Do I belong to a minority in that I often find myself in situations where I cannot quite watch a video, but am looking to catch up on something? With content increasingly migrating to video online, this is proving to be a hindrance to me. There are many situations – I’m on public transport or trying to put my kids to bed – when I have the time to catch up on something, but cannot quite watch a video. Are we always expected to have access to headphones and be ready to consume video/audio?
Surely, interactive content can be more engaging. But, if you are anything like me, you have no special “catching up” or “recreational” time. This is time that comes out of multi tasking – when I’m doing something else as my primary task and decide to catch up on news or other content as a secondary activity. If I couldn’t do that, I’d never catch up. But, this also means that more often than not, I’m looking for written content. Something I can switch tasks with more easily. Something that is unobtrusive to my environments, whatever I may be doing.
I must also admit that I find some videos excruciatingly slow in terms of “getting to the point”. Print allows me to scan and find the most relevant things at my own pace, which I cannot do with video – I am stuck to the pace of the speaker or the content progression, which I usually find slows me down.
There are obviously exceptions to this, where a video on a topic may in fact be the quickest way to consume the content. Of course, the preference of video vs print is also likely to vary across individuals and I’m sure there are many people who prefer consuming video.
But, my rule of thumb is this – if you need to take more than 30 seconds of my time, give me the text version and let me do it at my pace.
I wonder if automatic transcription of video/audio into text is the next thing that must happen at scale to handle this. Know the user’s situation and render content in the right medium!