Increased awareness

We increased awareness of the Autism Videos @ ACT project this year. Comparing Jan 1- March 10th 2016 to Jan 1- March 10th 2017:

  • 250% increase in videos played (users clicked “play” 3,700 times)
  • 309% increase in video finishes (1,800 users watched to the last frame)
  • 191% increase in the number of hours of videos watched; (users watched 22 days and 7 hours of video)

The old platform was too many clicks,so we replaced that in January with a much simpler platform. I’ve also been increasing marketing through our newsletters and social media, and that’s paid off.

Giving myself a gold star for this one.



Now with fewer clicks

video-front-pageThis month, we retired the online videos platform that was built according a wireframe that I designed. I was a bit saddened, but the feedback was that there were far too many clicks required to navigate. I reminded myself that the version we retired was better than the one before that, and so we learn and evolve.

The new look and feel is up now ( and it is much cleaner; when you open each video, each chapter is there on one long page, with the supplemental materials below.

Online Videos project; 2016

It was a crazy fall, writing up a reply to an RFP for our operational contract, and so as part of that, we created a summary of some of the work done on the Online Videos project (with of course the caveat that our Survey 2016 results tell us that there are entirely too may clicks to watch a video).

Autism Videos @ ACT (AVA) – 2016 in review

Online Videos

Autism Videos @ ACTProject management for the free online videos (Autism Videos @ ACT).

Key changes include;

  • editing five hour videos into 5 to 20 minute chapters to help with browsing and accessibility. I identify all edits, name chapters and coordinate with professional video editor for the final product.
  • wireframed new video platform for professional developer, including page structure and navigation.
  • selected online streaming platform based on price, statistical interface and the look and feel.
  • writing, organization and initial design of Autism Videos @ ACT Handout, used for marketing. Final design done by contracted designer. All printing coordinated through external printing.

Metadata and streaming videos

So I’m the first to ask about Metadata on our instructional videos (yay for me!). And now what?! I know how to add the metadata, that’s not an issue. But what metadata is useful and suits my purposes?
The videos are streaming, and behind a login, so my objective is not to use the metadata for searching. I  mostly I want the metadata so that we have a couple of bits of information for our own purposes and also so that if someone DOES pirate/steal it, then at least the metadata states our ownership.
The videos range from 1 to two hours, and are a head and shoulders + slides video recording of a  face to face presentation.
The metadata options I was given, and the fields I chose to fill out are:

·         Album:

·         Artist:

·         Author:  ACT – Autism Community Training [that’s us!]

·         Comment:  workshop delivered [date here]

·         Copyright:  Copyright belongs to ACT – Autism Community Training. This video is not available for distribution. [that’s my fancy threat/warning]

·         Description:

·         Title:  [title of workshop and presenter name]

·         Information:

·         Keywords:

·         Producer:

·         Software:


I think in this case, the limited amount of metadata is warranted. It’s for our purposes only – and if we were to find out any videos were pirated, we’d be able to point to the metadata for ownership (I know, a hacker could remove the metadata, but would they bother?).


Video record this!

Recording workshops or speakers is pretty easy these days, and sometimes it seems like an easy fix. Digital video is very accessible and doable by novices. Video cameras are cheaper than ever, and getting better at dealing with low light, so that you need less setup and materials. Recording is also simpler than ever, with far fewer settings and no dangerous chemicals, so that an educated novice can set up and record. My MacBook has the software for video editing, and sites like YouTube make video omnipresent in our online surfing.

There is still lots of room for experts in recording and editing, but the point is that it’s easy for a confident novice to do a basic job.

The advantages to providing online video are tempting. The videos are accessible to a distributed population. This is particularly tempting in a country with vast spaces between urban centres and long winters that make travel expensive, dangerous or at least uncomfortable. They’re accessible to people who have difficulty getting child care (this is particularly important to my users, many of whom have children with autism), or people for whom English is not their first language. The ability to stop, rewind and watch again is invaluable to any one who gets interrupted on an ongoing basis, or needs to review to make sure they understand.

Easy, right?

I have just a few questions, however. I want the videos to be useful and engaging. I want our viewers to learn from the videos, to recommend them to their friends, to provoke new ideas and actions. And my job, in part is to ask questions:

  • What can I add to a recording to make it more engaging?
  • How do we measure success? How do we know it’s helpful for users?
  • How long should the blocks of video be?
  • What do we cut, and what do we keep in the editing stage?
  • How do we frame the shot? How many different views or angles to we need?
  • What are the potential technological limitations of our users that we have to account for?
  • How do we prevent people from downloading and sharing the videos?

How much will all this cost?

These are questions that won’t have a definitive answer and so I’ve volunteered to host a discussion about these questions and more in an online community. I was honest with the organizer, and told her that I was volunteering so that *I* could learn (grin).