One of the biggest challenges a web developer has is getting their work to render the same or at least presentable in all the major browsers and devices. To able to fix a specific browser or device “bug” it is critical to be able to see it. Even in the “agency” / “end client” relationship it should be established that screenshots are a requirement within the initial contract. This will save both parties both time and aggravation. It takes me 10 minutes or less to train a “retail client” how to use a screencast and video tool prior to the start of development. I use the word “annotated” as flat screenshot without notes and arrows in many cases does not always provide the indication to the exact issue.
Establishing the Importance of Screenshots Up Front
It is important to make it very clear that screenshots are not being asked for to make life more difficult for your client and the benefits outweigh the time investment. There is always an apprehension to using new tools and technologies. The less technical the client, the harder it will be convince them that they will be capable of using new tools / software. Letting your clients know the more involved they in the process of giving feedback for their web site, the better the end product will be.
Best Screenshot / Videocasting Tools for Desktops / Laptops
With the number of browsers out there and as dynamic as the web has gotten, I have added video casting to part what I require my client to send upon request. Most of the major tools will support both. My default recommendation for retail client is Jing, which is made by TechSmith. TechSmith is the leader in video casting and screenshot tools for the past 30 years. I personally use SnagIt which is another tool made by TechSmith. The major advantage for me of using SnagIt which is paid VS. Jing which is free is being able to save videos to a MP4 format.
Another great tools is Awesome Screenshot. I use this in conjunction with SnagIt for my day to day needs. Awesome Screenshot runs as a browser extension and is available from Chrome, Mozilla and Safari. The advantage of Awesome Screenshot is the ease to capture the full view of a page even as it runs off the view of a monitor. I view this tool as a solid alternative to any of the TechSmith products.
Best Screenshot / Videocasting Tools for Mobile
With the number of devices that are out in the market place, it is important to create a plan to deal with getting screenshots and possibly videocasts for the developer. For screenshots what I do is take the screenshot on my phone / tablet and it automatically uploads to dropbox. If I think it needs to be marked up for clarification I will use the SnagIt tool on my desktop or laptop. For videocasting there are a few tools that I recommend based on the device type. For IOS / Apple, I have been using the paid version of Pro Editor I found it to be easy enough to use to be able to make a video on my phone to transfer back to my desktop / laptop. For Android devices I recommend DU Recorder.