Screencasting – the killer app for remote work

Here at Glass Mountains, our 10+ team have been working remotely in a digitally distributed environment for 10 years now. We’ve learnt the hard way what works, and what doesn’t!

Furthermore, for over 5 years, we have worked on large scale website design & support projects for remote clients in the US; which has further taught us about what helps with distance work.

Whilst there are lots of learnings on the subject of the remote delivery experience, the one killer app I want to talk about today is screencasting.

What is screencasting?

Screencasting is the process of recording a short video of what is on your computer screen (plus audio) and sharing that video with a group of people to help describe a problem or provide feedback. The screencast does not need to be of high production value, it can exist purely to help communicate.

The clue is in the title but screencasting is all about recording your screen.

Here is an example of a screencast using our preferred tool, Loom:

On a screencast:

  • You can hear what I’m saying
  • You can see my mouse move as I navigate around
  • You can also see a video of the person recording it*

(*Too early on a Sunday morning for me to scare you with that sight though!).

Best of all, though, this is super easy to do. Really easy!

Using Loom

I wonder what is the best of describing how to use Loom?

….perhaps a screencast? 😉

…see, it is that easy.

Use Cases

Here are some examples of when we use screencasting.

Presenting Artwork

If we are sending the client mockups of how something can look (e.g. presenting a new homepage design), we don’t just simply send the design & hope for the best. No, we’ll also send a screencast where we talk through the reasoning and rationale behind decisions that have been made. This allows for a much richer communication experience which means when we next jump on a call with the client (in this case, to discuss design feedback), we are both much more aligned, and we can make better use of the meeting time.

Solving Problems

Sometimes a person from the client’s team will email us about an issue they are having on the website.

Aside from fixing the issue, if this is something the client could have done themselves, then we’ll record a screencast of what they need to do.

Documentation

A key part of our role is explaining to clients how to operate elements of their website: this could be as trivial as how to change the button text on the homepage, or as complex as how to change the shipping rules in their e-commerce system. In either case, we will record a Loom screencast to show the client what they need to do.

Where a screencast can help the whole client’s team – we add the recorded video into a private documentation section located within the client’s website. Then, if the client hits the issue again, they can easily find the answer.

The Benefits

A killer benefit of screencasts is the time saved.

They literally take only minutes to record.

And if you compare that to the amount of time it would take you to write a carefully structured ‘how to‘ email, the time saving is colossal.

Back and forth emails caused by people not understanding each other is not only wasting time, but it can also be hugely frustrating. Where a screencast can help, do so.

Happy screencasting!

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