Why we prefer video for our client user test reports

hands gesturing at a desk with laptop notebook and phone

According to Dr James McQuivey at Forrester Research, "a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words” (here are his calculations). He said this in 2014 and whilst the statistic itself might not be quite 100% accurate four years on, there’s no doubt that video is king when it comes to storytelling.

Knowing this, it follows that video is an effective means to communicate problems to your clients. In our case, when we present feedback we often put together highlight reels of our user tests. These run for about 3-4 minutes each and highlight a particular page or pain point found during their testing. It’s easier for a client to accept that their favourite website function just doesn't work when they see a  clip of users struggling, rather than just expecting them to take our word for it.

Let’s look at the positives

For a start, a video is much better at conveying participants’ emotions than text. It can show off features and functionality in a way static images fail to. It's also more difficult to dispute the results when video evidence is staring you in the face, as I mentioned earlier. And let's be honest, a video is more interesting than looking at numbers and words on a presentation. And this means those viewing it are more likely to be engaged and value the work you’re presenting.

Different people pick up information in different ways. Some are more visual and others more data focused. By including video you can cover a wider spectrum of learner types.

An impactful medium

Video does a great job of showing the full impact of an issue. Nothing motivates change quite like witnessing a user struggle to complete a simple task on your own product or website, often with colourful language and irritated mouse clicking as the soundtrack.

Sure, putting these videos together does take some extra time but I believe the results are worth it. Clients will see with their own eyes what a difference good UX can make - and how it can positively impact the satisfaction of their customers and their profits!

If you want to put together your own highlights you’ll need something to record your sessions. Personally, I use Zoom when I moderate user tests and record the sessions using Camtasia. I’ll record the entire session and then import the footage into Premiere Pro. From here you’ll want to decide how you’ll cut your footage. You could do it page by page or by theme. Your videos should probably not run any longer than 3-4 minutes whilst also giving multiple users a chance to show their experience and speak their views. And finally, be objective. Editing by its very nature is selective, so try to give the fairest representation of your findings.

The next time you present a report to a client consider saving yourself the bother of writing a couple million words. Choose video instead.

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