Role of web video in tech communications

Last week’s Live Mesh announcement was a significant one for Microsoft watchers. It was interesting to note that all the in-depth information came in the form of web video.

Personally I dislike this trend. Video cannot easily be scanned to see what it contains; it also requires audio which is a nuisance. It is more work to quote from a video that to copy some text. I also resort to playing them at double speed where possible, to come closer to the speed of reading, and noting down the time of sections that I want to return to.

Some of these problems could be mitigated by better presentation. For example, you could have summary text on the page next to an embedded video, with links to indexed points.

However I also recognize that I may be in a minority. Video has obvious advantages; it is more informal, and can includes real demos as opposed to diagrams and screen grabs.

I am even contemplating trying some video publishing of my own; it is time I reviewed Adobe Visual Communicator.

Even so, I’d suggest that companies take the time to offer transcripts of important video content. Text has advantages too.

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2 comments to Role of web video in tech communications

  • Absolutely right Tim.

    I am hoping that since Silverlight makes it very easy to add markers and show transcripts or navigation that this will improve soon.

    Would be a good codeplex project for someone I guess…

  • Agreed. Video is a richer media type, and can show subtleties of how a message is understood and delivered, but it’s not a lean media type. Text abstracts and transcripts both help.

    (Text abstracts also help with text essays too… it’s amazing how many bloggers just start writing at length about how they arrived at some conclusion before telling you why you might want to read all those words, or even what the conclusion might be. Text can be made as inaccessible as video.)

    Adobe’s Mark Randall showed some video-to-text utilities at NAB this month:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD55QRLbfzw

    jd/adobe