As a Product Manager you're constantly taking screenshots, annotating them, highlighting something wrong etc, so when I went hunting for a great screenshot tool, my standards were high. The built-in mac screenshot functionality isn't terrible by any means, and I used it for quite a while, but Shottr takes it to the next level.
It's built by Max, a designer by trade, who wanted a great screenshot tool for his pixel-perfect design needs. He couldn't find one, so he built it. The result is a natively coded Mac app that is honestly one of my favourite pieces of software I've ever used. It's an absolute joy.
Read on for everything I think Max is doing brilliantly, and how it's inspiring me to think about my own product development.
One thing that is especially great is the "Release Notes" at the bottom of the homepage. This is a great way to give recency and life to a homepage, while also showing that this software is in continuous, active development and that by using it, you're likely to be pleasantly surprised with ongoing improvements.
Installation & Onboarding
It's rare these days to find someone who cares about the details of software development as much as Max, but his goal of making Shottr small enough to be distributable on floppy disks shows the level he's willing to go to in order to make sure that every experience with Shottr, from the very first download, is as perfect as it can be.
Fun fact: I tinkered with the packaging script, and now Shottr DMG is only 1.3mb. The idea to sell box edition on floppy disks is back on the table 😂— Shottr (@shottr_cc) November 9, 2022
At 1.3Mb, it's not surprising that it downloads almost instantly. On launch, the app gives the option to run at startup (which I always do), and prompts to allow the necessary accessibility permissions it needs to do its job. Deep-linking into the appropriate area of the preferences app is just 🤌🏼.
And we're done. Shottr is installed and ready to be used. Extremely smooth experience.
Features I love
Shottr goes deep on keyboard shortcuts and I love it. You can quickly snap a screenshot of an area or fullscreen, and it will open the editor for you to mark it up as necessary (this is configurable in preferences).
I love how quick it is to draw an arrow, for instance (type "a" and click to drag). Adding text is easy too, just type "t" and click where you want it. Resizing any element is easy with
Erasing something from the screenshot is also really quick and easy - either by blurring or completely erasing. I use this all the time to see what something might look like if it was removed, or if I need to blur sensitive information in the screenshot. This can all be done via keyboard shortcuts.
In terms of value, there is literally nothing that can beat Shottr - because it's free. But don't let that fool you into thinking your getting anything less than a lovingly crafted, cared for, manicured experience. This product is not built to make money (despite how much I plead with Max to take mine!). It is clearly a labour of love - and that comes across in every little detail in every new update.
Thankfully Max did set up at least one way for us grateful users to show our appreciation - on buymeacoffee.com/shottr.
Part of my motivation for these reviews is to find what I can take and apply to my own work in software product development by taking a deep look at what others are doing well and learning from them, and I've got a lot to learn here from Max.
- Keyboard shortcut all the things. When in the editor, I can
CMD+Sto save the image, or
CMD+Cto add it to the clipboard for quick pasting somewhere else. For any app that even tangentially claims to impact on the productivity of its users, keyboard shortcuts are a great way to achieve that.
- Openness and communication. Max is so open about what he should build into the app next and how. Even right there on the homepage, there's a "what feature should I build next?" section.
- Care about the tiny details. How many people really care that the app is small enough to be distributed on a floppy disk? But it makes a difference, ultimately.
Did you like this review? Let me know how I can make the next one better on twitter @cderm :)