It is probably fair to say that most of the input collected in research communities and diaries today is text-based. User-created videos are a powerful addition. They provide additional context, open access to more unbiased insight – and can make the outcome of a community or diary project more vivid and vibrant.
Here are five ways to use them to your advantage in a project:
1. Video introduction
A short video introduction of project participants makes to project a more personal experience for researchers, observers, and participants from the start. In multi-language projects we can separate user created-videos per language and arrange them as a video wall, making it easy to identify similarities and differences.
2. Signature statement or video summary
To ask participants to provide a wrap-up, a signature statement, or a summary of their project participation as a video can be an interesting change in perspective and provide additional context. A selection of such videos can be used in project presentations to make the results more vivid and accessible.
3. Asynchronous video interview
In a project, it is also possible to provide participants with a structured set of questions that they can answer one after the other with short video statements. Online (and mobile) diaries can contain or be fully used as a structured, asynchronous question/video interview. After participants have answered the questions with their videos, researchers can watch the results and probe per text (and even with a video) whenever they have the opportunity to do so.
4. Ethnographic video (in-home and on-premises)
Self-recorded videos are a powerful ethnographic immersion tool with low entry barriers. Participants can tour their homes, show relevant areas of their households, gardens, balconies, garages, and driveways on their premises, the exterior or interior of their car or boat, etc.
5. In-the-moment video
A special type of ethnographic task and exercise is an in-the-moment video. From unboxing and installation videos to reporting problems and obstacles – in-the-moment videos zoom researchers and observers instantly into the moment-of-truth of product, service, or app usage. Additional benefit: Participants do not need to describe what happens, they can demonstrate it – a great advantage when it comes to technical and performance issues of products and services.
Whatever innovative use of user-created videos comes to your mind: Most important for participant acceptance of video tasks and exercises in communities and diaries are low usage entry barriers and solid technical performance. We have fully integrated video recording into our platform: The device the participant uses is automatically detected. The user is automatically guided through the process of recording, reviewing, and uploading the final video into the platform. The feature is widely accepted and has been successfully used across age groups and with a wide range of audiences in many countries.