Smart video on mobile

Responsive web is great, where is responsive video?

I would love to see “responsive video” become a thing. I am amazed at how much great content is available these days as video. Its wonderful. Video can be sound and pictures, enhanced with emotion. Its so easy to consume, and now, share.

But, sometimes video is so wasteful. Explore with me a couple ideas now.

With responsive design we can optimize layouts and content to take advantage of device screens. Except with video.

With video when you tap play you have a single option with dead zones (Option A above). I find that for a lot of videos, I need to turn the screen to landscape mode to be able to see the content. Why not provide a version of this video optimized for my phone in portrait orientation? 

Sure shooting, editing, hosting, deploying multiple videos is more work… but the increase in engagement and the opportunity to meet your customers where they are is huge. Has no one tried this yet?

Option A would be better by loading content that is oriented the same way as the device.

But shooting portrait videos is wrong. W.R.O.N.G.

I doubt we will see videos that are shot in both orientations and systems that are smart enough to load vertical or horizontal content anytime soon. And maybe that doesn't matter… where things get interesting is when we look at what we can do with the options.



For example with Option B imagine that the UI shifts the original video to create the primary content area or "Top Zone" from above and add the "Bottom Zone". The additional space provides a unique opportunity to share related content like a brand's logo or main sponsor. The space could also be used for closed captioning, b-roll, alternative angles, or even info about the scene.

Anything that adds value could be added to this Bottom Zone. When a viewer watched the video in portrait mode they could learn who the band is, why the video was shot, where to get the products they see on screen or even interact with the video in a way similar to SoundCloud.


Finally, in Option C, imagine that the player becomes interactive. As the video plays I can turn on closed captioning that I can actually read when the video is shrunk down to a tiny size. Often I want the sound off when I am watching something or, I can’t hear on the tiny speaker. Having the option to read the closed caption connects me to your speaker, lets me understand content faster or helps me know the lyrics to your song.

Add Interactive Tools

Make it simple to add markers to the video so I can come back to important moments later. Let me share from the video. Imagine tapping tweet, and a Tweet slides onto the screen. Add your @mention or hashtag and tap send, all while the video is playing. Finally, I think that it would be amazing to be able to add notes as the video plays. From a learning perspective, I image that I when go back and review my notes I could tap on a note it would scrub the video to the moment in the video where I took the note to allow me to review that part of the video. Interactive video would be addictive and incredibly helpful.