Using Video to Share Your Design Ideas

by Bryan Elkus

I was recently on a project that required a fair amount of remote design reviews. In this case, the designers were often asked to submit their designs digitally and did not have the luxury of presenting their work in person. The client would review the designs at a later time and get back to the designers with feedback. We had to rely heavily on text annotations to completely communicate our ideas and intentions. As you might imagine, a lot of information can be lost in translation when sketches or wireframes are not presented to a client in person.

I wanted to share a technique that helped me and the team alleviate some issues when designing from afar. By utilizing presentation software like PowerPoint or Keynote in conjunction with screen recoding program like Quicktime, we saw a lot of success with video screen captures for remote design reviews. It creates a simple yet engaging way to share ideas.

The Setup

I set up my screen recording using Mac OS X, Powerpoint and Quicktime. You can substitute the software as need be.

  1. Review the designs you’re going to discuss and figure out what you want to say. Take notes to be sure you cover everything. You don’t want to have to start over or edit the files.
  2. Gather all the design assets and place in a slide deck in powerpoint.
  3. Open Quicktime. Under the File menu, select New Screen Recording.

4. To the right of the Record button there is a drop-down. Click it.

5. Change input device on Quicktime to Built-in Mic. This will record the audio coming into your computer.

6. Push record.

7. Select the powerpoint window to record.

8. Start the recording.

9. In Powerpoint, run the slideshow.

10. Review each screen or concept in detail, by assuming the listener is unfamiliar with the topic.

11. Use the presentation tools to draw on the designs to highlight elements, think of it as moving your hands while talking. I find using the pen tool extremely helpful. I draw with it as I explain concepts by underlining what i’m talking about as I talk about it. It helps keep the viewer focused on the idea.

For an example, I took a screenshot of the Spin homepage and used the Pen tool to annotate elements on the page to simulate what you could see during a screen recording.

12. Stop Quicktime recording when you’re finished.

13. Export to an appropriate file size.

14. Upload the file to a Dropbox folder and send the client a link to the video and the slidedeck.

The Pros

  • It’s free-ish. I used Quicktime and PowerPoint, programs that were already on my computer.
  • It doesn’t take a lot of time to setup or record your videos.
  • Screen captures tone and expression. Verbal communication is lost when you only send images to a client.
  • This can also be a very useful process for your clients to use to send back their feedback.

The Cons

  • If you do a couple rounds of back and forth with these videos, it is quite possible, and likely, to get out of sync. Due to the potential delay in viewing and responding to videos, concepts can become confusing. If you feel at odds, it’s best to connect in person or at least via live video chat to regroup and start the process over again.

Screen recording is a simple yet powerful solution that’s worth a try. The next time you have to present ideas or get feedback from a client remotely, give it a chance!

Originally published on the Atomic Spin blog.

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