Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Comparing Webinars

I recently had cause to evaluate two products with very similar feature sets.  For both of them, I attended a webinar.

The first product's webinar was a very power-point oriented presentation.  There were about a hundred slides, with animations, bulleted lists, and the typical things you usually see in a powerpoint.  The content was well organized into topics and subtopics, and the flow was obviously very well thought through and rehearsed.  It was very much from a benefit-to-business point of view, though we did get lots of its of features.  Even though the styling of the slides was frankly ugly, hearkening back to about 1998 (would have been ugly then), I found this webinar to be fairly compelling throughout.

The second product's webinar was a live demo of their software.  It was very much driven by examining features one at a time, with less focus on the needs behind the feature.  It was like a drawn out inventory of their capabilities.  The first half was nearly drudgery as we went through each screen line by line.  But the second half, I was shown a customized version of the software, complete with logos and even some halfway decent simulations of what our data might look like.  This I found very compelling.  It was more than a superficial mockup-- the processes I was shown reflected the fact that they had thought through my specific business needs.

So, if I were designing a presentation for either of them, I might condense the business/powerpoint-y version of the first to be about half as long, and then do a custom mockup for the second half.  This would have been the perfect presentation.

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