One of my most popular YouTube videos was a screencast I made about using NGPVAN’s MiniVAN software. When I worked at the Connecticut Democratic Party we had a lot of people who needed to understand how to use mobile software and did not want to read instructions and/or did not find the interface intuitive. The success of this video has made me realize that when it comes to communicating how to use software, a screencast can often be one of the best tools in the toolbox.
After realizing that I suggested that we make screencasts for a new application we are launching at work next week. I was not sure that people actually wanted me to make the screencasts so was a little surprised when I was asked if I could do them yesterday. Fortunately the best part of screencasts is they are easy to make. Apple’s Quicktime software has built in screen recording capabilities. It took me only a couple hours to do multiple takes and produce three screencasts that would be really useful for users of our software.
The not surprising thing is Apple has integrated a form of screen casting into their marketing for a while. If you look at some of their ads you can see they are teaching you how to do something new for your iPhone. These ads serve a dual purpose. The first is they teach existing users how to do something on their phone they did not know how to do. The second is they show people who do not have iPhones what they are missing. I wonder how many iPhone users tried making a slow motion video after seeing that ad.