If you are creating an interactive video, you need to identify the structure and user experience well before video production begins. Information architecture is the nexus of design and organized content.
Pre-production is a vital part of developing an interactive video. The strength of interactive video is that you can have a rich amount of video content that you can sort and jump to in an organized and logical way without having to endure a single linear path.
Think of this example of an interactive video in the works:
San Francisco Bay Area Innovation Ecosystem
Here we have established that an innovation ecosystem exists in the San Francisco Bay Area. What are the ways this could be presented interactively? How many different ways might we sort that information? Three come to mind right away: geographically, by vertical markets, or by company name.
Each path you choose to explore opens up more paths exponentially as you map out the hierarchy of the interactive media.
So as not to overwhelm yourself when planning, choose one path at a time and fill it out. You can go back later and move down one of the other paths. In this example, diving deeper into the geographical location path, you could choose between San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, San Leandro or other Bay Area cities.
Moving over to the next path: vertical markets, you could set up what type of primary vertical market you are focusing on: high tech, medical, advanced manufacturing. You could even have a sub-vertical choice, for example under advanced manufacturing you could choose 3D printing.
Moving on to the 3rd path in this example, you could choose from a variety of companies that are focusing on innovation.
Not surprisingly, the larger the project, this organizing and labeling lends itself to the use of libraries and databases. Think of the combinations you could come up with when cross-referencing between just three paths. Where it really gets interesting is to figure out ways to cross-link between paths: Show me the cities that have fiber optic Gigabit Internet speed and which companies are using them or show me all the innovation based companies in the Bay Area. Now show me which of these companies work together and why. For example, if you wanted to find out three innovative companies that worked together in San Leandro, you would see a connection between SoundFit, Type A Machines and Pacific Coast Laboratories. Pacific Coast Laboratories makes custom molded ear protection, from casts sent via 3D fax by Soundfit and 3D printed on Type A Machines 3D printers.
Let’s say you have a map of San Leandro and different items on the map highlight depending upon the way you are sorting the information. You can then click one of your choices. This can in turn launch a video or series of videos. When a video is running, another way to jump from one video to another is by clicking on a nodal hot spot. A hot spot is a target where you click that has a visual overlay on top of it, like a glowing door when you want to click to go from one room to another or a visual annotation that says click here to see more detail. When you click the hot spot, the successive video plays.
Quantifying and identifying
To make a great interactive video, it all boils down to quantifying how many total videos you have, what the content and length of each is, and how these videos cross relate to one another through structural design and aesthetic treatment.
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