How Jing Can Benefit Technical Writers

JingJing, a new project by TechSmith, is a tool that allows you to quickly capture video or an image from your computer and share it with others, such as project team members or customers.

After you capture images or video with Jing, you click a Share button to quickly upload the capture to a web host, file directory (e.g., SharePoint), or Flickr. Within seconds Jing gives you a URL to share with others. Jing is a cool, easy-to-use tool, and it can have a big impact on IT project teams in the areas of technical support, quality assurance, and development.

To demonstrate Jing, here’s a quick example. Let’s say you’re documenting a project and you suddenly have an idea to enhance the usability. But you know how developers hate to read long explanations when they could watch a movie instead, so you Jing it.

http://idratherbewriting.com/jing/2008-02-08_2225.swf

Or let’s say that you also provide support for the applications you document, and someone sends you an email asking how to do a task. Instead of writing out a long, tedious procedure, just create a quick jing.

http://idratherbewriting.com/jing/2008-02-08_2310.swf

Or suppose you’re documenting an application when you notice a bug, but it’s kind of hard to explain, and someone really just needs to see it. You can’t call over the entire team, but you can create a quick Jing and send it to everyone.

http://idratherbewriting.com/jing/2008-02-08_2319.swf

It’s often easier to create a jing than to compose an email.

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By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for a gamification company called Badgeville in the Silicon Valley area in California. I'm primarily interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication (video tutorials, illustrations), findability (organization, information architecture), content development (DITA, testing), API documentation (code examples, programming), web publishing (web platforms, Web design) -- pretty much everything related to technical writing. If you're trying to keep up to date about the field of technical communication, subscribe to my blog either by RSS or by email. To learn more about me, see my About page. You can also contact me if you have questions.

13 thoughts on “How Jing Can Benefit Technical Writers

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  2. Troy

    I certainly understand the usefulness of Jing. Having worked on various projects with Fortune 1000 companies, I can tell you that managers absolutely don’t want anything offsite (or at least not under their direct control). So Jing may be most useful for freelance or virtual teams, but I don’t see Jing taking off in the enterprise environment.

  3. Tom

    Thanks for the comment. Did you know that you can set Jing’s sharing location to a local SharePoint site behind your corporate firewall? You don’t have to publish to screencast.com, nor to your own web host. Many corporations have SharePoint as their project/dept. platform. Open up a document library and get the file path. Then in Jing, go to the More ball, click Preferences, and configure your file path locations to your SharePOint directory.

    I’m going to publish a screencast that shows this process. Where the content is shared is a huge concern for me too. Does this change your thoughts any?

  4. Carl Parker (Microsoft)

    Why would someone use Jing rather than the other TechSmith products: Snag-It or Camtasia?

  5. Tom

    It’s a lot faster to capture and share (maybe 1/5 the time). Additionally, there’s no rendering time for videos.

    I think Jing would be most useful for an entire project team, so the usability curve has to be right on target. Once you set up the preferences section for the sharing upload, there is almost no learning curve for the video capture, but there is with Camtasia Studio.

    However, if you’re creating video tutorials, you definitely want to use Camtasia Studio rather than Jing. Jing is more for content that is included in emails, IM, or bug databases.

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