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Released trial version of ElectricVLab


#1

Quite a few folks (Andy, Clay_Nichols, Roel, SteveMcLeod : Thank you!) on the other thread about our ElectricVLab software suggested that it would be a good idea to have a trial version. We finally got around to creating and releasing a free trial version. It is now available for download here. In case any of you get around to trying it out, we would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you!


#2

Nice!

You buried the info about the length of the trial somewhat. I’d recommend a prominent button or link that says “Download free 7-day trial” on your home page, below the nav bar, above the first paragraph of copy. And then again, exactly the same text above the footer, below your final demo video.

You don’t want your website visitors ever having to think or puzzle out what to do next.


#3

Free Tours = free usability tests

I have had really good experiences with offering a free tour of our software.
(We’ve been profitably selling this software for 20 years, and I still found things in these Tours, which can easily make the software much easier to use).

There is NO replacement for watching a user use your software.
Think of the user as a test (with $$ as the grade). Watching the user user it is essentially getting a peek at the test.


#4

Also, have you considered giving out a few free licenses in exchange for feedback (or the Tour I mentioned above)?


#5

Yes, I would certainly do that. The challenge is getting the right people.


#6

I’m an electrical engineer by training (but now I run a software company), but I don’t build much in the way of electronics these days. BUT… I have a friend (software engineer) who does build some stuff.

I’d be willing to spend 10 or 20 minutes looking at it. He might also be willing to do the same.

I highly recommend that you do some sort of screen share like Teamviewer (I could also just record my screen, BUT you might want to ask me questions WHILE I’m looking at it).

Let me know if you’re interested in me or my friend (Jim). I’d do it for a free license and he probably would to.

Also, I highly recommend reading Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug (and/or watch his talks on Youtube), especially “how to do a quick usability study”.
I’ve done lots of them and it helps to have a script and a scenario for the user.

BTW, have you considered selling (perhaps just as an affiliate) electronics kits?
Or Blogging about easy & fun to build stuff?
Seems like a nice compliment to your software.

There is certainly a resurgence in hobbyist electronics with Arduino and such (that’s what Jim works with).

-Clay


#7

@Clay_Nichols:

Great… Let me continue the discussion with you via private message.

There is certainly a resurgence in hobbyist electronics with Arduino and such (that’s what Jim works with).

Interesting that you mentioned Arduino. One of the unique features of ElectricVLab is that it allows the virtual circuits built in ElectricVLab to interact with the physical Arduino boards over the USB. This opens up a lot of potential uses for Arduino hobbyists. For example, one can use the virtual oscilloscope of ElectricVLab to view the signals on the physical board. One can use the virtual circuits to provide control inputs to the Arduino board. This blog article goes over these in a bit more detail.

On a kind of related side note: There is a potentially interesting opportunity that has been in my mind for a while but haven’t yet been able to execute upon due to lack of time. So, I am looking for potential collaborators for this. This would require someone skilled at teaching programming and is a good writer. Interest in Arduino and electronics would be additional plus points. Here it is in a nutshell (I can go into details offline with interested people). A lot of people start using Arduino without much programming background or even electronics background for that matter. One can write a “book” to teach them programming and some electronics using ElectricVLab as a vehicle. It helps to provide good visual feedback about the workings of a program and interact with it when one is learning to code. ElectricVLab can serve that role well in a way that can appeal to Arduino hobbyists.


#8

In my limited, local experience (and reading blogs) it seems Adafruit (makers of Arduino, IIRC) are the new radio shack.

the challenge here is figuring out market demand. IF you KNEW that you could advertise a course you described above and get subscribers at $10 each and sell it for $20 then you just do the math ($1,000 to create course, we’d need to spend $1000 on advertising and make $2000, paying for all of it.)

So, the trick is to evaluate the market.

How much time are you willing to put into this side project?
(There are lots of things you might be able to do like blogging about how to use your software on some project, visiting forums on the Arduino (or starting one)

-Clay