Video is becoming the new ‘photograph’ on more and more web sites. Being an interaction designer interested in optimizing customer experiences on the web, I’ve been doing some research on video web standards.
One stop on my research trail was a visit with Heidi Stanclift, web master and co-owner of 4Web, Inc. During our conversation Heidi shared insights on web standards she has experienced that optimize video integration and viewing on web sites.
1. Recap in text, what is discussed in the video.
It’s no secret that no matter where you are and how good your bandwidth is, video can be slow to display. In many cases potential viewers lose patience with the ‘buffer’ process and abandon the idea of watching the video. Add text content to summarize what is presented in the video. That allows an alternative way to communicate the same message to the person making an effort to view the video, should they opt out of viewing a slow to display video.
2. No AutoPlay.
Do not set up the video to automatically start playing when the view opens. Instead give the user control to start the video at their discretion. They may be in a place like at work or at a library where audio volume of the video would be disruptive. Keep the user in control of their viewing options.
3. Get a video hosted account.
Rather than storing your video directly on your web site consider hosting your video on a separate video hosted account like You Tube or Vimeo. Moving video from your web site to a hosted account doesn’t tax your web server and also insures the video will display in the format on which the user is viewing the video i.e. PC/iPad/ Mac/ Smartphone etc.
4. Avoid bringing down the house.
Expecting (or hoping) your video will go viral? Is your server ready to handle the volume of hits your video may receive? At some level this is one of those happy problems but none-the-less, one that’s avoidable when you use a hosting service for your video.
Heidi’s suggestions are easy to implement and ultimately standards that will optimize the user experience when it comes to viewing video on the web. Thanks to her we can now integrate video into our web sites like a pro.
Want to learn more about improving the user experience of your web site, software or product? If so, plan on attending World Usability Day New England on Nov. 10th in Brattleboro VT. Check out our speaker line up and register here.