is Fun But Works for Work

Skitch.comI may be a little late to the Skitch party, but I just had to try it out after coming across it last month. For anyone not yet in the know, Skitch is a Mac OS X-only image sharing application that does require that you download an application. Once you get it, Skitch makes the fact that you had to download yet another thing to your computer totally worthwhile. And I’m saying this after using the application for less than ten minutes. I’m already hooked and sold. (Skitch is free, by the way).

Skitch – and it’s Web-based, cross-platform counterpart – is positioned as a “fast and fun image sharing” tool. With its compact Mac app, Skitch makes it easy to take a snapshot of a Web page and share it with others in all the ways you might share an image.

What hit me the moment I watched the short video demo of the application was how incredibly useful could be for the Web development process.

Right away I can see how handy having Skitch at-the-ready for aspects of my Web work that heretofore required wrangling with PhotoShop (I’m not really a graphics person) to manipulate screenshots. Skitch could help me take, modify and send or post screenshots for:

  • making recommendations to new clients about their sites and modifications I’d recommend making;
  • pointing out elements of good Web design on other sites to my clients;
  • making comments about specific site design and development elements so my requests to my designers are unquestionably clear;
  • before and after images of client sites after my team conducts a redesign.

The Skitch app does more than take a screenshot. It also provides editing and markup tools to draw and type “on” the image without actually modifying or ruining the image itself.

The first snapshot I took was of the upcoming redesign for my personal Web site. I wanted to show my designer what text I needed to change. All I had to do was take the snapshot, select the text tool and type my message on top of the image and then use the box tool to draw a box around the text I was referencing.

When I made a mistake drawing the box around the text, I clicked on the eraser tool and was able to remove the box without affecting the snapshot in any way.

Media Egg
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

The next images I took were of the original home page and redesigned home page of one of my past clients. On the before shot, I added some text about a few of the key goals I had set forth for the project. The after shot showed the end result of the work from the team I put together along with my comments. These shots could work well on my new site redesign as an example of what I do, and they took less than five minutes to create.

LitSite Home Page-1
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!
LitSite Alaska-1-1
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

To get these images into this blog post, I used a built in share function on Skitch – the “Webpost” button. With this feature, I was able to grab the code quickly and easily to embed images here. And I had the option to share a link to my personal page on or provide a direct URL for a smaller or full sized image.

I can also choose to make my Skitch page Public, Secret – for only people who know the URL, or Private and password protected.

Every image I took while testing out the app was automatically saved into my Skitch account which is a great feature for someone like me who is so forgetful about everything including saving files. I could save a screenshot without sharing it but also choose to modify, share or delete any image later since they were all archived in my account. This feature will automatically give me a nice archive of screenshots as I take and send them to clients, colleagues or vendors so I’ll be able to track down any shot in the future.

While I see the immediate value of Skitch for my Web work, I can’t ignore the fact that it is really, really fun to use. Skitch is one of those apps that will seamlessly cross over from my life to my work and back again.

P.S. – I was able to get ahold of Cris Pearson, co-founder and CEO of plasq, creators of Skitch, and while he didn’t reveal anything earth-shattering, here’s what he had to say.

WWD: Why is the site still in Beta? Isn’t a year a really long time for beta testing?

Pearson: It is a long time. We have not been sure what route to take business model wise. There are many options. Paid VS free, Freemium (a free and a pro version) & subscriptions models are some of the ones we have been pondering. Down side is some customers don’t like to wait to find out pricing etc. Up side is you can experiment more and gather data while you decide.

WWD: When is the Windows version of Skitch going to be avail or is it even in the works? Last I saw it mentioned was March.

Pearson: A windows version is in the works, yes. I’ll stick to the ‘soon’ time frame 🙂

WWD: Anything else on the horizon for Skitch that would make it fresher and newsier?

Pearson: We plan to beef up the features over the next few months. A new dashboard like home screen is one feature we are working on.

We also are looking to add upload support for some other services.