Design a Site for Video Views
Make no mistake: Video is a key ingredient in the success of Apple’s devices. Industry experts dubbed Netflix as the killer app of the iPad because it offers the capability to stream movies in surprisingly good quality. Anyone who has whiled away the hours on a coast-to-coast flight has found that even the small iPhone screen is a great way to catch up on missed episodes of a favorite show.
When designing your website for mobile, remember that most savvy Internet users have watched at least some videos by now. That means they’re likely to know how online videos are supposed to work — and how videos are not supposed to work.
Your site design can assure visitors your videos are worth the download time and will deliver what you promise. If you combine well-designed pages with optimized video and add an exciting, well-written description, your users are much more likely to feel comfortable committing to watching your video.
When you add video to your mobile site, abide by these simple guidelines:
Deliver video in the right format. If your visitors can’t view your videos, you’re in trouble from the start. The best way to make sure you deliver the best video to every device that may visit your site is to use a video hosting service, such as Vimeo or YouTube.
If you host the video on your own server, the MP4 format is a good choice for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
Describe the value of videos. Tell your users the benefit of choosing to invest their time and attention in your video. On mobile, even a video of modest length can take a long time to load and play. As you see, actor Yuval David hosts his video on the Vimeo hosting service.
When Yuval embeds the video with special code provided by Vimeo, the buttons in the top right of the preview frame automatically appear, adding the options to like, share, and embed videos.
Make the video easy to play. Tapping on the right place on a small iPhone screen is hard enough — don’t make your users fumble around for the link or control to make your video play. Make sure that Start, Stop, and Pause buttons are easy to activate with a fingertip on the iPhone and iPad.
Show the length and file size of the video. Be upfront about your content; tell your users how long the video runs and the size of the file. When you use a hosting service, such as Vimeo shown in the figure, the length of the video is automatically calculated and made visible in the player. (As you can see, the actor’s video clip is only 52 seconds long.)
Better to have users bookmark your page to view later on a desktop than to frustrate them with a sluggish download — or to infuriate them by eating up their monthly data transmission allowance.
Mobile users are likely to be in a hurry, travel in and out of cell coverage, or pay by the byte for the data you send them (or all three). You should give them the confidence that you won’t abuse their trust by sending them massively long and irrelevant material.