Remember when “Flash Intros” (or what Adobe would prefer me to call “introductory animations created with the software Adobe Flash,” lest I dilute their trademark) were all the rage? You had to have one play when a user first arrived at your site to be considered hip, media savvy, and up-to-date.
But in reality, most of these detracted from rather than added to a web site’s experience, resulting in lots of users clicking on the oft-included “skip intro” button so they could get to what they were really after: the content on a site. In the end, many were an annoyance rather than a value-add.
I’m beginning to fear that web video could suffer the same fate. I’m sure you and your client feel more hip, media savvy, and up-to-date when you include video on their site, but are you really serving their user by doing so?
In many cases, information delivered in a web video can be less useful than media-poor plain text. For example, video content often does not show up in search engines. You can rarely scan a video to get the gist of the story. You can’t easily quote a select bit to make a note to yourself or pass onto a friend or peer – you have to force them to watch the whole thing, including quite often an advertisement up front (as opposed to above, below, or off to the side, as is the case with text).
As a result, I personally find myself avoiding news stories on CNN.com that are delivered as video rather than text. Same with interviews on sports sites such as Sherdog.com. Aside from the fact that a well-written article could often convey the information to me more quickly, I don’t want to have to slap on a pair of headphones or turn on a speaker and subject others in the office to hearing what I’m watching (and I work at home; I’d hate to feel the pressure to avoid such distractions in a real office!).
No, I’m not a Luddite; indeed, we’ve been moving more of our business onto the internet, including creating videos for the web. And there are many cases where seeing someone talk about or do something is far more powerful than just reading about it. (Or is simply more entertaining – take Ask a Ninja on YouTube). Video on the web is often the best way to convey a piece of information or entertainment, and it needs to be a part of your range of services that you offer your clients.
But I can’t help but to think that in too many cases, a video is used as a lazy way out for the content creator, causing the content consumer to potentially have to suffer as a result.
Will they suffer? Or simply Skip?
Maybe we should just be quiet and take the work. After all, the client is always right (at least as long as they pay their bills on time), and a lot of people made a lot of money creating Flash Intros for awhile. But we’ve personally built our business around being a partner to our clients, using our experience to help them get their message out in the most effective manner – not just doing simply what they ask. That’s why we think about these things, along with other seemingly odd topics I’ve been blogging about recently such as logo branding, repurposing content, and market segments. It’s a way to make yourself more valuable to your clients as well.
Maybe we should make a video about that…
The content contained in our books, videos, blogs, and articles for other sites are all copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed.