Screen Capture and Infographics

Now that you’ve had your fill of creating and editing simple graphics in our last lesson, you’re ready to show your visitors that you really know your field of law. There are many tools to let you communicate your knowledge, skills, and experience in interesting ways that will keep your visitors’ attention. One of the easiest ways to start out making presentations is to do a simple screenshot.

Remember how we first made a web site out of a simple note or phrase in our first lesson? Well, let’s tiptoe into the world of online presentations by just making a simple screenshot first. Using a service like http://awesomescreenshot.com, you can simply put anything up on your personal computer screen that shows you off in a good light, take a virtual snapshot of it, and put that snapshot on any of your web sites. You can even take a snapshot of one of the web sites you made that you’re particularly proud of, and share an image of it on all your other websites. You can also annotate the snapshot by drawing circles, arrows, and notes on it. This means that you can take a screenshot of an otherwise dull judicial order that was granted in your favor, and virtually mark it up to show your site visitors the important sections of the decision. You can also use the tool to blur out the parts of the order that are confidential.

A tool called Jing, found at http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html, lets you take screenshots, but also lets you take things further with screencasts. It allows you to record audio with your computer microphone as you are browsing around on your computer to show your visitors anything of interest. You can take your visitors on tours of informational websites, you can scroll through electronic court exhibits you created while narrating how you used them to win a trial, or let that person in the office who’s an expert with Word give a little tutorial on one of the more obscure but productive features of the program. Maybe you might even want to make a tutorial showing how someone could access the docket for their case through the local clerk of court website, in the event that they want to review the timeline of their case when your office is closed.

One other screencast tool worth mentioning is ActivePresenter at http://atomisystems.com/activepresenter/free-edition. Although it has neat features like the ability to zoom and pan on parts of the screen you wish to focus on during your screencast, it is also impressive that the free version does not have a time limit on screencasts. Most other screencast tools put a limit of 5-15 minutes on free screencasts, so if you feel like you really want to give a thorough tour or explanation of some documents or resources, then ActivePresenter will let you talk as long as you want.

With the tools we just used, you can easily pick your way through your computer and just show your site visitors some impressive things you’ve found or know about. But of course eventually you want to make some presentations that are more thoughtful, polished and impressive. One of the most popular ways on the Internet of attracting visual attention while communicating strong statements is through the use of infographics. Now you’ll begin to see how attorneys take those cutesy art concepts you played with and apply them to legal marketing materials.

A good start to making infographics would be through http://piktochart.com. After registering on the site, you can use a graphic design editor which will be very easy to learn now that you’ve had some practice with other graphics editors. The main difference here is that you can add charts and maps with lots of statistics, as you want the graphic to be a persuasive argument or pitch.

Although the free version limits the number of themes you can access, it allows to you to save your finished graphic as a large jpg file, which means you can upload it directly to any other web sites you have. If you like, it will also create a separate web site out of the infographic you create, and give you your own URL for it just like the free web site creators that you used earlier do. You can even post the infographic to social media sites like Facebook when you’re done designing it.

When you are ready to share your infographic, you can also post it to a site like http://visual.ly which is a huge gallery of infographics. If you look at an example like http://visual.ly/infographic-%E2%80%9Clevin-law-group-closing-cost-services%E2%80%9D you can see how this real estate law firm clearly lays out in a straightforward way, in black and gray colors, how the closing process works when you retain the firm. A personal injury firm at http://visual.ly/car-accidents-occur-alarming-rate chooses to use less words to make a much bolder and ominous statement. In contrast, note how the infographic at http://visual.ly/how-choose-personal-injury-lawyer opts for a very friendly tone with warm colors, and gives neutral tips on selecting a lawyer, albeit with the law firm’s contact information being a definite suggestion.

The next lesson will consider slideshow services, which are very popular in the tech sector now. You’ve created information-rich graphics and you’ve created audio narrations of computer materials in the form of screencasts. Slideshows will challenge you to create a commercial storyboard using an array of dramatic graphical slides. The hipsters may call them pitchdecks, but you can say it’s powerpoint on the web.

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