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The Arts and Crafts Movement of WebcastingPay attention to the minor details to improve streaming
Here are some simple yet detailed tips to help improve your webcast.
Tip 1: Make it easy to find
One of the most frustrating things for an end user is finding things on your site. Navigation is the first area that you can work on to help guide the viewer to your streaming media. Create a link on a front page, or having a menu item devoted to streaming media are possible solutions. When it comes to creating links, make sure you are using standard conventions. Ninety percent of all Internet surfers are accustomed to associating a blue underlined word with a link to something. By changing this convention, you run the risk getting your audience lost.
If you create a page on your site devoted just to streaming media, make sure that the most current stream can be found in the top half of the page. Make it stand out. Give a description of the program, what it is about, and how long the show runs. Adding a still image from the show could also hook the viewer into clicking the link and watching your stream. If need be, have two or three of your most current streams on one page (complete with details), and have all others on an archive page. The page will load faster and there will be less "stuff" for the viewer to take in, thus directing their attention to the item(s) that are most important.
The more a person has to look for your streaming media, the more likely they will get tired of hunting and move on to other sites.
Tip 2: Make it worth their time
The reason you are using streaming media is because it is the best way for you to get your message across. If a viewer is taking the time to find your streaming media, clicking the link to your media, possibly having to install a media player, and waiting for the buffer to fill before the stream begins, it better be worth their time. I have often written (and spoken) at length about how story is king, and how the lack of story is a waste of valuable time. Every webcast should have a beginning, a middle, and end. This idea works if you are streaming a staged production, a newscast, a tutorial, or even a high school basketball game. A webcast that lacks one of these, will leave the audience confused or disappointed, and will often cause them to look elsewhere for their content.
In addition to creating a story, a webcast should have some kind of perceived value to the viewer. What can they get out of watching your webcast that they couldnt get out of reading an article about the same thing? The reason a tutorial is streamed is because it shows step by step how a process is done that might be confusing for someone who is trying to follow along in text. The viewer has gotten more value from the stream than from text. A college football game is streamed so alumni or fans that are outside of a listening area can participate, and feel they are still a part of that event. In this case a personal value is placed on the stream.
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