Re: Video vs The Written Word

Subject: Re: Video vs The Written Word
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 10:20:47 -0500

To add to Peter's excellent comments, always ask Why? Why would video be better than text in this situation. If you have an answer, then the choice is clear. As communications professionals we should be prepared to use any communication medium, tool, or technique to get the message across to our users. If the user is best communicated with by video, then go with video. Keep the video short so the user can control how much they can absorb at once. Your videos do not need to cost megabucks, but the production values should be quality, not amateurish. You'll probably find that even with the video, supporting documentation is still needed.

Peter Neilson wrote:

- WTFV may be easier to enforce than RTFM.
- Some people cannot read.
- Some people can but do not read.
- SMEs may believe their work is done when they've mumbled before a camera.

- Very hard to update.
- Bohhhring videos are bohhhhhhhhring.
- Snazzy videos are often content free.
- Hard to discuss the three major points in an hour-long video without re-watching the entire video. (You can't just turn to the second top-level head, but instead have to hunt for it in the unscripted ramblings that pass for video documentation.)
- If the quality is poor (as it usually is in amateur videos) each viewer must perform the sifting and integration work normally done by a tech writer. May have to invent questions to ask to learn material that should have been covered but wasn't.
- The handout for the video, if any, becomes the outline of the document that should have been written.
- If the quality is to be high, it'll cost as least as much to get it right as it does to write a set of docs.

- In any crime, the principle question is "Cui bono?" Who wants the videos, and what do they (personally) gain?

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Video vs The Written Word: From: procrastiwriter
Re: Video vs The Written Word: From: Peter Neilson

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