Product Demos on a Shoestring

Adding Director, Producer, and Editor to my Skills

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

This week at my internship, I was asked to create a product demo video ahead of our soft launch. It made sense, considering that I worked closest to the product aside from the developers (who had more than enough on their plate). One slight issue: I had never made a product demo before. How hard could it be though, I figured? I’ll just record my phone screen and talk about what I was doing. Spoiler alert: I was in for a short crash course in screenwriting, directing, and editing.

I started by writing out a list of the features to highlight and a script. But as anyone who’s tried to write a script for a presentation knows — what you write out on a script doesn’t necessarily come across as natural when you’re saying it out loud. Combined with actual actions on a screen, some lines needed to be improvised to match the pace of the action.

After I had a semi-finalized script, I ran into the need for some special effects. I was hoping that the video could somehow show where I was tapping on the screen — similar to how Figma prototypes show the movement of the mouse and taps using a translucent circle.

I thought about recreating the app screens I wanted to show right in Figma, but that proved to be far too tedious (considering I had 3 different videos to make). I did not have the original designed screens, only the test apps from the developers.

I searched tutorial after tutorial, article after article and it seems like there’s no easy way to show taps/touches on an iPhone screen while screen recording. There are methods to hack Assistive Touch features, but this particular method did not work well for me. It was limited to only showing taps, and didn’t allow for scrolling/dragging. There were other methods that involved adding code to the app itself, but I was definitely not going to explore that route considering I had a day to do this.

Alas, I settled for a simple screen recording where I tried to describe what/where I was tapping as much as I could, and moving at a pace that would allow viewers to absorb the information.

Next up: editing. I haven’t really edited videos for precision before, so I didn’t realize just how tedious it would be! I’m sure the seasoned pros have more efficient methods of going about it, but editing involved so much of hearing the same clip again and again that I grew very tired of my own voice. Editors of music and media, I have SO much respect for you.

While filming product demos aren’t strictly part of the typical UX “toolkit,” I thought this was still a really productive exercise for me as a designer. It pushed me to really think through how a user would interact with the product, and enabled me to look through a critical lens at the task flows.

Request for developers/designers/Apple: please make a feature to show taps/touches on iPhone screens!

UX Designer, eater, thinker