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Term of the Week: Video

What is it?

A series of moving images, typically paired with spoken word, music, or other audio, often for entertainment or educational purposes.

Why is it important?

People turn to video for everything from a quick laugh to learning a new skill. With each passing day it becomes easier to compose and deliver videos, making it a communication form for everyone.

Why does a technical communicator need to know this?

If you’ve ever tried to put together a piece of ready-to-assemble furniture or change your own spark plugs, you probably know the frustration that can come from not being able to actually see the hypothetical Tab A inserted into Slot B. When ideas and concepts are difficult to express with words and static images alone, consider using video to get your message across. Video enhances cognitive processing by providing context and detail that is lacking in other media. Video can be optimized for display on a wide variety of device types from large screen projection systems to handheld mobile devices.

Topics like construction and vehicle repair are commonly cited as prime examples for using video, but instructional videos also play a key role in software training and developing workplace and leadership skills. Videos excel at expressing tone, demonstrating complex processes, and presenting abstract concepts.

However, be careful not to go overboard with video. Instructional videos are rarely a 1:1 replacement for guides and help documentation. They aren’t easily skimmable or searchable, unless accompanied by a transcription. Burying basic how-to information in a lengthy video tutorial doesn’t help someone who only needs to know one specific piece of information. Instead, use video strategically to complement other communication formats or as a powerful means to motivate and inspire.

About Josh Holnagel

Photo of Josh Holnagel

Josh Holnagel is an instructional designer and graphic artist who specializes in video tutorials. His go-to tool for video creation is TechSmith Camtasia and he’s currently most interested in perfecting his voice-over work.

Term: Video



Twitter: @hohoholnagel