New Research Reveals Failing to Focus on Visual Communication Threatens Productivity and Engagement Levels

Millennials are transforming the workplace in many ways, but one of the most important ways is how they prefer to communicate.

However, new research commissioned by TechSmith reveals that many businesses are failing to adapt to younger workers’ preferences for more visual forms of communications.

TechSmith has been developing software solutions that help companies and individuals create and communicate with visuals for more than 25 years. As such, when we set out to research the value of communicating with visuals, we we anticipated some likely results:

  • People — especially younger workers — prefer communications that include visual content.
  • People understand and perform better when visuals are included, especially for complex ideas.

However, the results of the study were even more compelling than we expected, highlighting the extent to which visuals help everyone, not just younger workers, understand complex ideas, retain information, and carry out tasks.

The findings

In a survey of 4,500 office workers across six regions, we found that younger workers tend to prefer more visual content in their communications. They’re much more likely to use visual content to communicate on their own time (think Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.), and would prefer more visual content at work.

Additionally:

  • Millennials are twice as likely to want to use more visual communication methods at work compared to baby boomers.
  • More than 64% of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually, vs. just 7% who don’t.
  • 58% say they remember information for longer if it has been communicated visually, vs. just under 8% who don’t.
  • More than 54% say they remember more from visual content than from text alone, vs. just over 9% who say they don’t.

Companies are failing in communicating with younger workers

The research also revealed that businesses are missing the mark in communicating with younger workers, with 44% of millennials saying their company’s communications are outdated, vs. just 29% saying they’re not.

With millennials now the largest generation in the workforce, this can be a serious problem for businesses.

Visual content helps nearly everyone — not just millennials

But this goes beyond preferences. Our research reveals lack of visual communications threaten productivity and engagement levels — and not just with millennials, but with workers of all ages. In other words, everyone benefits from more visual communications.

Our study of 125 office workers performing real-world tasks found that communications that include visual content such as screenshots, screencasts, or videos are better, faster, and more engaging than text-only communications for nearly everyone in the workforce. People perform better and feel more engaged than with plain text — and that could boost productivity.

In fact:

  • Two-thirds (67%) of employees are better at completing tasks when information includes text with images (screenshots) or video than by communications featuring text alone.
  • Employees absorb information 7% faster when it’s communicated using text with static images than when it’s provided only with text.
  • Overall, companies would see an 8% improvement in accuracy by using text coupled with visuals — and a 6% improvement by using video.

67% of respondents were better at completing tasks when communicated with by video or text with static images than by text alone. 33% of respondents were not better at completing tasks when communicated with by video or text with static images than by text alone.

On a per-task basis, 7% or 8% improvement may not sound like much. But what if you think about it in terms of an entire workday, work week or an entire year?

Suddenly those small productivity gains start to add up. And that’s just for one employee. What if you have 200 employees? 2,000? 10,000?

In those terms, that could spell real consequences for the companies that fail to adapt.

Our research methodology

TechSmith helps anyone create professional, impactful videos and images to communicate and share knowledge with others, so we have a vested interest in making sure our products help people do what they need to do. A survey of our user base would have yielded results, but only from people already creating images and video.

We wanted real, independent, verifiable data on how visual content, such as screenshots, screencasts, images, and video improves communication for businesses worldwide. These particular research findings are based on the following two types of research that were conducted by external research firms:

 

The Scientific Laboratory Study

The scientific laboratory test was conducted using 125 office workers in January 2018 by award-winning doctor in behavioural economics, Dr. Alastair Goode.

Scenarios:

Each participant was asked to complete three everyday office tasks:

  • Uploading a post to a website
  • Downloading new software application
  • Filling out an expense form

Method of instruction:

For each task, one-third of the test subjects were communicated with at random by each of the following instruction methods:

  • Plain text (for example a text-only email)
  • Text with static images (for example an email with text and annotated screenshots of the tasks)
  • Video (for example a recorded walkthrough of the task with voiceover)

Participants were measured on their understanding, recall and speed, and the results for each type of communication were compared. Participants were also examined on their engagement levels and questioned on ease-of-use.

