When you decided to set up your Shopify store, you probably didn’t do it planning to become a web development expert. You had a cool idea, knew it would sell, and wanted to get moving!
But, if you’re like the hundreds of stores we work with, you soon realize that you need a little development know-how to really take your store to the next level.
Unfortunately, working with developers can often cause a lot of headaches, particularly if you’re hiring from platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. You know exactly what you want… but explaining it concisely and having the developer actually bring it to life can end up taking more time than it would have taken for you to learn to code yourself!
When working with people online, it’s often much more effective to show them what you mean, rather than trying to tell them. That’s why we always recommend using these three simple tools.
They make it much easier to communicate exactly what you mean, without having to go back and forth explaining everything, or having to worry about ending up with a costly, time-consuming project with lots of revisions and corrections because the developer didn’t understand exactly what you wanted.
These are our favorites – we’ve used them for hundreds of projects and even use them internally so that we’re always 100% clear on the goal of each task.
1. Camtasia Video
Camtasia is great for recording screencasts – live video recordings of your screen. It also records sound, so if you have something you need to explain, you can just talk along with what you’re doing on the screen. You can also edit it, so if you make a mistake 20 minutes into a video, you don’t have to start again! You can cut out the mistakes, and piece together multiple recordings with a few clicks.
It’s really simple to use, and once you’ve got your recording, you can just upload it to Dropbox, then send it to your team or web developer. It’s available for both Windows and Mac, and there’s a great video tutorial here that walks you through every part of Camtasia so you can get the most out of the tool every time you use it:
2. Skitch Screenshots & Annotations
Skitch was developed as an Evernote integration and works across all operating platforms. It allows you to take great screenshots, then annotates them and add arrows and text so you can be extremely specific about what you’re communicating. This tool saves me hours and hours on every project, because I can point to exactly what I’m thinking about, and add instructions or feedback right there at the site of the issue. It cuts out those infuriating email chains or message threads trying to clarify some detail about a design or function that can be addressed immediately in visual form.
Here’s an example from a recent blog post on setting up custom invoices:
3. Balsamiq Mockups
If you have a pretty clear idea of how you want a page or feature to look, creating a mock-up (also known as a wireframe) allows you to quickly and accurately outline it for your developer or team.
Balsamiq is my favorite tool for this. It’s really easy to use, works on all platforms, and can be used to create wireframes that work on all devices. It lets you create an accurate outline but stops you wasting time creating ‘pixel-perfect’ iterations, which is perfect for first-round mockups, getting estimates, showing features, and so on.
It basically models the experience of drawing on a whiteboard, while you’re on your computer, so it’s natural and easy to use for any kind of project. Here are some examples of Balsamiq (as you can see, you can use it for web pages, mobile devices, presentations and more):
These tools really help us here at Shopify Ninjas to work more smoothly and efficiently on all the projects we take on (and you can see some of the finished products that have benefited from these tools here). If you want to save yourself time, stress, and money, I strongly recommend adding these three simple tools to your workflow.
Thank you for showing interest in our Shopify Insider Blog @ Blackbelt Commerce. We invite you to check out our products and other recommended blog articles on What We Learned From Our Rebrand and New Website. how to build a seductive website, how to use videos for easier web development project.— We are Blackbelt Commerce, a TOP Shopify & BigCommerce developer.
Have you got tools you use to make working with web developers really easy? Or have questions about any of these tools? Add them to the comments!
What are the top Shopify stores doing?
Take what we've learned and use it to your advantage.
Get our exclusive research: Insights from over 500 Shopify Stores.