We’ve all experienced the frustration of collaborating with someone or trying to communicate over the Internet without any sort of visual support. To better explain your visual ideas, you can take screenshots and add indicators so that other people know exactly what you are talking about, but this process can get time consuming and annoying if you do it a lot.
The app that we are reviewing today is called Clarify, and it can help you create documents by capturing and modifying screenshots. Let’s take a look!
Clarify is an app designed to help you quickly take screenshots and edit them with visual or text elements that can help you explain your ideas better for someone else over the Internet. This could be useful, for example, when you need to communicate with a co-worker that is in another place, or to make a small tutorial for a family member (because we’ve all been there).
The first time you run the app you’ll be greeted with a welcome screen that will also show you some links to a very useful short video that sums up what the app does, and gives you a link to the app’s Help site. After that you can get right into creating your documents.
The app is pretty much based around you taking screenshots, and that’s why the “Screenshots” button is one of the most visible elements in the UI. Taking a screenshot with it is a pretty easy task, once you activate the button, the Clarify window will disappear and you’ll enter a “capture” mode with an instruction box on the top of your screen.
Here you can customize how your screenshot will look by selecting a part of your screen or just taking a full screenshot. You also have a few settings like hiding the cursor and showing the areas you have previously captured.
Unfortunately, the “capture” mode is a little buggy and it doesn’t work too well with Lion’s spaces, so you need to have the Clarify window in the desired space once you access the capture mode if you want to capture an app that is in a specific space. Once you have your screenshots, it’s time to modify them.
When you take your screenshots, they will be added to this document that looks very much like if you were making a new email. You have a title for the whole document, but you can also add a specific title and description to each screenshot if you wish. You can also add images from your hard drive if you wish, and then there are also the image editing tools.
If you select any image, a small toolbar on top of it will appear. From there you can add things to your images like arrows, boxes, circles, sequences (boxes with numbers in them), text boxes, and even highlights (which are basically semi-transparent color lines that simulate the effect of highlighting text). Before adding any of these, you can change the size and color of the element that you are about to add. Once you are done taking your screenshots and modifying them, you are ready to export them or send them to someone.
I should also mention that there are tons of ways for you to format the documents that you create: you can resize the images, select their alignment and positions, borders, and more.
Sharing Documents and Other Features
Clarify has its own webservice where you can upload and share all of your documents with the click of a button. You have to make an account for that, but it’s completely free and you even get a custom URL for quickly accessing all of your stuff. Anyone can access these files, they don’t need an account and they don’t need to download anything (example).
There are other ways of sending your Clarify documents to someone as well. For instance, you can export them as PDFs. You can export each image individually or send them through the Mail.app.
Clarify is a pretty unique app, as I haven’t seen anything done like it before. You could argue that its functionality is easily covered by other image-editing apps, but the reality is that this one does a very specific task and it does it with much ease for an audience that might not have the resources or knowledge to use a high-end image editing app.
Its price is hard to justify, when it does something that many free apps do. Sure, it takes some steps away from the process of taking, modifying and grouping screenshots, but is it worth the price tag? I guess it comes down to the usage that you give to it. The idea behind the app is great; the pricing, not so much. What do you think?