RE: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 70, Issue 16

Subject: RE: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 70, Issue 16
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2011 08:33:06 -0400


We launched a knowledge base project for internal users and customers a few years back. Two years ago, our Training department came up with some ideas for doing videos for customers and internal agents and they shot a few trials.

We wound up using a few of their videos (30 to 60 seconds each) for our agents, but they were not polished enough for presenting to customers (in my team's opinion) so we never launched that side of it. I work for an MSO, so there are lots of bits of hardware that are out in the field between us and our customer locations, and with such names as hubs, nodes, pedestals, taps, and other terms, there are lots of internal folks that have a hard time visualizing how they fit into the system.

The videos usually start with 10 - 15 seconds focused on the particular hardware with its name superimposed over it. Then the camera pans from that object along the line (for above-ground elements on the line) or widens the shot and pans both forward and back to the next two elements (ex. pedestal to utility pole, then pedestal to tap on the side of an apartment building). The videos were shot by members of our training team and don't include voice over but do have background noise (traffic, wind, dogs barking, etc.) and the videos are all shot hand-held by amateurs instead of on tripods or steady cams, so those were two factors that made us decide against using them for customer education. We briefly talked about sending out crews from one of the local news stations we operate in markets we serve to shoot more professional videos for us, but with budgets and time constraints being what they are we decided to table that idea.

The purpose of the videos is less to explain what the equipment does (that is covered exhaustively in new-hire training) and more just to orient the agents as to where these bits of hardware actually live out in the wild. For our employee knowledge base, we simply have a link that launches the video from within the article, and it is an optional selection for the user.

As for usage, we don't get much feedback on those videos. Up until now, our current and previous versions of the KM software from the vendor has not tracked internal clicks to see how often agents expand images, watch videos, or use internal links to skip sections of the article (though it does count which articles agents use and how many times they access them). The next version is supposed to add these extra tracking metrics, and it will be interesting to see how often these ancillary videos are actually used.

Kenneth Nuckols
Compass Team

-----Original Message-----


Message: 3
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 19:13:29 +0700
From: Phil Stokes <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>,
ISTC_Discussion -at- yahoogroups -dot- com
Subject: how useful are video tutorials/screencasts?
Message-ID: <633D7FA8-3ED9-41FD-B4C9-B49742784349 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Hi, apologies for cross-posting, but I'd like both a UK and US/International perspective on this one.

This is not an entirely vacuous question: my Tech Comm MA dissertation for next year is on the efficacy of screencasting, so I'm wondering what the techwrl/STC opinion is on screencast/video tutorials, both as users and producers.

Do you make these for your audiences? What kind of reaction do you get (I'm happy to garner informal, anecdotal feedback from professionals at this point, but if you do have statistical/empirical evidence, please feel free to throw it out my way)?

Equally, I'm interested in your gut-feeling as a user about these. I use video tutorials for some students in my teaching work, but oddly I don't like using them myself. Recent example: looking for a quick procedure for installing an OS on an external drive, and the first three Google hits were Youtube vids. I don't want to watch a video; its too time consuming both as an experience and in terms of wasting processor time compared to loading a simple blog page with step 1 to 5 in text.

What do others think?

Any replies gratefully received.


Phil Stokes BA MA TESOLcert
Language Instructor
Chulalongkorn University Language Institute
Phaya Thai Road

Tel: (662) 218-6089
philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com
2551phil -at- gmail -dot- com
philip -dot- s -at- chula -dot- ac -dot- th

Technical Writing
Apple Help & Doc Writer

Critical Thinking
Essential Thinking for Philosophy



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