The Opinion Research

For the business opinion research, 4,500 office workers across six countries/regions were surveyed in December 2017, including – Australia (500), Canada (500), DACH region (1,000), France (500), UK (1,000), US (1,000).

The generational data was analyzed according to age and gender (split by generation: Before 1928, 1928 – 1945, 1946 – 1964, 1965 – 1980, 1981 – 1997).

How can companies easily add more visual content to communications?

Change is hard. But there are a number of ways to begin adding visual content that doesn’t require a culture shift to achieve.

We have several blog posts that provide ideas on how you can start incorporating visuals into existing workflows and processes:

 

 

What’s next?

Follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our email newsletter to learn more and ensure you don’t miss more research findings that we will be sharing throughout 2018.

 

The post New Research Reveals Failing to Focus on Visual Communication Threatens Productivity and Engagement Levels appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Add Captions to Video for Accessibility

People who are deaf or hard of hearing rely on captions to gain meaning from your video content. But there are a lot of other great reasons for using them, as well. Here’s how to add captions to video for accessibility.

What are captions?

One of the most widely-known uses for captions — closed captioning — enables people who are deaf or hard of hearing to access and understand the audio portions of a video.

While the terms “subtitles” and “captions” are often used interchangeably, there are some differences. Learn more about the differences between captions and subtitles here.

Captions provide a text-based way for people to get the audio content from your videos. Adding captions to video for accessibility should provide an accurate portrayal of any narration and/or dialogue, as well as any musical cues, relevant background noises, and/or markers that note the emotional state of the person or people speaking.

Don’t confuse captions with subtitles, though. While the terms “subtitles” and “captions” are often used interchangeably, there are some notable differences. Learn more about the differences between captions and subtitles here.

Accessible content is necessary (and the right thing to do)

According to World Health Organization (WHO), five percent of the world’s population (or about 360 million people) has disabling hearing loss. When you create video content that does not include captions, you are leaving out a significant portion of your potential audience. That’s a lot of potential lost revenue.

But let’s be clear, there’s a better reason to provide accessible content: It’s the right thing to do.

Refusing or neglecting to provide accessible content is no different than failing to provide wheelchair access ramps to your physical business. At best, you’re ignoring the needs of a significant portion of the population (and your customers). At worst, it can get you into trouble.

But don’t take my word for it. Two New York federal judges say so, too. In fact, since 2015, at least 750 lawsuits have been filed regarding inaccessible digital content, 432 of those were filed in the first eight months of 2017 alone.

Benefits beyond accessibility

As noted above, captions most commonly provide a text-based representation of any audio happening in a video, especially for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

But there are a lot of other reasons to add captions to video as well. One of the more practical reasons, especially for web videos, is so that people don’t need to have their volume turned up to understand the content of your videos.

Imagine someone scrolling through their Facebook feed and coming upon a video. As that video auto-starts, they can’t hear it because their sound is turned off. They’re far more likely to scroll past that video (and miss all your great content) than if that same video contained captions or subtitles that conveyed the dialogue or narration.

The same is true for videos playing in places where there is a lot of ambient noise. If people can’t hear your video, the captions provide the content, no matter how noisy the room.

Added bonus: Accessible content is better content

Here’s another great thing about providing captions on your videos (and providing accessible content in general): They actually make your content better. Accessible content typically requires you to better plan your content, so you’ll end up with a better product. Better planning = better content.

For example, because captioning means you’ll want to start with a script, instead of just winging it, your video is going to be better. Sure, you can probably get your point across shooting from the hip, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you take the time to actually write it all down, you’re more likely to speak more clearly and concisely, and stick to the most relevant points. Oh, and you’re also less likely to forget anything important.

How to add captions to video for accessibility

Note: If you read my recent post about adding captions and subtitles to video, the steps are exactly same. However, I’ll list them here again for convenience.

Most video editors have captioning capabilities. I’ll show the steps for adding captions in Camtasia for Mac.

Step 1a: Start with a script

This step is more about saving time than anything else (though, as noted above, it makes for better content). If the narration or dialogue in your video was read from a script, you’re already way ahead of the game. You can use your script (or transcript) to copy and paste the spoken words into the captioning editor. If you don’t have a script or transcript, skip to Step 1b.

