The un-usability of online video
Just about every news website and blog uses online video as a means of communicating with their audience. Online video started gaining popularity several years ago with the creation of youtube and other video sharing services. Youtube gained immediate and nearly unprecedented popularity. Media companies looked at this inspiring boost in traffic and had to figure out a way to monetize online video.
Putting history aside, online video is often used improperly. Companies are hanging on some antiquated TV theory that people want everything delivered in video and not in text. I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t even watch a video article online.
The biggest problem people make, is using an unextraordinary video as a destination rather than additional media or commentary that accompanies an article or other piece of information. I can’t even tell you how annoying it is to click on a news article and have it be a video instead of text. What’s even more annoying is that whole “monetize” concept. I not only cannot read the article I wanted to read, but I have to wait 30 second to see a video which i didn’t want in the first place. Using video just for the purpose of using video is just crazy. I don’t need to see some newscaster or blogger reading something to me that would have takes 2 minutes myself and would have been more clear and scan-able. I will say that online retailers have much better grasped the concept of appropriate video usage, as they often supplement their products with video demos or other informative casts.
In all, if the video is the point of interest, such as a show (in whole or part), a movie, or something that cannot be better represented in text then it’s probably appropriate. If the video is simply a person reading an article, or newscast, or anything that could more easily be explained in text, use text! The same concepts can be applied to slide-shows, flash, and just about any other dynamic content we find on the internet. Don’t use media as a destination just for the sake of using it.
The one caveat to this argument is mobile content. Since it’s often difficult to read lengthy content on a phone, a video may be more than appropriate. However, this doesn’t mean that video should be the only medium that the content is available in. At the very least, put an entire text version with any diagrams or pictures if appropriate below the video so the rest of us on normal computers can “read” it.
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