YouTube is proof that people love Video.

Explainer videos would sit in the header of a site whilst marketers crossed their fingers in the hope that their investment in it would bring people to the brand. Today, at the top of a website, a video is simply is bland User Experience you shouldn’t get away with.

“Thank you for the 3 minutes, now what do I do?”

It’s important for brands and companies to look at the progression of video and to follow it. Videos became Stories. Snapchat became storytelling. Influencers became storytellers. As cameras and data became more accessible, brands discovered that they could interact with their customers more and more; often pushing video content without thinking. A video is no longer a cherry on the top of a website, it’s everywhere and it’s messy. More unnecessary social confetti in an environment that is already littered. I simply don’t know anyone who has that much to say.

Thankfully, another form of storytelling came under the guise of UX, User Experience. Now that I’ve seen a company’s 3-minute video in their header, where do I go next? Where’s the CTA? Is this story interactive? Do I believe in this enough to share it? Does it even have a share button?

Video has become the user journey

Interaction design and animation guide a customer not just down a page, but through a brand’s narrative. 86% of users say they’ll stop using an app if it’s difficult to use*, therefore Marketers and Designers need to show the customers exactly where to go. Well-placed, contextually-aware, considered video content which interacts with a website’s infrastructure achieves a new, near-flawless customer journey. It’s very powerful for a brand. You could say that the parallax elements on Apple’s website are as Apple as the Mac you’re viewing it on.

Invisionapp rightfully calls this VX, viewer experience. Video done well enhances a brand, by guiding the customer and embodying the brand’s character. This makes a website more of an active conversation between the user and business than a static landing page.

At this point, it’s important to broaden your perception of what video is. Video is anything with a narrative or storyboard, how touch interactions, pressing into your iPhone, work with your website. UI elements, AR, VR, and subtitles all build up to a fantasy visual framework that makes a brand that customers go mad for.

UX designers and importantly Animators are at the forefront of creative thinkers who can successfully implement a VX workflow. Having an understanding of:

  • the technical elements involved but also,
  • the role of storytelling, meaning that companies should be actively seeking to integrate animators into the core of their product design team and applying a UX designer’s design thinking to their VX research.

Simplification

The cloud, thankfully, has lowered the barrier and cost of entry into animation as Designers and Animators now have better access to working collaboratively from remote locations.

Even though there is a rise in ‘digital space’, the omnipresent internet and your own online presence, it’s important to understand that technology is in fact vanishing. This is thanks to cleaner, more intuitive tools. Simply put, mobile screens now have less, if no buttons at all and are much less intrusive to our line of sight. The increase in access to windows (and by windows I mean anything from a mobile screen, to TV, to a web browser, to a shop display) has created unprecedented opportunities for animated content and this is infiltrating the physical world and how we interact with it.

A clear example of this is the 2012 reopening of the Burberry flagship store, a store that aligned its physical space with its online store to become Burberry World Live. Alongside the use of RFID tags (tags which push notifications to nearby devices and are helpful for immediate information if you’re shopping coats for example,) Burberry implemented a live stream of the Burberry catwalk shows and made it so payments can also be taken from anywhere in the store. This means that a screen is never out of arm’s length and a screen is an opportunity.

Behind every great screen should be a great animator

Over the course of the last few years, we’ve learned that people really love a GIF and a meme. With VX, there are now multiples more media assets that fit under the apex of a brand; infographics, tutorials, product videos and User Interface animations (check out uimovement.com) which need to have the viewer considered at each and every stage of production.

Key questions to consider here are:

  • Where are individual customers viewing this?
  • What do they want to see in that specific circumstance?
  • What have they just seen which would inform what they’re feeling now? What do you want them to do when they’ve finished viewing?
  • Under VX the user research needs to cover in equal parts, both physical interaction with the content and emotional reaction to the content, in order to create a flawless living design system and brand experience.
  • Does your video content surprise and delight?
  • Most importantly, does it work?

Animation not only diversifies your design and creative capabilities but heightens them. It is a vital skill for 2019 within businesses as it makes your product accessible and accessibility is always key.

VX is accessibility on steroids