I was at the Technical Communication UK (TCUK) conference near Oxford last week. One of the sessions that interested me most was a case study on using video demonstrations in software user assistance. By “videos”, the presenter meant screencasts rather than live action.
What was interesting and distinctive about the solution was that, even though it demonstrated a series of steps through a task, it contained no mouse movement or animated typing effects. Instead it showed a series of static screenshots, each of which showed the result of completing each step, with simple animations highlighting particular fields and areas of the screen. A voiceover narration described the sequence of actions required. A conscious decision not to include mouse movement and typing had been made because it was deemed that the audience did not need to be shown either how to move their mouse around or how to type text.