July 17, 2007

Improv Presentation Application

Filed under: Portfolio — admin @ 5:18 pm

Presentation Mode Library Slideshow Splashscreen

This is an application I carried out from concept, design to development. I did have some help in the early stages from my good friend Dave Bowman. The software is intended to be used by Sales Technicians conducting proof of concepts at prospective customer sites. A proof of concept in enterprise software involves actually installing the software and taking screenshots which will be used in a future presentation.

Presentation! Why not use Powerpoint? The main finding that Sales Technicians discovered was that clients were more receptive (and likely to buy) when the presentation did not use Powerpoint. Possibly, not using Powerpoint is perceived as a high level of effort, and, thus signals a high quality of product. In addition, Powerpoint has a lot of features, most of which were not appropriate for this scenario. So, this is designed to be as simple as possible, removing any unnecessary features.

The application was created in Flash and uses Zinc to enable operating system level commands (e.g. “create a folder”, “rename directory”). Just like Powerpoint, a Sales Technician can use the same application to edit and present. As you can see, the edit mode is clearly denoted by the construction motif. The navigation on the left side allows for pages, directories, sub-directories, and so on… We conducted contextual research (i.e.actually watch people give presentations) and noticed that presenters and the audience wanted to go back to previous material or skip ahead. In other words, the preferred a non-linear format. That is not conducive to linear presentations, and hence the name Improv.

The application includes a library where all assets are managed. While typically screenshots are imported, any file type is allowed (e.g. Documents, Videos, Scripts, and, yes, Powerpoint files). A slideshow can be assembled from the image assets. Think of this as creating a playlist in iTunes. Then a slideshow (or other document) can be linked to a navigation item.

This is really the beginning of a vision that I have where off-line presentations, online ads, and online user-driven presentations are connected together, and lots of metrics are captured. I call it “Integrated Mechanisms for Presentations using Real-time Online Vehicles”. Okay, I admit it, that took me a bit to coerce that name into Improv. But it’s not terribly far off.

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