How to record a side-by-side Skype conversation

For a recent project I am working on, I needed to figure out how to 1.) Record a Skype conversation, and 2.) Edit and produce the Skype conversation as a video so that the two pictures were side-by-side. Here is a summary of my research and a step-by-step breakdown of how to accomplish this…

IF YOU ARE USING WINDOWS

Download VodBurner. VodBurner is a Skype plugin that will allow you to record the Skype conversation and then edit it right in the program as well. VodBurner will allow you to create a side-by-side recording of the conversation and when you go to produce the video it even has a checkbox that will allow you to export just the audio separately if you want to make it available in addition to the video on your website.

IF YOU ARE USING A MAC

Download Ecamm’s Call Recorder and ScreenFlow. Ecamm is obviously used to record your call and ScreenFlow is used to edit it. Using these two pieces of software will allow you to produce a side-by-side recording.

Hopefully you find this post helpful and if you have any other software or ways to improve this process, please post it as a comment.

How to do usability testing of your website for cheap

Usability TestingToday I came across a great idea from Dan Shapiro on how he does usability testing for his website called SparkBuy. If you are a web developer, you know that usability of your website is one of the most important aspects in converting a visitor into a subscriber/member/customer. You only have a few seconds for that visitor to truly understand what your website does and what value you provide to them before they click the “back” button and you lose them forever.

WHAT USABILITY TOOLS ARE OUT THERE?

There are many usability testing tools out there today that allow you to see how a visitor is interacting on your website. A couple interesting, but expensive, services include ClickTale and UserTesting.com. ClickTale records the mouse movements of actual visitors on your website and then aggregates all the data to give you interesting statistics. If you are a subscriber of ClickTale, you can actually login and watch recordings of every Internet Explorer and Firefox visitor that has come to your website. ClickTale is an awesome technology, but the service starts at $99/mo for the cheapest package. Also, since visitors being recorded by ClickTale don’t actually know they are being recorded, there is not audio or feedback from the actual visitors.

UserTesting.comThe other interesting service in the usability testing space is UserTesting.com. UserTesting.com is a service where you pay $39 for a video recording of someone actually browsing your site and the user talks through what they see and experience as they are on your website. The one downside to using a service like UserTesting.com is that the users viewing your site may not be your typical user as these are people who are getting paid to provide this service, therefore there opinion can be bias.

SO HOW CAN YOU DO USABILITY TEST ON YOUR WEBSITE FOR CHEAP?

screencast-o-maticThe innovation solution that Dan Shapiro outlines is using a service called screencast-o-matic.com. Their basic version is FREE and their premium plan is a whopping $9/yr – yes, that is $9 per year, not month. Using this service you can then go out and recruit usability testers. Where can you find usability testers for cheap? Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. On Mechanical Turk, you should be able to find people willing to do a quick usability test of your website and record their screen and voice using screencast-o-matic, all for as cheap as $2-$5 per recording. Now how is that for cheap usability testing!

Get Dropbox to Backup, Sync and Share Files

If you have ever worked on a project from different computers then you know it can be a pain to have to remember to save your files to a USB drive and then remember to bring it with you.  Oh, and nevermind the trouble you go through if you lose your USB drive.  There is now a service called Dropbox that allows you to easily backup, sync, and share your files from PC-to-PC. I will let the video below explain how it works and then I will give you an example of how I have used Dropbox to make my life easier.

Pretty cool, huh? A very useful feature of Dropbox is that it allows you to share a folder with another user and your folder and files will automatically update in their Dropbox folder. This is extremely useful if you are working on a collaborative project with someone else. It makes file sharing very easy and efficient, so you don’t have to send files back and forth through email. Dropbox even saves previous revisions online. If you need a quick and easy file sharing and backup method then I highly suggest you check out Dropbox.