2 min read

The Next Big Thing for Software Videos

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We just launched our new Videate Chrome Extension that allows you to automatically create UI selectors directly from your application. Think of a selector as a pointer to a specific UI element in your app. Sounds techie and you may ask, “why is this so important?”

Simply stated, this eliminates the need for us to help you remediate errors when the video rendering engine can’t figure out exactly what to do next. You can now quickly fix any missing data or navigation anomalies yourself and continue rendering the video. It speeds up video production by another order of magnitude.

When you upload a document to Videate, we try to automatically create these selectors for you. But sometimes there are ambiguities and the new Videate Chrome Extension (VCE) allows you to use your application to generate Videate instructions that can be pasted into your source documents. Prior to this, you (or we) would have used the browser developer tools to identify which selector to use. We have now removed another barrier to the self-service model.

As you can see in the picture above, you can choose from five different formats to create the exact annotation you need depending on your document source.

  1. Word [markdown] - These are added as comments to Word or Google docs.
  2. XML Processing Instructions - These can be added to your DITA source documents.
  3. XML Comments - These can be added to your DITA source documents, alternatively.
  4. Spiel Native - These will work with most XML editors.
  5. SSML <mark> - These can be added directly into the Videate Spiel editor.

When you right-click on an element, we highlight the selection in the color you chose, save the specific instruction in the specified format, and copy it to your clipboard (in addition to displaying it in a toast message in our application). You can then paste the generated instruction into your source document so it will know exactly what to do in the future with every new release.

Here are a few use cases where the VCE comes in handy:

  1. If your documentation does not specify the data to use for a particular field or drop-down, you can use VCE to right-click and select from the list of values or type in the data you want to use. You can also externalize the data as we mentioned in an earlier article.
  2. If you want videos in multiple languages, VCE will let you add the specific click paths for each language directly in the script. Videate recently created some new Spanish and French videos and the team making them spoke neither language. And when the videos were shared with native language speakers, the reviewers said they were excellent.
  3. If you only have audio transcripts of your existing videos prior to Videate, you can now quickly tag the text in the transcripts and turn them into sustainable, maintainable videos for the future.
  4. If in the process of making videos of your application, Videate finds multiple occurrences of the same selector and chooses the wrong one, you can fix it by selecting the correct one. For example, there could be two Save buttons, with the Save on a modal overlaying another Save on the underlying page. If we chose the wrong one, you can use VCE to select the right one and generate the proper markdown for your source document.

If you have a new UI project coming up in the next few months, or want to make videos in other languages, or just went through a merger (company name) or product name change, it’s a good time to consider a proof of concept with Videate. We now use VCE with every POC as well. The Videate Chrome Extension is the next “Big Thing” for automated video production!

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