Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, and more have revolutionized how we communicate with others. It continues to blow my mind how we are busting through the walls of communication to work with others who are miles apart. It’s more normal these days to collaborate with people across the planet, in many ways, than it is to collaborate with those across the hall. It’s a brave new world.
One new app that can make communication simpler, in many ways, is Collaaj. It’s an app that lets you communicate to others using video, audio, and your Mac. It’s the collaboration of Skype combined with the simpleness of email, in a way that’ll help you get your point across to others better than you could with just text and images but without having to be online at the same time.
Collaaj is designed to let you create videos or audio to communicate and show something on your Mac screen. For example, let’s say you want to show someone a design you are working on. Instead of just sending them the design, you can record a video or audio to explain to them what you are trying to do in the design. This gives it a whole new meaning as sometimes you cannot always communicate through just an image what you really want your audience to know. There are four different ways that you can record using Collaaj.
The first two ways involve using a screen capture and either video or audio. You can have a screen capture and just use your voice to explain what is in it or any other information you want to let your audience know, very similar to screencasts. If you want more than just audio, you can use your webcam instead to take video of yourself explaining the image you are showing to people.
The other two ways to communicate involve only video and audio and take away the screen capture feature. If you decide you just want to record a video that you want people to see, you can just fire up the app in webcam mode and record yourself. If you are camera shy, there is an audio record feature where you can just get your voice captured and send it out. In my opinion these two features are not as effective as the other two, but nonetheless, I am sure it could be helpful to have.
Interacting With Others
What makes Collaaj so effective is the fact that you can use it to interact with others. Just because it is more of a one way app, where you are sending people something that you are trying to communicate to them, that doesn’t mean that they cannot respond. Once you are done with recording, you have two options on how you want others to see your recording. You can either make it somewhat private where only the people you send the link to, can see it, or you can make it so that anyone can see it. Create a title for the recording then add a short description and you can then upload it, and it is now on the web for others to see.
When people get the link to view your video, there are a few different ways that they can interact with you. There is an option for them to leave comments or even “like” your recording. There are also some sharing features where they can share it to Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google +. There is also a link that is made so that it can be shared with others, and you are also given an embed code so that the recording can be integrated into other sites.
Variety of Uses
What made me really like Collaaj is the way that it could be used in my line of work as well as for others. It is a great tool to be able to explain a concept to people or to add meaning and depth to an image, that you normally can’t portray when you just show someone the picture. I can see this being used by educators, especially math teachers who want another way to be able to explain a problem to students. I can see designers using this to explain their work, as well as business people.
There are a number of different ways that Collaaj can be integrated into many different lines of work. I like that they integrated features where you can embed your recordings on a website as well as some of the interactive tools that they give you. It gives you the opportunity to really use it as a collaborative tool to work with others.
I found Collaaj very easy to use and it came in very handy for me in when I tested it out with others. When I showed it to a few of my colleagues the overriding comment that I got was that by adding video or audio, it really enhanced the image that you were showing people.
There are three different price plans to choose from, ranging from free all the way up to $15/month. It really all depends on how and what you plan to use Collaaj for in your life. I think most people who will use it casually can easily get away with the free plan, while even small to medium sized business could get away with the $5/month option.
Collaaj even has an iPad app that adds more features to the app than what the Mac side can offer. It gives you the opportunity to create screencasts and actually write and draw, while having audio and video. Although you can do this on the Mac, the iPad gives you a lot of the features to make this happen from within the app itself. It is free to use, so I would check it out if you are interested.
Overall, this is a great product to have on the Mac, web, as well as on the iPad. It was very easy to use and I found it as a nice way to be able to get my message across to people that I may not have had the chance to come in face to face contact with. If you are one who does a lot of screencasts, or works remotely, I would definitely give Collaaj a try.