Over the past year or so I’ve noted that there is a sizable sub-group who feel that our How Do I videos are of marginal or negative value. This was crystallized by a series of emails that I’ll condense in the hope we can begin a discussion.
(This image is live, click to see the video on Data Validation)
The strong version of the argument is this:
Please avoid screencasts, especially if for developers as screen casts won’t be watched, won’t be searchable, don’t allow the user to jump to the important parts. For some things screencasts are useful (like illustrating a particularly tricky UI task), but for many, they are just lazy. MSDN and particularly Silverlight.net have been producing too many videos.
I would open the discussion in response by agreeing that correctness is paramount, and that not all videos are information rich or engaging, but suggested that the audience probably follows something approximating a normal distribution:
In short, we are producing a lot of videos because our download numbers indicate that they are very popular. Given that I occasionally cover the same material in any of three formats
- Full Tutorial
and that videos almost always swamp the others in number of downloads, I think there is empirical evidence that some folks do find them a useful approach.
That said, the raised concerns that they are not searchable or indexable is more than legitimate, and we have creative ideas about fixing or ameliorating that problem that we’ll be talking about soon.
In the interim, I suggested taking a look both at:
- My thread on Hypervideo
- The VideoWiki project just getting under way
- The Better-Videos Experiment Open Diary
Thanks and I look forward to a lively discussion.