

Scenario Branching: In this release, we’re proud to deliver one of the most-requested features from the DemoMate community, Scenario Branching. This enables you to create non-linear demonstrations driven by the interest of your audience, and opens a world of presenter-driven demonstration options. The new feature that enables branching is called a “Jump Box.” Check it out in this tutorial:

DemoMate Tutorial:

Scenario Branching

Get Microsoft Silverlight

External Links: The new Jump Boxes can also be used to create links from your presenter-driven demonstrations to any URL or URI, so you can link to Videos, Websites, or Supporting Documents such as Worksheets, Quotes, Proposals, or Technical Specifications. To create an link, just add a Jump Box and select “Add New Address” from the drop-down menu.

Interactive Text Boxes: Need to simulate secure sign-in? Now you can. Text Boxes are another new feature in this release. With Text Boxes, you can simulate typing into a text field during your demonstration. Font and size options help you with match text or select “password” style (dots).

Animated Text Boxes: In all DemoMate Auto-Play modes, Text Boxes animate elegantly. This includes Auto-Play in the client, the hosted Silverlight Player on DemoMate.com, the embeddable Silverlight Players, and the “Click to Run” EXE.

Click-and-Drag Click Boxes: We’ve updated the Click Boxes (includes Jump Boxes and Text Boxes) so you can Click and Drag or Click and Resize.

Persistent Click Here Cue: As requested by the community, pressing Tab in Preview or Present modes displays the “Click Here” cue persistently as you move from step to step until you press Tab again to remove it.

Show/Hide Click Bubble (Editor): As requested by the community, you can now show or hide the Click Here bubble while working in the Editor.

Capture “Glossy” Overlays: DemoMate now supports capturing the newer “glossy” overlays, being used for pop-up windows, hover states, sidebars, and application menus in advanced applications such as Visual Studio 2010.

The Need for Speed: As mentioned in our January Twitter post, we’ve launched numerous client- and server-side enhancements to optimize launch times, bandwidth, and memory management.

IPL Release (969): General updates.

Thanks to the Community for all of your ideas and input. We’ve worked hard to bring you these enhancements and we’re already well on our way to the next release.

Go forth and demo!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Working with Jump Boxes and Click Boxes

Each step in DemoMate requires you to have a Click Box in order to ensure that the user can click through the entire demo in a linear fashion. There are several ways you can approach having both click boxes and jump boxes on the same step:

  • You can have one of your buttons set as the “default” or preferred choice, and use the click box as the overlay on that button. Clicking on that button would then take the user to the next step or section in the demo. You can then place Jump Boxes on all the other buttons on that screenshot.

  • You can also simply minimize the size of the click box and drag it into a corner on the screenshot. You would still get a “Click Here” cue over the click box in this instance, so the first option might be the better choice if that is a concern. This approach is best when the sections you want to link to are further up or down in the demo navigation pane, and you don't necessarily want the demo presenter to advance to the very next step in the demo.

Introduction to Jump Boxes

By adding a jump box control to a demo step, you can provide some additional flexibility in demo navigation by allowing you to “jump” or “branch” to a different section in the demo. For example, you might have an introductory screenshot that allows the demo presenter to click on one of several choices, each of which jumps to a different section in the demo. The same approach could be used at the end of a demo section, to allow the presenter to choose where to go next in the demo.

In addition, jump boxes can also be used to embed hyperlinks to external content in your demo. This can be used to create a “For More Information” link at the end of a demo, or perhaps to link to a series of related documents that are hosted on a publicly-accessible web server.

To add a jump box to a demo step, click on the Add Jump Box button on the step controls. This will place a new jump box control on the current demo step. Multiple jump box controls can be placed on a single step. To customize the location of a jump box, expand the “Jump To” menu and select the demo section you want that jump box to point to. With the Jump To: menu open, you can also click the “Add New Address” button to type in a URL for the jump box.

Currently, Jump Boxes are only active in the Present / Preview modes for a demo. They will not be displayed in auto-play mode.