Video tutorial or text

This is a human translation of the Catalan version.

At Mendeley we did a Web application to edit styles. It’s a complex topic, and we had to create some examples documenting how to use it.

We thought if we had to use text or some videos. I prefer text (HTML Web). I prefer it for who is doing it and for who uses it (in general, indeed).

As a user, the reasons to prefer text are:

  • If I’m playing some background music I have to stop to play the video
  • If I don’t have the earphones handy, I need to search for them
  • If it’s a text, it’s easy to skip some parts based on titles, subtitles. It’s more difficult to do it on video
  • It’s easier to search some text in a text document than some words in a video
  • Text is easier to understand if the reader/listener is not fluent in the language of the documentation
  • Text uses less megabytes than video (in general speaking)
  • Text is more accessible (blind, deaf users) than video

Indeed, sometimes the video is more visual (a video about how to change photos is probably easier to follow than text and images). But who knows, with enough screenshots…

On the other hand, as a documentation creator:

  • Text and screenshots are easier to do than video. Video needs to be done in one shot mainly
  • Text and screenshots are easier to edit, change between versions of the product, etc. (video is more difficult to change, harder to update)
  • Same as before: fix a typo is easier than fixing the video

I’m sure that I left some things, but videos are more difficult to update and don’t reach everyone (people with different languages, accessibility, etc.)

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