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#1 The Architect 2.0  Icon User is offline

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Using an iPad/tablet as a Screen for Demos

Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:52 AM

Traditionally, when presenting a demo, I (being the presenter) would sit next to or across the desk from my client (usually just a single person, maybe two, but no more than that).

We would share my laptop screen and as I tried to highlight important UX aspects of the web application, I would awkwardly have to point with my finger or use the mouse to direct the viewer's attention. This setup is only made worse when I have to actually input data. In that case, I have to shift the keyboard and monitor away from the viewer. This is distracting at the very least.

I've been considering getting a tablet and VNCing into the laptop so the client will have their own screen to look at. Meanwhile, I can use my laptop ergonomically without slowing down the pace of the presentation. If the user wants to try out the application themself, I can easily switch devices with him/her and guide them through the software.

So, why have a tablet instead of another laptop/netbook?:

1. It takes up less deskspace; sometimes Starbuck tables are especially tiny. Even at the client's office, I don't think it makes a good impression when you make them 'work' to clear off the desk to get some space for YOUR presentation.

2. I've noticed some users aren't especially comfortable using touchpads. Having a portable mouse requires space, setup time, and the batteries introduce another potential 'oops' moment.

3. It makes me look more successful/modern/credible/sophisticated/interesting. I can't be entirely sure on this, but I have an inkling that a tablet is 'awesome-looking' enough to sub-consciously make a good impression.

4. It's easier for me to carry a laptop and a tablet around rather than two laptops, or even a laptop/netbook combo.


Have any of you guys used tablets as part of your presentations? How did you like this setup?

If you have any other related thoughts, please share.

This post has been edited by The Architect 2.0: 14 March 2012 - 06:53 AM


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Replies To: Using an iPad/tablet as a Screen for Demos

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Using an iPad/tablet as a Screen for Demos

Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:03 AM

iPad and an app called "Air Display" make a wonderful combination.
The iPad can be a second screen for your computer, either cloning the first monitor or as an extended desktop - via WiFi.

Optionally the iPad being a touch device can BE an input source. So you can tell the customer "tap here", and then use your laptop mouse to circle the button you want them to tap. It becomes shared interaction. Getting the customer actively involved makes more of an impact than passively watching.

Just realize that the iPad is a fixed resolution. You might want to make sure your presentation is bold and large enough to still make an impact on that hi-res screen.

I love my iPad. I can do the same type of presentation you describe. Or have a second monitor for my laptop when coding on-the-road. Use it as a VNC client at client sites and save myself a ton of running around. Absolute best GPS when in a different city. All my site documentation. A dozen coding reference text books. A few novels, movies and music. I could go on and on. My laptop is *just* for Visual Studio at this point.

Usually when I go to client sites I take black tactical pants (SWAT pants) as my slacks because the leg cargo pocket fits my iPad.
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#3 Choscura  Icon User is offline

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Re: Using an iPad/tablet as a Screen for Demos

Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:02 AM

We (my family) have just gotten an iPad2, and it's very useful for presenting things. In the majority of cases when we have to present something for the family business, we just bring in an actual sample bottle of whatever wine/beer/hard alcohol we think the customer will be interested in, give them notes, but we've been slowly compiling a collection tasting notes, pictures of bottles (and label closeups) and so on. We've used the same thing before in printouts, with some success (although some details go wrong- metalic foils look flat in photographs, for instance, so a 100-dollar bottle of champagne with gold leaf ends up looking cheap and plastic), and so the next step is to get all of these put together and in a coherent visual form and on the iPad, maybe in the iBooks app, if I can't find time to make my own 'wine presentation' app.

Beyond this, the iPad is just one of those standard things that everybody is going to have somehow. I'm not saying apple is going to take over the world (and I hope they don't, they have a lot of bad business practices, Steve Jobs was an absolute prick, I think they're going to be eaten alive - again - in the next few years) (and I fully appreciate the irony of writing this on a MacBook), but if you have one- or any other kind of tablet- to loan to clients, that not only demos your project/product/etc, it doesn't just make you look professional, it makes you look generous. And affected or not, that's a good position to be in.
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#4 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Using an iPad/tablet as a Screen for Demos

Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:59 AM

I was watching BBC Channel 4's "The Home of the Future, part 1" where they took a family's home, gutted it to the timbers, and rebuilt it with 250,000 pounds* worth of every imaginable tech, toy and goodie as predicted to be in homes in 10-20 years. Robot lawn mower. Leaf electric car. Soil-free gardens. Interactive bathroom mirrors. Sleep monitoring alarm clocks. You name it.

I noticed several instances of iPads installed in walls and even the 'fridge with smart home apps, communal calendering, shared shopping lists, status checking the house power generator and light statuses etc. And using them to remote monitor the house via the 'net.

I'm not saying iPad kill all other tablets. Other devices are good too. But for whatever reason the iPhone and iPad seem to be the technology leader and device of choice for such things. You tend to see iPhone integration in cars, not Zunes. If you go to Target or WalMart you see a dozen iPhone ready alarm clocks.

I'm not debating the right or wrong, whether or not its the best or most powerful device for the task. I'm just acknowledging that they have that x factor for being chosen and adopted by society more than their competition.


*British pounds currency. Not US pounds in weight


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