Step 1b: Transcribe your video

If you don’t have a script, you may want a transcript of your video. There are a few ways to accomplish this. If you prefer to just type your captions or subtitles in manually, you can skip to Step 2.

  • You can watch your video and type out exactly what’s being said. This works fine if you have a short video (say, less than five minutes). But longer videos will become more difficult and will take far longer. Even the fastest typist will likely need to stop the video occasionally to ensure an accurate transcription.
  • You can send your video out for translation. There are a number of companies out there that specialize in transcription. A quick Google search will yield a ton of results.
  • Use your video editor’s speech-to-text feature. Many video editors (including Camtasia for Windows) feature speech-to-text ability for your video’s narration or dialogue. The accuracy of the transcription can be affected by a number of factors, including how much other noise is happening in the video, the overall quality of the audio and more. Overall, this is a great feature, but remember that you will definitely want to check the accuracy of the transcription before you share your video.
  • Use YouTube’s automatic transcription services. You can upload your video to YouTube and then download the transcript when it’s completed. As with any auto-transcription, you’ll want to review it carefully to verify its accuracy.

Step 2: Add a captions track to your audio track on the timeline

With Camtasia, there are a couple of ways to get started captioning. However, the easiest way is to select Audio Effects and then drag the captions effect to the audio track on the timeline.

Step 3: Add your captions to the captions track

This is where having a script or transcription really saves time. Select the caption space on the timeline and a caption dialogue box will open below the video preview and the selected portion of the video will play. Then, just copy and paste the portion of the script that’s heard in the selected caption space. You can then click the right arrow button to move to the next caption space. Repeat until you have added all the captions.

If you don’t have a transcript or script, the process is very similar. However, instead of copying and pasting the appropriate portions of the script, you’ll type the corresponding narration or dialogue into the dialogue box. Make sure that you’re typing only what you hear in each selected portion of the video.

Step 4: Review for accuracy

As with any work meant for public consumption, you’ll want to make sure it’s accurate. Once you have added all the captions (and any other necessary audio cues) to your video, review a time or two to ensure the captions match up with the dialogue or narration as perfectly as possible.

Step 5: Produce and share!

Once you’re satisfied your captions are correct, you can share your video with the world. You can produce the video with the captions directly imbedded (called “open captions“) or you can export the caption files to upload to your favorite video hosting solution.

Caption files are exported as .SRT files, which are basically text files with timecodes embedded to help video players such as YouTube, Vimeo, and others know how to sync the captions to the audio.

Note: While open captions add a very important layer of accessibility, most accessibility guidelines recommend closed captions, which allow users to decide whether or not to have the captions displayed.

Do you already add captions to video for accessibility? If not, are you ready to give it a try? Download a free trial of Camtasia and give it a go!

P.S.

Have you created a presentation recently that you want to turn into a video for wider audience? You don’t have to play the PowerPoint presentation to capture it. With Camtasia, you can directly import the PPT slides and add them to the timeline just like any other kind of media. Then, record your audio and follow the steps above to add captions for accessibility!

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How to Add Music to a Video

By now you know that video is essential to communicating with your customers. Humans are hardwired to process visual content, but adding great visuals to a video is just half the battle. A truly engaging video often includes music, as well. But where do you find music? When you find it, how do you add music to a video? Read more to learn how to add music to a video.

The right stuff

First things first. There’s a difference between adding music and adding the right music. Before you choose your music, think about what type of video you’re creating. For a video showing software or product features, you’ll probably want something upbeat and positive. You want your viewers to feel good when they’re seeing your product. Other types of videos may need something more somber. Who can forget the various animal rescue commercials that are all over our TVs? They pair sad, slow music with photos of sad-looking animals to compound the experience and — they hope — make us more likely to open our wallets to donate.

Not convinced yet? Trying imagining one of those rad videos of skateboarders thrashing out in a skate park with pan flute music instead of grungy guitars.

The right music enhances the experience for your viewers, while the wrong music can send the wrong message entirely. Check out this (admittedly) humorous video for an example of how music can change the feeling of your video.

Now here’s that same scene with different music. Notice anything different?

