Method for the creation of interactive software simulators
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-28
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Disclosed is a method for creating an interactive slideshow which simulates the functionality of a software application.
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Most software companies provide trial versions of their major software applications for a user to try out. However, there are many disadvantages to the demo system, both for the company and the end user. For the company, they must devote additional personnel and resources to creating and testing the demo version of their software. For the end user, they must accept a certain security risk, either by allowing a demo to install DLL files or other sensitive system files, by opening ports that the demo software needs to utilize, and simply trusting that the demo is not malicious. One of the main workarounds for this problem (basically the only solution on the market, with many derivatives) is the creation of a Flash* movie demo of a certain action or series of actions. It allows a user to follow a specific set of instructions to experience the software product without the installation requirement. The drawback to this solution is that it confines the user to a very specific series of actions. The Flash movie plays until a predefined pause point, at which time the user is instructed to click in a certain area, causing the movie to resume playback. There is virtually no freedom to really investigate the software. This solution aims to allow for a much more robust interactive demo, without the need for custom installations.
This solution is a software application capable of interacting with other software applications (via mouse movement and button presses, etc.), capturing screenshots, and manipulating a slideshow with customized hyperlinks. A software company is able to use this solution, the Simulation Creator, to autonomously evaluate a software product and create a PowerPoint** (or other similar software) slideshow rich with screenshots and hyperlinks. In this manner, an end user can download the presentation, and upon starting the slideshow, they will be presented with a screen capture of the software program they are demoing. They are then able to click on any interactive element that the Simulation Creator has evaluated and see the resulting screen capture representing the actual outcome of their action. The software company gains the advantage of being able to provide a much richer demo, as they can populate the software program with predefined conditions in order to simulate real usage. They also gain the ability to provide the end user with access to features that may have been a security risk in a standard demo setting. The end user gains the advantage of being able to experience a larger number of features without worrying about security exposures, installation complications, or general software usage issues.
The Simulation Creator would work as follows:
1) The Simulation Creator software is launched, and the desired program for demonstrating is selected and launched.
2) The user selects which elements of the demo program will be executed (e.g., by choosing to utilize the standard menu bar [File/Edit/etc.], or by highlighting...