Last update: 02/06/2016 13:53
Rule #1: Speak loud and clear + use a laser pointer device + use (software) magnifiers + rehearse: this helps the enforcement of all the other rules.
Rule #2: Expose your intentions : people do not see in your head, they don’t know what you want to demonstrate. Help them creating the visual images in their brains at the moment things are happening. Example: “I will now demonstrate the logon feature”.
Rule #3: State what you do: it is difficult for people to follow mouse movements, cursors, typing etc. from distance. Help them realizing what’s happening by giving them clues of what you do. Example: do not just click … state it clearly and loudly: “To log onto the system I therefore click on the 2nd button from the top of the screen, a button whose caption is ‘Login’” (notice the underscored wording) (use the laser pointer to make things even more obvious).
Rule #4: State where you are, on the screen and in the application : it is difficult for people to track mouse movements from distance (see rule #3). This is even worse when touch pointers are used as there are even no mouse drags for people to react to. Therefore make it clear for all people to realize where their eyes should focus on the screen (divide it in 4 quadrants: top-left / top-right / bottom-left / bottom-right). Example: “To log onto the system I therefore click on the 2nd button from the top of the screen, a button whose caption is ‘Login’ which is going to bring me to the second level of interaction: the logon dialog” (notice the underscored wording, we have both stated where to focus on the screen and where we're jumping to in the application).
Rule #5: Expose the expected result and make it visual if possible: with this rule, you make sure people can understand that the system is operating as per your expectations, negative or positive. This is especially important when you demonstrate negative cases so as not to fool the audience. Example: “I will attempt to logon into the system with a wrong password. The system will reject my attempt by showing a dialog whose background is red.” (you have exposed your intention, you have stated how the system should react, and you have made sure that the audience understands that the dialog is an intended “error”; you also gave a hint on the color of what is expected).
Rule #6: Defeat waiting time : some demo actions can take seconds to complete (not to say minutes). Have always something to say during these “waits” as to avoid disturbance amongst your audience. Waiting time is perceived as failure and it can jeopardize the perception of it.
Also, please remember rule #5 (expose expectation results). Example: “I will now save the newly created invoice by clicking on the save button located at the bottom / left of the screen (take some time and click). The system will enter in touch with the server to check whether this is permitted operation at this very moment (the system may be down for maintenance reasons or we have lost the connection with the server) and it can take some time for the invoice to be really saved. As soon as the invoice is saved, the server will respond with a 200 return code indicating that HTML all ran OK. As soon as this return code is received, the module will display a green background dialog” … have more to say, make a pun, have a joke ready, …
Rule #7: Repeat the questions : not all people are fluent in English. By repeating/rephrasing the question you ensure that the whole audience has understood the question so that they better value the answer that is given. It has also a side-effect: to give you more time to prepare your answer.
Rule #8: Use the potential where it is : with technical audiences, never forget that many people of the audience know the answer better than you. Use them if you can (this is called “boomerang the question”).