Comments for our new video player

1 Apr 2008 - 5:44pm
6 years ago
9 replies
1279 reads
Eugene Kim
2005

Hey all,

I was wondering if you had a second to provide some honest
critique/comments on our new IGN video player. Finding usability
studies on video was difficult and there was no time to put our own
tests into the schedule, but we drew from our experience, picked our
fights, and came up with this:

[NOTE: video will auto-play after you click on link]

http://wii.ign.com/dor/objects/748545/super-smash-bros-brawl/videos/ssbb
_vidreview_030408.html

Here are some sections we'd like feedback on:

- actual video player (controls, preferences)

- sharing the video

- hot list/channels tabs

- playlist

- UI at the end of the video

This is my first major project at IGN. I don't believe IGN has focused
on the user experience in the past so I feel this is a pretty big step
forward for us.

Thanks,

Eugene

Comments

1 Apr 2008 - 6:52pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

>
> I was wondering if you had a second to provide some honest
> critique/comments on our new IGN video player.

Your Flash player detection method seems to have some issues. I have v9
installed and I get "Please install or update your Flash Player here".

I highly recommend using either the Flash Detection Kit from Adobe or
SWFObject. In either case, use the Express Install method—makes for a much
smoother upgrade experience.

-r-

1 Apr 2008 - 7:57pm
Ari
2006

this stuff isn't as easy as it seems so kudos to anyone who gives it a shot
- especially when time or testing aren't at your disposal!

not everyone works with Hulu's resources and budgets.

anyway, everything seems to be there. i personally would have liked to see
related videos and ratings integrated into the player and some of the
social/virtual feature icons a bit larger.

i do find it a bit odd that the email video function requires registration,
however.

below is a link to the heavy.com player, which is based off one that my team
designed back in early '06. it's far from the best kid on the block but most
of the options are clear and accessible, it lets you email friends w/o
registration, related videos are accessed within the player, you can rate
the video and it gives users the choice regarding having their videos
autoplay or have viewers initiate the playback.

http://flyingyogi.com/about/cd.html

On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 6:44 PM, Eugene Kim <ekim at ign.com> wrote:

> Hey all,
>
>
>
> I was wondering if you had a second to provide some honest
> critique/comments on our new IGN video player. Finding usability
> studies on video was difficult and there was no time to put our own
> tests into the schedule, but we drew from our experience, picked our
> fights, and came up with this:
>
>
>
> [NOTE: video will auto-play after you click on link]
>
>
>
> http://wii.ign.com/dor/objects/748545/super-smash-bros-brawl/videos/ssbb
> _vidreview_030408.html<http://wii.ign.com/dor/objects/748545/super-smash-bros-brawl/videos/ssbb_vidreview_030408.html>
>
>
>
> Here are some sections we'd like feedback on:
>
>
>
> - actual video player (controls, preferences)
>
> - sharing the video
>
> - hot list/channels tabs
>
> - playlist
>
> - UI at the end of the video
>
>
>
> This is my first major project at IGN. I don't believe IGN has focused
> on the user experience in the past so I feel this is a pretty big step
> forward for us.
>
>
>
> Thanks,
>
>
>
> Eugene
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
--------------------------------------------------
www.flyingyogi.com
--------------------------------------------------

1 Apr 2008 - 8:20pm
Eugene Kim
2005

Hmm, I'll forward this onto our dev and QA teams. Do you mind sharing
which browser/OS you are using?

________________________________

From: Robert Hoekman Jr [mailto:robert at rhjr.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 4:53 PM
To: Eugene Kim
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Comments for our new video player

I was wondering if you had a second to provide some honest
critique/comments on our new IGN video player.

Your Flash player detection method seems to have some issues. I have v9
installed and I get "Please install or update your Flash Player here".

I highly recommend using either the Flash Detection Kit from Adobe or
SWFObject. In either case, use the Express Install method-makes for a
much smoother upgrade experience.

-r-

1 Apr 2008 - 8:11pm
Eduardo F. Ortiz
2008

Eugene,

I'm providing some comments, based on what you requested.

