Where is all the video?

Why aren’t we seeing more video on content heavy websites?

A lot of the websites we work on at Headscape are content heavy. However, despite the ability of video to convey large amounts of information quickly and in an engaging manner, we still see slow uptake on its use.

I suspect this is because video is perceived as expensive to produce. There is a belief that video has to be high quality in order to be effective. That means spending a lot of money.

In this audio tip I argue that video doesn’t need to be expensive or have high production values to engage users. In fact I go as far as suggesting that slick TV quality video can actually appear less trustworthy than something with a raw feel.

In my opinion anybody with an iPhone and decent mic can produce website worthy video.

  • Video is great but user’s don’t always want to watch a video. They may be in an environment where they can’t play sound either because they’re sat on the sofa with the TV on or in an office and can’t be bothered to dig out the plugs.  It would be interesting to see some testing done on sites with video versus sites with text, though the ideal would certainly be to have both on the same page.

  • I have always tried to keep the view of video as supplementary content for websites. When I visit a content heavy website, I want to be able to easily scan the pages for the content I am looking for, and that’s not a very easy thing to do with video. 

    I also think that there are some accessibility concerns that haven’t been sufficiently addressed that are holding back video as a primary content source. Certainly, the number one thing is the resources required to send the video to the user. A user must have a much higher quality connection to be able to download video compared to images and text. Bandwidth is certainly an issue when dealing with non-‘desktop’ contexts. You also must consider the resources needed to store those videos as well.

    I think Rachel brings up a good point about the environment of the user viewing the video. It requires much more of a specific environment to view multimedia content compared to content served as simple text and images.

    You also have the issues of captioning or transcribing video, which can be a hassle. Captioning and transcribing videos is not only necessary for those who having hearing disabilities, but also when done properly would help aid in SEO and indexing your video content, which is another pitfall of relying too much on video without these features. The problem I have with this is two fold: this requires a significant procedural overhead, and there is no real standard way of doing captioning/transcribing efficiently. 

    • Anonymous

      I entirely agree with the sentiment that you cannot rely on video. However, equally that doesn’t mean you cannot have it in addition.

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      • Paul,

        I completely agree. As I said, video as supplementary content is wonderful. People should just be mindful when using video as a primary content format. That’s the point I was trying to get across. Sorry if there was confusion about my original comment.

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