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Basically, they can play around with the app, to get a feel for it in a advance. The target audience is business owners who may or may not (likely not) be technologically inclined.

Demo implies that they might just be watching something (a demonstration).

Interactive Demo feels like it might be a bit too techie for the crowd.

Test can imply that the app is in beta and we're asking them to test it.

Test Drive sounds a little too informal and I don't much like it, but so far seems to be the least problematic choice.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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"interactive online demo" ;) – Neil McGuigan Sep 29 '11 at 17:47
Most users do not read. Just make sure that the demo's interactivity is easy to discover. – Emil Oct 5 '11 at 20:00
up vote 20 down vote accepted

"Try it yourself" sounds like a phrase that could fit your bill. "Try it", "Try yourself" could also be used, or "it" could be replaced by the name of the app.

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As "it" is such a short word you could have "Try it for yourself" and not break the length limit :) – ChrisF Sep 29 '11 at 12:55
Or variants using a noun: trial e.g. Body text: .. A free trial account ... Button text: try it now – tardate Sep 29 '11 at 16:41
Why not just 'Try Demo'? – Virtuosi Media Oct 5 '11 at 18:56

Why 2-3 words? Sacrificing clarity for the sake of brevity is rarely a good idea.

Ask your customers which is clearer to them. It's not going to be a lot of work and you will get real data to base your decision on.

That said, I would opt for test drive as it seems the clearest to me. Generally informal software that speaks more like a human is more usable, so if it comes across as informal, then great!

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Because your users are not primarily technical, avoiding any techie description is important ( and because they are senior business people, it can make them feel uncomfortable, and so start them off with a negative perspective ).

Personally, I like test drive. They will be used to the concept, and ( if they regularly buy new cars ) will probably be excited by the prospect. TBH, if they are male, it will probably appeal!

So a) go with a totally non-techie term and b) make it sound like the experience will be enjoyable.

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Here we often use "prototype" or "preview". Both terms are routinely used in non-technical contexts and have been received very well around my office. You can throw in "interactive" in there for good measure.

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How about use what the software industry already use... Beta

Even then you could be more specific; public beta, open beta, closed beta, beta release etc

or instead how about preview, prototype, technical preview

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I can think of a lot of users, and even some technical people, who would be confused by seeing the technical term "beta" being used in this context. I think other posters are right in saying the best choices in this instance are non-technical. – gef05 Sep 29 '11 at 13:15
Also, "Beta" to me does not imply "demo"; rather, it makes a statement about the readiness of the application for release into the market—whatever the scope or limit of its functionality may be. – Evan Sep 29 '11 at 16:56

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