Present in Style with Showcase Workshop

Tablets are being used in all industries for a variety of well-deserved reasons, including in consumer-facing businesses which can utilise the interactivity that a tablet could provide to present information to customers. However, the expense of time, money and resources has always been set fairly high, perhaps high enough to push businesses away from the idea or to simply block them off from being able to even think about doing so.

That’s where Showcase Workshop comes in, a web app all about creating interactive presentations and then distributing them amongst your organisation. Let’s take a look.

Getting Started

When first signing up to the service, you’ll be walked through a helpful tutorial that details the stages necessary to begin. This includes downloading the Showcase app for either iOS or Android, a free app on either marketplace, which you’ll then need to log into. After that’s all setup, Showcase will offer a brief overview of the interface of the web app before launching you into the app itself.

Helpfully, Showcase Workshop comes with an example showcase that you can play about with to get a feel of how things work, and it’s downloadable to your tablet to try out live too. You can try out editing some of the features of this example document, such as changing the background or the targets of buttons, and see how they work on your live, touch-enabled copy.

When you want to give a shot at creating your own, fresh showcase, you’ll need to choose a name, an orientation (with varying choices of portrait and landscape for iPad and landscape for Android) and a basic layout for how the elements of your showcase will be positioned on your homescreen. Then, it’s just a matter of diving in and adding your content.

Easy Editing

If you selected a layout during setup, some blank placeholders will conveniently set the scene for your first edits to your homescreen, which serves as a portal to all other content in your presentation. Manipulating these placeholders into something useful is very easy, and filling them with images or text is done in an easy and intuitive way that’s not unlike most other web app’s handling of media uploads. The only criticism one could posess for this process is simply that, the process, which can leave you waiting a while for your uploaded media to be available to use. This is rarely longer than about 20-30 seconds, but is still significantly above what might be expected.

You can upload media straight from your PC or easily connect to services like Dropbox, Box and Facebook to grab images, a welcome set of options.

Adding images is a straightforward process, albeit one that can leave you waiting at times.

Adding images is a straightforward process, albeit one that can leave you waiting at times.

When you’ve setup your buttons on a page, they can be linked to a variety of media types, including video and webpages by simply selecting the button and choosing to add content, uploading or otherwise defining when needed. Webpages are a particularly useful option, allowing you to direct users to a product detail page, for example, opening in the presentation without any of the browser UI and with a persistent back button overlayed. You can even PIN protect certain buttons and content, which is super useful if you want to keep certain bits of content either private or only used in conjunction with a member of staff if used as an unattended kiosk.

Linking content is surprisingly simple.

Linking content is surprisingly simple.

When you’re ready to publish your workshop, it’s as simple as hitting the publish button and then selecting who has access to it (we’ll get onto that in a moment). Once published, it’ll become available for download on your tablet app and will have magically converted into a useable, touch-enabled presentation.

Simple Showcasing

The end products are fantastic considering the little time needed to create them, and Showcase Workshop provides an insanely better alternative to acquiring the skill, time and resources to actually developing a native app for the same purpose. Even when used only as a portal to multiple webpages, it still provides a really intuitive experience for the user that allows them to be guided without having to worry about the separate navigation and UIs of a browser or video player.

The end product offers a fantastic end user experience, and features like PIN protection work excellently.

The end product offers a fantastic end user experience, and features like PIN protection work excellently.

In the tablet app, you can choose to enabled a Kiosk Mode which removes the option to quit out of a particular showcase without restarting that app. When combined with a feature liked Guided Access in iOS, this becomes a viable option of using your showcase without fear that customers will quit out of the presentation accidentally.

Delegated Delivery

Showcase Workshop is all about being delivered on a wide scale, but it can become necessary to limit access to some of your showcases to certain people or offices, or to provide different versions to different people.

Once you’ve invited users to your workspace, upon publishing the showcase, you’ll be given the option of selecting who will be given access to it. Those who are selected will then see the showcase become available in their native Android or iOS app. Those who don’t, won’t. This is a great feature which can avoid confusion as you attempt to manage multiple showcases, especially when person, product or location-specific information is concerned. It’s all managed in a way that is ultimately as simple as checking a few boxes, which is excellent and contributes to the overall ease of use that the service can boast about.

Managing showcases, including pushing out changes, is a breeze!

Managing showcases, including pushing out changes, is a breeze!

You’ll need to have a paid subscription active to invite additional people, however, with users charged at $15/month each.

Final Thoughts

All together, Showcase Workshop provides a powerful set of tools that can let any business with access to the supporting tablet hardware keep in touch with the benefits of using such technology. For an end product of this quality that most would have to develop natively for, at high cost of both time and money, Showcase Workshop is shockingly easy and straightforward.


Summary

Showcase Workshop is a powerful app that allows users to create interactive, kiosk-style presentations.

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