Interactive Video Tips: How to create and leverage menu-driven IVs [Week 3]

by Basho Mosko |

The term Interactive Video can be used to describe a number of types of online experiences. From Red Bull’s Gives You Wings microsite to Deloitte’s engaging recruitment video, video integrated into website content has not only become ubiquitous but the line between video and website are also blurring. The fundamentals of an Interactive Video, which we dove into a few weeks ago in our What is an Interactive Video post, stay consistent throughout these online experiences, leaving many clients wondering what the best type of Interactive Video for their initiative is.

A menu-driven Interactive Video performs much like a website, allowing viewers to navigate through content to get to the information they’re looking for. With clear navigation links, back buttons, and one-click access to return to a menu, this design of Interactive Video lends itself well to content-heavy video experiences and can result in exponentially higher engagement times.

In this post we’ll go over menu-driven Interactive Videos (IV) and the projects that lend themselves to success with this format. But first, let’s take a look at how to create a menu-driven IV.

The how-to

Creating a menu-driven IV is more akin to building a website than it is to creating a linear video. You need to consider how users will be coming into the project, how many options to offer on the first menu, where each option will lead them, and how to keep your message coherent and powerful throughout. Let’s start with the basics.

Step 1: Wireframe
Instead of a standard storyboard, it’s helpful to start with a wireframe if you’re creating a menu-driven IV. Where do linked buttons go from and to, and what is the end-user experience?

Step 2: Narrative vs. informational snippets
Do you want to tell a cohesive story with your video, or are you just organizing video information in a way that’s more engaging and entertaining? If your goal is to tell a cohesive story with video, you’ll have to consider how different clips link to one another and how you get back to the main storyline. The Deloitte recruiting video we mentioned above is a great example. Below is an image of Deloitte’s project in the Rapt Media editor, which gives you an idea of how it was constructed.

If your goal is just to organize information in a more engaging way, each clip can be a standalone segment and it matters less how you link all the segments. Of course, it needs to be logical, useful, and easy to understand.

Step 3: Shooting strategy
A comprehensive shot list is very useful as you’ll need to shoot more content for an Interactive Video than you would with a linear one. Think about keeping settings similar and doing multiple takes of alternate scene endings at the same time to save on confusion and production costs. Try to be judicious with footage as you’re already shooting for multiple video “pages,” and pay attention to the setting, lighting, and audio environment to be consistent.

Step 4: Shoot, edit, build, publish, and iterate
Once you’ve done all the pre-production, the rest will go fairly quickly. Though it will likely take longer to capture the additional footage, your shoot should otherwise be like any other standard shoot. Base your editing on the wireframes for clips in the IV, and building the project should be the easiest part of the experience. Publish, test, review, share, iterate, test, review, share… until you have a tight product.

Step 5: Share with the world!
Once you’ve built your video, it’s time to share it with the world. When your video starts getting views, and if you’re using an Interactive Video platform like Rapt Media’s, the next step is to sit back, relax, and monitor your video’s analytics.

If you’re looking for some ideas to get started, the following are examples of great opportunities to leverage a menu-driven Interactive Video.

What kind of content would benefit from a menu-driven Interactive Video?

1. Product or technical demo
If you’ve ever bought a new smarpthone, you’ve likely gone online or to a brick and mortar store and been completely overwhelmed with the many choices. How do all the phones compare? Is iOS better than Android? How many gigabytes of memory do you need? Do you need unlimited data? The list goes on and on. Now, imagine a tablet-powered kiosk and an online portal that welcomes visitors and asks them what devices they’re interested in.

Viewers click on those devices and receive a personalized walk-through from a knowledgeable expert. Imagine a virtual Blue Shirt asking you if you’d like a quick overview, if you’d like to learn how to take and send photos, or if you’d like to check quick technical specifications. The viewer is in complete control of the experience, and is able to navigate backward, forward, or return to the main menu to change their device selection and start the product learning process from the beginning.

2. Tutorials or e-learning
With menu-driven IVs you can bake questions into the actual video and capture user responses as you go. The video responds to user input to inform subsequent content, and tiered menus can represent different subject areas, topical areas, or access to additional information. If you incorporate session cookies and LMS export, menu-driven tutorials can also offer the opportunity for a viewer to pick up where they left off and complete a course over time without having to sift through pages of video thumbnails or re-watch any content.

3. HR or corporate communications
Anything that requires rapt attention from an audience lends itself to a menu-driven IV. If you have any compliance-driven video tutorials, it’s much easier to track user engagement with regular choice points within the video project. Menus provide an increased level of user participation without forcing the viewer through one path or another. As a content creator you’ll be able to track how viewers navigated to different sections of the content, making it possible for you to analyze what and how much content is being viewed.

4. Content-heavy microsite
If your organization has a ton of high-impact content and you’re interested in facilitating greater ease of navigation through that content, menus can help group associated content and highlight common themes much more effectively than video playlists. Take the Welcome To Banshee microsite for example. There are over 75 clips of related content plus additional media assets to browse through and yet it is all presented in a unified player that puts the viewer in charge of the experience.

5. Audience segmentation
If your business offers a number of products or services to a number of verticals, you don’t want to muddle your message by having dozens of separate pages of content with embedded videos. One IV project on a landing page can offer users of various demographics a universal value proposition, and then empower them to self-segment to find out more about their specific vertical. Read more about IV and self-segmentation here.

The takeaway

Menu-driven Interactive Videos can benefit a number of content situations. From making a product or technical demo easier to understand to ensuring that employees are actually reading and comprehending corporate and HR communications, menu-driven Interactive Video is an easy way to engage viewers.

Have any questions about Interactive Video you’d like answered? Drop them in the comments below and we’ll add them to our list of IV Tips. See you next week!

Missed last week’s IV Tips? Check it out here: What is the ideal length of an Interactive Video?

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