Conference organizers and marketers: Stop displaying your video interview questions as text.

James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,618
edited August 2016 in Type Business
In the last few years there’s been a wonderful trend of interviewing designers and academics at design conferences. These videos are often professionally shot and editing. This is helping to address a problem caused by the proliferation of conferences: ideas presented at conferences don’t always get published in journals. 

But many of these videos share a common flaw: the questions are not asked. At least, they are not asked on video. Questions are edited out and shown on screen as text. This is bad for several reasons. First, people with visual and cognitive disabilities may not be able to read the text at all, or at least not without pausing. This problem is compounded in rural areas or developing nations where users may have a slow connection that reduces video quality and makes reading harder. Second, just because people speak English fluently doesn’t mean they read it fluently. So the interview is broken up between easy to understand speech and taking a break to read. Third, it requires anyone watching long videos to literally watch the entire video so they don’t miss a question. This makes it hard for people to listen to interviews while working, driving, etc..

Conference organizers and marketers, please kill this trend and bury it. And re-edit the videos so people can hear the questions asked. Your organizations will not be around forever. In twenty years most of your conferences, and the boards that managed them, will be gone. The videos will still be around, but the original files lost, and nobody will have a clue how to go about fixing this mess. Please clean it up now.


  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,080
    I don't like this trend either, mainly because of your third reason. But, it seems quite likely that in twenty years your video player would be able to read any text on screen to you if you want or need it to. Until then, sure.
  • Please remember that not everyone can hear these videos. All of them should be fully subtitled/close captioned for those with hearing impairments. And I don't mean relying on the god awful Google captioning, which leads to more confusion than help, especially when dealing with specialized topics with specialized vocabulary. 
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,134
    edited August 2016
    I think much of the problem is, who is going to do the work?  Since it is all volunteer, we just have to hope there are actual volunteers to ensure that presentations are, preserved and properly inclusive of all audience segments.  This is a tall task for conference organizers who are by then exhausted from putting the conference together.
    Perhaps if a small fee were charged to cover expenses of proper handling of the videos?
  • I'd rather get decent videos at the end than conference swag, if it's about allocating money.
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