Literature, movies, social media interactions, presentations, conversations, and so many other moments in our lives are filled with stories. What about classroom lectures, business reports, sales pitches, or even YouTube how-to videos? Often we don't think "story" when interacting with these latter categories, but when done right maybe we should.
Like the steps of a staircase, or the rungs of a ladder, explanation stories elevate your audience to a new level of knowledge. Lets look at the explanation video for the Android Watch.
If you are in a time crunch, check out a few examples of explanation videos at the end of this post.
Explanation Video: A Case Study on Android Watch
Illustrating the use of the watch (first 13 seconds) was a really good beginning point. Immediately I felt I was walking up the stairs toward understanding what this product was and how I might be able to use it. Having the designers there talking about the product was refreshing to me, since so often big tech companies are sort of faceless and numbing. Of course this kind of video smells of Apple --who, though maybe weren't the first to do it, certainly have taken the lead in this genre of media. I also appreciated the invitation for new thoughts and user-generated developments for expanding on the product itself. This concept is what really separates Android from Apple, and Singleton is really playing toward that strength when we see and hear him say he is "excited to see what developers do with this."
There should be less shots of the designers speaking. Sure, the video is just over two minutes, but really we aren't watching this video to see the faces of the Android team --though as I mention above that can be a positive element in the video. I want to see more shots showing how the watch is being used. This will spark the viewer's imagination as to what is possible, and beyond. I actually liked seeing Faaborg show us the watch and talk through some of its features, but again I think some power was lost when we didn't cut away to other people using and exploring with their own watches.
The Android Watch Explanation Story
Here is the video broken down in to bullet points. Definitely shorter to consume in text form, but think of all the nuances and detail lost when presented with just the bare steps of the explanation video!
The Bottom Line
Explanation videos don't have to be a talking head. They also don't have to have lots of expensive animations or graphics. They do need to be clear, focused, and straight forward enough that your audience can understand the new level of knowledge you are inviting them to stand on. In addition, a finely-crafted explanation video will also invite the viewer to consider new possibilities, see the organization or product in a new light, and spark their imagination as to how they can interact with what is being explained.
Here are a few examples I enjoyed
I am a graduate student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. I enjoy writing, hiking, and spending time with my family.