English 773: Demonstration tutorials

For this project, select tasks that users (particularly novice users) might have trouble understanding how to perform without the assistance of a video demonstration. You may select tasks from any commercial software application, freeware software application, or web-based application. Once you have selected what you want to document, use Adobe Captivate to create the necessary demonstrations.

In preparing for the assignment, use Microsoft Word to create a script that addresses the information you will cover and the steps you will perform in each demonstration. The script should also contain any narratation you will supply to the user. This narratation would be in addition to the typical Captivate caption boxes that document user interactions with the program. Your narratation should include your own voice. If you don't have access to a microphone, let me know, and I will allow you to substitute a high-quality text-to-speech voice (that is, Paul or Kate) for your own.

Once you have a script, practice with it several times to make sure you can perform the tasks fluidly before you begin recording and to ensure each part of the task is clear and deliberate. This approach will also help you avoid any awkward elements in the resulting video. For example, if you notice dialog boxes appear outside the recording area, you can move them into the recording area so they appear in the correct position when recording.

As you record your demonstrations in Captivate, try to keep your recording area confined to an application window and avoid recording the entire desktop, unless what you're recording involves user interaction with the desktop. Set your recording area at 1280×720 (aka YouTube Widescreen HD), and then snap the window to the recording area. If you record the entire desktop, you will need to change the monitor resolution to 1280×720. (Note: If you have a HiDPI display, you may receive an error message about needing to change an .ini file prior to recording. If you run into the issue, let me know, and I'll provide instructions.)

You should edit the demonstrations to make sure the content is timed so that users can easily follow the demonstrations and so that the slides result in a fluid, natural, watchable video. You also need to make sure any on-screen text adheres to Microsoft style.

You must produce at least 2 videos, but you may produce as many videos as needed for this project to equal a combined run time of at least 7 minutes. In addition, you will publish the demonstrations to YouTube, though you're welcome to set them to unlisted so that only the people with the URLs can access your videos.

On the due date, you will submit your scripts, your demonstration files in Captivate format, and the URLs for your YouTube video.