Helping Clients with GIFs

This is not a tutorial; it’s better described as a tip.

Three to four times a week, we find ourselves creating GIFs that illustrate a certain point or teach our clients how to do something. Client education, in this format is often faster than writing out instructions or even recording an actual video.

You can see the exact type of GIFs we create in action in this plugin tutorial, I'm using a GIF to illustrate how a complex field works.

It's a tip we picked up a few years ago from The UX Newsletter by MailChimp (a fantastic read, by the way). They wrote in one of the newsletter issues about how they created the animated images on the website: with a very simple tool called LICEcap.

LICEcap is a fantastic tool. It's incredibly simple to use, with just enough features to make it useful but not super intense.

This is an actual GIF we created over at Wanderoak for a real project, showing our client how to access Excerpts on the post edit screen.
This is an actual GIF we created over at Wanderoak for a real project, showing our client how to access Excerpts on the post edit screen.


Over at Wanderoak, we already use QuickTime to create screencast tutorials for clients the end of every project. But sometimes you need to answer a question or explain something which is easier to show than it is to explain with words.

Creating a screencast means an unnecessarily big file usually; which is why we started using GIFs. They're quick to make, tiny in size, and can be embedded in chat messages, emails, Basecamp, or anything else you might use to communicate with your clients. We even use it to illustrate things within our company, sometimes.

Another super easy to use screencast tool is Kap. Kap lives in your menubar, and makes it super easy to create gif or mp4 files. It's a tool I've only just started using, but I like that you can make videos OR GIFS.

And that's it! This little tip has made client education a lot easier and faster in many situations for us and I can't begin to describe how time-saving it is. So it was time to pass it on, because it might be helpful for you too.