Useability for a Powerful Web Application

The toughest part of creating a powerful presentation tool like Swyzzle’s editor is that we want to make it easy to use. Each time we add a new capability, we question whether we just complicated the tool. New features are great, but add one more icon to the editor and it’s one more concept the user has to grasp. Yet many users are asking for these features. It’s a tough proposition for us. For example, Swyzzle’s most underutilized feature is it’s most powerful: You can include a product in a show and receive a “commission” from Swyzzle on any purchase of this product. Yes, we write checks and send them to you!

Anyone who is slightly digital savvy and creative can easily monetize a Swyzzle show by including Amazon products for sale. Exploiting Swyzzle’s features in this way can make you a lot of money with minimal effort. With a little imagination and some technical know-how, you can create an engaging show that can be embedded on any web page. The better the show, the more viewers, the more purchases, the larger the checks!

How do you do it?

First come up with a topic. It can be anything you want, but we’d suggest it’s something you’re knowledgeable or passionate about. That’s usually pretty easy. If you want to monetize your show, then you should think about the products you would recommend for that topic. Make sure you can find the product on Amazon by using Swyzzle’s search feature, no need to go to Amazon.com, it’s built in to Swyzzle’s show editor. (We’ll be adding other online stores as Swyzzle matures)

You’ve got a subject, now what?

You may want to storyboard your show, mapping out your show, as you would any presentation, like a slide show. Then, decide what type of media do you want to use. Does it exist or do you need to create it? Of course, you’ll have photos, art or logos. You may have the perfect sound bite or music that will enhance the show. You may have shot some video on your cellphone or your Flip video camera. Remember, you can run more than one video simultaneously in a Swyzzle show, this is what makes Swyzzle different from YouTube, Animoto, SlideShare or other Flash presentation tools. Well, that and the monetization part.

Next?

Get yourself a login on Swyzzle and you can create a show. So, there’s a lot of digital media sitting around your desktop. Gather it up (it helps if you put it all in one folder) and get on with uploading it. Once you’ve uploaded your media, you can drag it from your library into the show player. Then, you can move it around if you want, so it changes position as the show plays. Try, changing the timing for the media to appear, you may want a photo to appear for the entire show or you may only want it to show for 2 seconds. You can add links within your show that can be clicked at any time by your viewer. You can change the sound volume, so that music fades in or out. If you’ve got products to recommend from Amazon, you’ll just insert them as easily as adding a photo. These are just a few ways you can play around with the Swyzzle editor to see what it can do.

I’m done with my show

Once your done with your show, save it. It’s a good idea to use the
show keywords and descriptions vigorously so that people can find your
show. It’s easy to embed the show on your blog. Just create your embed tag (while logged in go to Share My Shows tab), make sure you’ve checked the Published flag, click the generate embed tag button and copy the tag to your clipboard. You may want to make a copy of the HTML before embedding your show, in case you want to revert back to your original page. Now, find where you want the show to be on your website and paste the whole tag into your website’s HTML. We said you have to be a little technically saavy, but this isn’t hard.

You don’t have to embed the show anywhere, you can simply make it published. You can invite people to see it on Swyzzle.com. You can send a link in your own email without using our invitation feature. If you’re recommending products, we think embedding is the best way to get the right people to watch your show, especially if you want to make money.

Lastly

I may have oversimplified this post, but I did it intentionally. It does take a little time to familiarize yourself with the Swyzzle editor. We have done our best to make it easy and we continually strive improve its useability, but Swyzzle is powerful and it is worthwhile to spend a little time playing with it.

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