Video marketing is ubiquitous. With the age of broadband, it is truly everywhere, no longer limited by narrow transmission channels. User experience is quickly becoming a major factor in how successful your video marketing efforts will be. The following are some fairly basic rules that can make the task much easier.
The wave of video is being pushed on us, often without invitation, and often a source of annoyance rather than enlightenment or as a source of information. Desktop or phone, at work or at home, when a play button is pushed—we expect to deliver something to our audience and our audience hopes to receive something back.
Firstly, we'll be talking about the use of informational video, not entertainment video. When informational video is used on a web page in concert with text and other graphics, it creates a true "multimedia" experience—each media type helps to reinforce the message. This is where interaction and synergy between the elements on your web page creates either harmony or chaos.
By putting it out there, you create the environment. Do not rely on video to be your only source. After all, there is no guarantee that the user will click the play button. Will they watch the whole video or leave after a couple of seconds, bored and disinterested because it's not what they expected? You created the environment, your page should support the video—clearly explaining what it is about. The surrounding text should work as enticement to the user to commit and watch, as well as clearly outline what it is (and what it is not).
Use video only when video is necessary. It's there to convey information, and you should use it only when it is the most effective tool to do so. If a task you're trying to explain to your reader is a 3-step process, and you have created a talking head video explaining the process in three sentences, is it really beneficial to force the user to view the steps sequentially as a 30-second piece? Or would they be better served by scanning the ideas as bulleted bold text and be done with it in quarter of the time? Videos do not support "quick scanning" for information and that is overwhelmingly the way most users interact with informational web content.
There is no doubt that video can deliver information and emotion like no other multimedia aspect can, so let's use it when it benefits you most. When in doubt, divide the story you're trying to tell into smaller pieces; use text, images, and graphics in between to let the users decide what part they want to commit to.
Give control over the video to the user. Most viewers don't appreciate the surprise of automatic play and must put out the extra effort to figure out how to stop it or turn off the audio instead of focusing on what's important to them. Distractions are a UX NO-NO! Users should be able to play, stop or mute your video (or any other content on your site) at their leisure. Speaking of UX NO-NO's...
Users should know what's next. Before you ask your viewer to commit to view, you should clearly explain what your video is about. The title of the video should be clear and concise, the poster image should be in harmony with its content, not just a first frame capture. You can also use a caption to provide further information about the participants or the content.
- Never lead your audience astray or leave them lost at the end of your video. Always know what happens after your video is viewed. Continue telling your story with a next step or link to similar content. You could also provide a call to action which can send the viewer to more valuable downloadable content or an offer.
Pro Tip: Important! When you use a third-party to embed your video, such as YouTube, you need to control what happens at the end of your video. Don't leave your user stranded in the wilderness of the Internet. Some online video platforms allow you to avoid exposing your users to other (possibly competitor) videos, some don't. You should place a still image for a couple of seconds at the end of your video to provide direction or links to follow-up content to help users know what to do next.
Time is precious. Your audience values it a lot. Use a visible timer in your video to let the user know the length of the video. Longer time means more commitment from the viewer, so don't be afraid to divide the video into smaller segments. However, showing too many segments shorter than 1.5 minutes may sway opinion the other way as your video bites become too numerous to swallow.
Make every moment count. The structure of your video should contain an introduction—a short and specific one, one that does not repeat itself in other segments or your other videos. First impressions are important, so spend some time and effort in figuring out this intro. In the content itself, make sure you're not wasting time—be clear and concise. Your audience should be engaged, interested and informed at all times. Proper editing should help you in this task. After your content has played, make sure that users know what to do next or where to go next.
In summary, eliminate and minimize clutter and distraction for your audience and your story will be told.
Great UX to all!
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