Intusoft Uses Multimedia Movies to Teach

Dateline -- August 30, 1997-- Intusoft announced this month...

Intusoft, makers of the popular IsSpice4 program, have integrated multimedia movies into their analog and mixed-signal simulation tools. The movies, created with Lotus ScreenCam(TM), cover everything from how to capture a schematic, to how to perform circuit simulations and create new SPICE models. The content of the movies, and how they are accessed, marks a departure of a movie’s traditional use solely as a sales vehicle.

"Movies are effective because they not only show you exactly what to do, but because they tell you what to do at the same time”, states Intusoft Vice President, Charles Hymowitz. “It’s as if a technical support person is actually right there with you.” The sound and video combination results in a powerful timesaving teaching tool. “Development of the movies actually progressed naturally. We took the top 25 questions that engineers ask our technical support department, and made a movie describing the answer to each one. Technical support calls have dropped dramatically and the user response has been overwhelming.”

"Users find that movies dramatically reduce the learning curve. When they want to find out how to perform a particular function that has several steps, they just click a button in the on-line help and the movie shows them just what to do to accomplish the task.”

While using movies to sell software is not new, use of the technology has been very limited for teaching purposes. With the advent of Lotus ScreenCam, it is possible to produce movies that are very compact. Lotus provides a free player for Windows 3.1x, 95, and NT. It is possible to fit a 5 minute movie in 1-2 megabytes. More importantly, most frequently asked questions can be answered in less than 1 minute with a movie using less than 600kbytes. This size allows new movies to be posted on a web site for downloading.

The movies are included in Intusoft’s analog and mixed-signal simulation tools, ICAP/4Windows, ICAP for OrCAD, Protel, and Viewlogic, and their latest Test Designer software for TPS design.


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