Video vs. Text Online News
I’m, admittedly, somewhat of an information junkie. I crave news, trivia, facts – some useful, most not. So, during the day, during my limited free time, I find myself frequenting most of the information heavy-hitters online: CNN, ESPN, Digg, BBC, Fark, etc. Lately, I’ve been noticing an increasingly annoying trend: video-only articles. CNN may be the worst offender. If you’re unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, I’m referring to the recent (last year or so) infusion of news stories being presented online in video-only format, instead of text. Why, do you ask, is this such a big deal? Well – when you only have 10-15 seconds to spend on each story that interests you before the angry
townspeople users of your company mob you with more IT questions, being able to consume information as quickly as possible is key.
Typically, (I just timed myself,) I can glean the information I want from a normal-length news article in around 10 seconds. The typical video on CNN seems to average 9 times that in length. So, instead of just rushing through an article to find out why Beavis and Butthead are back, I have to watch a 32 second advertisement for Nissan, THEN a 6 minute video from CNN. This is not quite efficient… Not only that, but it makes me start taking my browser elsewhere – somewhere that takes the time to transcribe even their video-only stories. (ESPN does this – articles associated with videos still show a text version of the article.)
I understand that multimedia is king. But humans spend the vast majority of their waking lives behind a desk. (Most in a cubicle farm.) If you want visitors – give them something quiet and unobtrusive. Not a blaringly loud ad for Tide laundry soap.