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Video tutorial best practices

Things to remember

Simplicity is key for instructional content. The user’s eye can only focus on one thing at a time. 

It is tempting to make full use of a video editor’s capabilities and add flourishes. Unfortunately, while they are pleasing in videos designed more fully for entertainment, they are distractions in tutorial videos. 

  • Novelty transitions and zooms should be used sparingly.
  • If you need the user to look at a particular part of an image, highlight the screen, then simply cut to the enlarged image.
  • Center important images and use images in sequence rather than adding many to a screen.

Further considerations for aesthetics

Avoid using years or any information that can make a video feel outdated, even if the information contained in it remains accurate.

  • For example, the original OpenAthens video mentions a transition away from proxy servers that occurred in 2018. When the video was released, this was timely information; in subsequent years, this information becomes increasingly dated.  

As the Library, Georgia Tech as a whole, or the vendors and publishers who provide library resources refresh their branding, videos that use templates, screenshots, icons and other graphics can soon look outdated.

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Not everyone is going to like how something looks, but folks can usually pinpoint when something is a distraction versus purely not to their taste. Ask for peer review around distracting elements.

Branding and visual consistency

Georgia Tech provides video templates for use, including tutorials on how to use them. While these are not required at this time, they are available.  

Georgia Tech provides extensive templates and visual cues for branding. Use these as necessary.