My experience with video comes from doing actual production of videos and
designing UIs to support them for different clients and audiences. In the
end, I think you just have to do what your audience requires or needs.

*- actual video player (controls, preferences)*
There is no initial player feedback indicating to the user that the video is
loading, other than the area stating the delayed playback. I think valuable
real estate is being misused by not providing the user with "what's
happening"

It's not possible for the user to move the timeline scrubber when the video
is paused - the user should have control at any point to move to a certain
section of the video (whether it's forward or backward).

The speaker icon is pretty prominent, however you can't click on it to mute
the audio, you have to decrease the audio level to 0 to do this, why not
allow this function?

While there is no standard (to my knowledge) of a "maximize" symbol, the one
being employed is not completely clear.

When going to full screen, the controls don't scale, they remain the same
size - why not scale them?

*- sharing the video*

There is no easy way (other than to select-all then copy) for the user to
copy the embed code, there could be a simple function (button or link) that
allows copies the url to the clipboard for the user.

>From the pause state, if I were to "share" when I close that item, the video
automatically starts playing, I see no need for this -- also the play icon
is displayed instead of the pause button, since now the video is playing.
(this happens for both share and download)

I also see no need to completely obscure the video, since the content
provided does not require the full width and height of the video area.

*- hot list/channels tabs*

Why not provide total time for the items being displayed here, as well as an
option to play either "low res" or "his res"?

*- playlist*

Clicking on "view all" takes me to a completely different area, disconnects
me from the UI I'm already familiarizing myself with.

*- UI at the end of the video*

The UI takes up the full width of the video area, yet the content does not
require this much real estate.

Are the recommended videos driven by tags or are they matched up manually?
Seems to me that more related videos could be offered and some sort of
scrolling/navigation could be provided to view this, in this same space.

Other than that, the player looks good.

Cheers,

Eduardo

1 Apr 2008 - 8:52pm
Eugene Kim
2005

> anyway, everything seems to be there. i personally
> would have liked to see related videos and ratings
> integrated into the player and some of the social/virtual
> feature icons a bit larger.

The playlist is actually the related videos (in this example, more
videos for the Smash Bros. Brawl game). I remember talking about the
name change with PM, but it was never implemented before launch.

Ratings are on their way, although our stakeholders can't decide
between thumbs up/down vs. 5 stars vs. 10-point scale. Currently we
use all three depending on the content. Most of our games and
entertainment objects have used the 10-point scale for many years,
thumbs are used for articles, and stars are only used for movies.
Most stakeholders prefer thumbs because they want to preserve what
little consistency we have (meaning they don't want to widely
introduce another rating system beyond movies), but one of the
stakeholders and our design group think we should use stars. Stars
are commonly used for other video/movie sites and I feel they are
fairly easy to understand.

> i do find it a bit odd that the email video function
> requires registration, however.

The purpose was to prevent being a spam engine. I feel it definitely
discourages sharing. I inquired about CAPTCHA and dev told me they
haven't gotten around to installing it yet. But perhaps there's a
temporary solution you can suggest?

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27819

1 Apr 2008 - 9:28pm
Eugene Kim
2005

Hey Eduardo, I've left out things which are duly noted or are known
bugs. Thanks for the response!

> There is no initial player feedback indicating to
> the user that the video is loading, other than the
> area stating the delayed playback. I think valuable
> real estate is being misused by not providing the
> user with "what's happening"

Are you talking about simply moving the feedback from the slider into
a more prominent position?

> The speaker icon is pretty prominent, however you
> can't click on it to mute the audio, you have to decrease
> the audio level to 0 to do this, why not allow this function?

Yup, noted. In addition, I feel the hot spots for your cursor need
to be bigger. Mousing seems to be too precise around the sliders.

> While there is no standard (to my knowledge) of a "maximize"
> symbol, the one being employed is not completely
> clear.

Someone brought this up earlier... What about spelling out "View
Full Screen"? Is that appropriate or overkill? Would a new icon
with a tooltip suffice?

> When going to full screen, the controls don't scale,
> they remain the same size - why not scale them?

Honestly, I'm not sure why it turned out this way other than I was
told the flash dev would take care of it. Part of the reason is the
politics of making everyone happy and perhaps it was deemed this
individual needed to maintain control of this portion of the UI.

