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Do's and Don't of Web Video

Author: Adi Gaskell

Video on the Web can be compelling or annoying, depending on how it’s handled. Here are some tips to help ensure your Web video clips don’t hinder the business goals of your site.

1. Always offer a choice.

When possible, give visitors a chance to click a link and make a conscious decision to view the video. Video that’s streamed automatically when visitors land on the page can be jarring and result in site avoidance – not the best outcome. This is especially true when the video includes loud audio streams. Anyone who works in a small office with thin cubicle partitions knows how disruptive such streams can be.

2. Keep it low.

For the most part, your audience will be viewing your media streams from their office desktops, so audio needs to be clear yet unobtrusive (see #1). This means avoiding large spontaneous crashes, beeps, sirens, etc., and making sure volume controls are obvious and easy to use.

3. Make it short.

Web attention spans – especially when it comes to video – are even shorter than those for television viewing. If you really want to get your message across, keep it as short as possible.

4. Make it navigable.

When you need to run a long piece of video, simply break it into manageable pieces and let the user navigate among them. This is another way to put the user in the driver's seat and ensure that the video is well-received.

5. Test it.

Most sites test their video streams prior to deploying them live, but what about a week or a month later? As your site changes, so does its ability to support streaming video. Constant vigilance and good measurement tools, like those that provide metrics for different times of day, days of the week, geographical areas and so on, are a good investment.

6. Make sure it’s necessary.

Many sites are tempted to run video just because they can, and that’s not a good reason. Video should add to your message or present it in new, compelling ways. A talking head spouting a marketing statement is not an example of compelling video content.

About the Author

Adi is the founder of , a leading provider of Flash based streaming video solutions. ...