Where to find music

How can finding music be a challenge? I mean, music is everywhere, right? I have 70 gb of music on my iPhone right now. I’ll just use some of that music.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? Unfortunately, most of the music you own is effectively off limits. That music is copyrighted and, if you use it, you’ll owe the copyright owner money (called “royalties”) for every time someone views your video. Ever wonder why your local Applebee’s can’t just sing “Happy Birthday To You” when it’s your birthday? Same reason. Someone actually owns the rights to that song and Applebee’s would have to pay royalties every time it was sung in their restaurants.

So where do you find music you can use? Well, unless you want to compose your own music, the easiest answer lies in royalty-free music. There are a number of ways to find royalty-free music, but your best bet starts with a simple Google search.

Some royalty-free music is truly free. There are a number of sites that offer music you can simply download and use as you wish (though often for non-commercial purposes, so be sure to read the user agreement). Free music sites will also likely have a limited selection, so you may have trouble finding exactly what you’re looking for, or the music may not be as good as you prefer. That said, I have used free music on a number of occasions and been pleased with the result.

For most commercial purposes, such as product overviews, customer stories, etc., though, your best bet is a premium royalty-free music site. While the music won’t be free, it’s typically inexpensive, and you’ll have a wider range of high-quality music to choose from. Premium Beat is a popular choice (and one I’ve used myself), but there are many other premium royalty-free music sites out there, as well. Pro tip: If good music is a priority, make sure to build this cost into your video budget.

So you have your music, how do you add it to your video?

Now that you know what music you want to add, how do you do it? Luckily, most video editing software makes it easy. In fact, it’ll probably take you way more time to choose the music you want to use than it will to actually add it to your video.

I use Camtasia for Mac to create and edit videos, but most video editors will use a relatively similar process.

Step 1: Open your video

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I wanted to be thorough. In your preferred video editor, open the video project to which you want to add music.

Step 2: Import your media

In Camtasia, there are several ways to import audio and video files into your Media Bin. You can select Media from the menu, right-click in the bin, and select Import Media from the menu.

Or, you can choose File > Import > Media from the menu.

If you’re into shortcuts and hotkeys, you can choose CMD+I.

No matter which method you choose, navigate to the file you want to import, select it, and choose Import.

Step 3: Add your media to the timeline

Once you’ve imported your file, find it in the media bin, click on it, and drag it to the timeline. You can add it to a new track or add it to an existing track depending on your needs. I typically add things to new tracks by default so they’re easier to find later.

If no empty track is available, Camtasia automatically creates a new track if you drag your file to the open area above the timeline.

Step 4: Adjust the audio to fit your needs

Here’s where you’ll need to make some decisions (if you haven’t made them already). Do you want your music to run through your whole video? Is it just for the intro or the outro?

For this example, let’s assume that we want to have the audio run throughout the entire video. Since there will be narration, we’ll want to make sure the music isn’t so loud that it makes the narration difficult to hear or understand.

When you select the audio track in the timeline, a line with shading will appear. To adjust the volume, you can click on the line and drag it up or down to the desired level. The waveform in the track grows and shrinks as you adjust the volume up and down, letting you know that the volume has been adjusted.

In the Audio Effects menu, there are a additional options for adjusting audio. For example, adding a Fade Out at the end of your video can help avoid a potentially jarring abrupt ending.

Now that you know how to add music to a video, try playing around with it the next time you create a video. These were just a few basic steps to get you started, but there are a lot of other ways to edit audio to fit your needs.

Look for more on audio in future blog posts, or check out these great blog posts for more information!

Editing Videos — How to Sync Audio and Video Sources

How to Edit Video — Normalize Audio Clips & Volume

It’s Not Too Late! How to Reduce Audio Noise in Your Recordings (For Free)

Audio Best Practices

P.S. The techniques above work for adding any type of audio to a video, not just music. Whether you’re adding narration, sound effects, interviews, or other types of audio. Camtasia makes it easy to add audio to a video.

P.P.S. Remember that not everyone who consumes your video content can hear it. People who are deaf or hard of hearing — or who may choose to watch your video without sound — also need a way to consume the content without relying on audio. So, be sure to include captions with all your videos. And, if you include music, the captions should note that, as well.

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