10 Top Tips for creating an Interactive Video
Interactive video is more popular than ever, but how can you use it effectively? Despite its growing reputation in training and marketing industries, interactive video is still seen as a gimmick by some. But when it’s done well, the advantages and benefits are obvious!
_How To Create An Effective Interactive Video?
So let’s discuss some techniques that will help you succeed.
These 10 tips will help you create an interactive video experience that’s as effective as it is engaging:
1_ Planning is essential.
2_ Test your approach.
3_ Stay focused on storytelling.
4_ Encourage replays.
5_ Incorporate game thinking.
6_ Provide realistic scenarios.
7_ Make it multi-device ready.
8_ Keep it consistent.
9_ Research video techniques.
10_ Track interactions.
1_ Planning Is Essential
At the planning step, you need to come up with a great idea for your interactive video. Effective interactive video needs to provide learners with the experience they need to do their jobs better.
Once you identified your goal you can start joining your first points to the end results and introducing alternative routes which explain a different aspect of the learning. One of the most effective techniques for this is branch mapping, where each route or branch through the scenario is planned out. There are apps which make it easier to lay out the different branches and map them to your main objectives.
Twine is free software that’s useful for visualizing and prototyping branching scenarios like interactive videos. It’s a cool tool for building interactive stories and it includes a flow chart based story creator.
2_ Test Your Approach
Perform research into your target demographic and how they would respond to different types of interaction. Try to walk in the user’s shoes! You need to test on all the platforms you are planning to implement your video and with it's targeting audience.
A thorough testing phase will help prevent costly mistakes later on in the design and development process, as well as highlighting the most effective type of content. There is a balance between making the interactions too easy and offering some randomness. Testing helps you get the balance right for your audience.
For example the Seven Digital Deadly Sins — is more than just video, it uses interactions within the frame to navigate around. You can choose what to interact with next, but there’s no way to know the overall goal to aim for.
This works when the aim is entertainment, it encourages exploration of the different content. If learning is the aim, then there should be a preferred path through the video which a learner can become better at spotting. If the goal is something different, — just remember about it! Predicting your user's behaviour — that is an art, isn’t it?
Getting the feedback right at each stage is highly important, as well. Steering consumers towards a more effective solution without being so obvious that they don’t have an opportunity to learn from mistakes.
3_ Stay focused on Storytelling
Creating a truly engaging interactive video hinges on having a scenario and characters that your user is invested in. Make your users care about the decisions they are making.
Lifesaver is a popular interactive video that puts you in the shoes of a person who witnesses a health crisis and asks you how you can help. Each scenario is established with a short video, the characters are introduced, and then something goes wrong. By putting you in the story and, in the case of Lifesaver, requiring you to make a decision under time pressure you force the viewer to commit to the narrative.
If your consumers are responsible for some case and have a real desire to see the outcome, good or bad, then you’ve captured their attention. Then the result is going to be more predictable.
4_ Encourage Replays
Once you get the balance right and the story resonates with your target audience you need to include enough options for them to want to play again.
Repeating the interactive video helps to reinforce the participating that it contains, and it doesn’t have to be repeated straight away. In fact, spacing the interacting over longer periods can be even better for retention.
5_ Incorporate Game Thinking
Game thinking tells us that the challenge of improving performance and completing the scenario are big motivators to the viewer.
Karl Kapp lays out 4 elements of games and gamification:
Ask what problems the viewer has to solve in order to reach the best outcome, then think about how your choices can introduce the elements of gamification. Engagement relates strongly to the story you’ve created and mastery can be achieved through repetition.
Interactive video allows interactive viewers to explore their options, so autonomy is covered by default. Progression through the video should be rewarded through positive feedback — associate progress with points, badges, etc.
6_ Provide Realistic Scenarios
It’s important with any scenario that it is relevant and realistic. Your consumers know what’s likely to happen in their workplace, and you need to make sure that the interactive video comes as close to their experience as possible. Find a personal touch to your user.
Some scenarios will require events to happen that are out of the ordinary. A fire breaking out or an accident is a rare occurrence in most workplaces, but they might need to appear in your video in order for it to achieve its goals.
For example, The Royal Mail interviewed managers about their real-life experiences in order to create life-like situations for their interactive video course.
The different video paths were assembled in Storyline 2 and the learners were able to navigate through the various options on desktop and iPad, with their progress and decisions tracked to a Learning Management System.
7_ Make It Multi-Device Ready
In the past, it’s been hard to create an interactive video that works across platforms, especially on all mobile devices. It’s becoming easier to create mobile-friendly experiences with the move from Flash to HTML5 interactions. Make sure it’s compatible.
8_ Keep It Consistent
There’s a good chance that your learners won’t have experienced an interactive video before, so you’ll need to make sure they understand how to choose which route to take. Traditional web videos have well-defined user interface design patterns with controls for play and pause and a slider for scrubbing through the length of the video. Ideally, you’ll need to incorporate the basic controls into your video player, but the more involved interactions are more of a challenge.
The most popular way to navigate through an interactive video is to use some type of hot spot overlaid on the video or on a static page with a question displayed. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you’re consistent throughout.
9_ Research Video Techniques
If you’re planning on creating your own video, you should look into the techniques that directors employ to help their audience engage with the medium.
There’s no shortcut to creating polished video content yourself, so factor in as much time for research and practice as possible. Using an experienced team is one of the only ways to make sure you don’t end up with an unwatchable video.
10_ Track Interactions
Make use of the tracking that interactive video makes possible. Each decision can be tracked and reported back to an LMS or CMS where you can use it to identify learners who are quickly finding the best route through the video, or struggling with certain interactions.
Getting an overview of all the decisions your audience is making will help with evaluating the effectiveness of the design. You can also use the bigger picture when making changes and improvements to the video in the future.
Interactive video can offer a new and engaging experience for your audience. If you follow the guidelines laid out here, you can create an effective solution to meet your professional and personal challenges.