Cool Tools No.2: Soapbox
- a box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker.
- “a soapbox orator”a thing that provides an opportunity for someone to air their views publicly.
I think this second tool on our belt was probably inspired with the desire to let people get on their digital soapbox (see #2 in the definition above) and see their face and share their screen while they do it. Alas, we may be passionate about web development but we’re not quite ready to start preaching about it. We do, however, like to teach it.
Once a website is launched we like to create a training video for our clients showing they how to manage their website content. We are still here as support but it’s also nice to show how user-friendly WordPress is when it comes to making updates. Because our clients are around the world, a video works great and it also means that clients have something to reference as often as needed rather than attempting to remember what we talked about in a meeting.
Soapbox is the tool we use for these videos – we have even used them for internal training. It allows us to record our screen while we walk and talk-through whatever it is we are covering. I actually used it the other day to send in a support ticket to a vendor. It was easier for me to show them our issues while I experience them rather than try to write it out or send screenshots. Soapbox is great because, as a Chrome Extension, it records a selected desktop as well as recording from your webcam. With an in-browser video editor, you can switch from fullscreen recording from your desktop to your webcam (or external camera source). You can easily create a split-screen view and Soapbox has built-in transitions so you can switch your view type at any time throughout your editing.
We know there are tons other video recording tools out there that can accomplish this but we like Soapbox because of how easy it is to use and it’s free! It’s a Wistia company so it’s entirely web-based with online hosting for your videos. This means the file size is no longer a limiting factor because the video is accessible by a URL. We can send a URL with a thumbnail to a client and not have to wait for the video to upload to Google Drive or DropBox first. Wistia is doing a lot with this browser extension and we have found it works the best for us. Check it out and happy training!