Creating one-off videos for a given set of features or a specific release of your software can be done without planning for the future. But if you want to create a sustainable process to maintain your videos with every software release, having a strategy for your sample data is necessary for product documentation, customer education, and customer success videos.
Making Software Videos Easy
Several hundred people attended our webinar last week and there were many excellent questions asked by the audience. We thought it would be helpful to share some of the questions with you since we didn’t get to answer all of them during the live session. The full webinar recording is here if you missed it (you have to register with BrightTALK).
One of the most interesting use cases for automating video production is language translation. Very few organizations can produce software videos in multiple languages at scale, even though there is a huge demand. While many software/SaaS companies have effective translation processes for their technical documentation, offering videos in multiple languages remains an expensive and elusive format. The good news is that new technology is here to help.
Robots are creating content. The internet is full of articles about how much content is created by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and whether or not they are true, accurate or simply automated techniques to increase the rankings of social media and other web sites. Notwithstanding all this confusion, there are fantastic opportunities to apply AI in business, and increasingly we are seeing many new solutions use AI to automate human-centered processes, including software videos.
As many of you know, the DITA for Learning and Training specialization never got much traction. Without going into all of the history, it seems that by the time the specification was originally published it was already out of synch with the market. Most of the work was targeted around classroom training which had been declining in favor of “eLearning,” and while there were extensions for new elements like Learning Objectives and Multiple Choice questions, it was insufficient with regards to web-based training requirements, including interactive exercises, assessment options, SCORM, and more.
Last week I attended an excellent session by Kathleen Pierce, Patrick Bosek, and Scott Abel, “The Rise of Content Atomization to Support AI and Advanced Personalization.” One of the most important takeaways was this:
“Buyers and customers demand a personalized experience, but there are not enough writers and designers in the world to create personalization at scale.”
When you record software videos there are a lot of small decisions that impact the user experience. If your target audience will be watching videos on a mobile device as well as a laptop or desktop, simple things like the cursor size and color can make a huge difference. A cursor that is easy to follow on your monitor can get lost on a small screen. Some users prefer cursors with a different shape and color, some prefer traditional black arrows, and some prefer no cursor at all.
Our big bet in launching Videate was that text-to-speech engines would improve rapidly, and in the short time since we started the company, Amazon, Microsoft and Google have improved the quality of generated speech by several orders of magnitude. This trend will continue as many companies are investing billions of dollars in this technology, and we’re now observing a “Space Race” for generated speech that is moving very fast.
We recently conducted a few quick LinkedIn polls about the relationship between Software Videos and Product Documentation (warning: this was not a scientific survey and we are still collecting additional data). The poll questions and results were as follows:
Last week Videate presented at its first “trade show” (ConVEx) and attended a second virtual conference (CEdMA). Both were awesome and we learned a lot! It’s very exciting to be part of a new “renaissance” for both technical documentation and customer education. We can’t thank Dawn Stevens, Danielle Campbell and their teams enough! While the first conference was focused more on content and strategy, and the other on education and training, a common theme was customer experience.