> Why not provide total time for the items being displayed
> here, as well as an option to play either "low res"
> or "his res"?

The feeling here was that things were just too cramped. Our naming
convention is quite daunting and we wanted to avoid truncating for
SEO reasons. But I do see the value in total time. The PM and I
discussed using bigger thumbnails and allowing for more summary
space. This would reduce the number of columns but force the user to
scroll more. Thoughts?

> Clicking on "view all" takes me to a completely different
> area, disconnects me from the UI I'm already familiarizing
> myself with.

In the case of Images, I feel it's appropriate. We're trying to
link the user to other media they might be interested in. But for
Videos, are you talking about dynamically generating the content
within the playlist?

> Are the recommended videos driven by tags or are they
> matched up manually? Seems to me that more related
> videos could be offered and some sort of scrolling/navigation
> could be provided to view this, in this same space.

It's supposed to be videos from the related genre and was supposed
to allow the user to scroll through 30 videos. It was cut for time
reasons so hopefully we'll have it back soon!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27819

2 Apr 2008 - 9:48am
Eduardo F. Ortiz
2008

* Are you talking about simply moving the feedback from the slider intoa
more prominent position?*
Yes, but a lot more can be done in the area, that ad that appears in the
beginning (before the ui changing to display the video ui) could be
integrated, that way the user sees all of their control and understands that
before they get their video, they have to watch the ad. Something along
those lines - making it easier for the user to recognize what is happening.

*Yup, noted. In addition, I feel the hot spots for your cursor need to be
bigger. Mousing seems to be too precise around the sliders.*
Wow, I didn't even think about the hot spots - that is a very valid point.
*
Someone brought this up earlier... What about spelling out "View Full
Screen"? Is that appropriate or overkill? Would a new icon with a tooltip
suffice?*
I think that if the current icon (and all symbols that have no real
standard) are given a tooltip, it might be enough. But then again, some say
"if the user can't understand it, they won't put their mouse on top of it" -
i tend to put my cursor on top of things to better understand (this based on
me being my 1 user focus group =D)

*In the case of Images, I feel it's appropriate. We're trying to link the
user to other media they might be interested in. But for Videos, are you
talking about dynamically generating the content within the playlist?
*Yeah, that's what happened - I clicked on an image. But why would an image
be part of my playlist? I'm currently watching a video, I think mixing these
two different content types somewhat awkward unless if the images will be
loaded in the same video player UI and some controls removed/added to behave
as a slideshow. I'd expect mixed media from the hotlist / channels tabs, not
from the playlist.

2 Apr 2008 - 11:08am
Eugene Kim
2005

> *Yeah, that's what happened - I clicked on an image.
> But why would an image be part of my playlist? I'm currently
> watching a video, I think mixing these two different
> content types somewhat awkward unless if the images
> will be loaded in the same video player UI and some
> controls removed/added to behave as a slideshow.
> I'd expect mixed media from the hotlist / channels
> tabs, not from the playlist.

Ok, would it make a difference to you if there was some visual
separation between the "Playlist" (which I'll change to Related
Videos) and the Images/More info sections?

Thanks again.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27819

2 Apr 2008 - 10:56am
Matthew Loff
2007

The other contributors' critiques hit on great points... So rather than
reiterate, I thought I'd share this:

http://www.dipdive.com/dip-politics/ywc/

I randomly came across this last night. Of all the flash video players I've
seen, this has one of the most responsive UIs (example: dragging the time
slider immediately provides "Loading ... %" feedback).

Interesting (albeit off-topic) side-note: even though full-screen video
support seems to be built into the Flash plug-in, the URL above is one of
the -only- flash video players I've come across that actually does
full-screen video under Linux. Even Youtube doesn't so it. Strange!?

Regards,
Matt

... Something along those lines - making it easier for the user to recognize
> what is happening. ...
> ... Mousing seems to be too precise around the sliders. ...

... What about spelling out "View Full Screen"? Is that appropriate or
> overkill? Would a new icon with a tooltip suffice?* ...
>

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