Let’s Talk About the Benefits of Utility Films


Utility films are not a linear video sequence, but consist of short video clips in flash format linked by means of navigation elements. The user can directly select the relevant procedure from a menu and navigate in a targeted manner through the video clips.


“Why don’t you make videos?!” Who hasn’t heard this question already, for example from users or developers? In such cases, technical writers usually think of utility films. The benefit should be clear: Complex work sequences shown in video documentation show the sequence as actually performed and caught by the expert on video.

First, an interesting and yet already known statistic fact: Man has less attention than a goldfish. To consider how long a human being can concentrate on one thing is a key factor in the success of a utility film. Most online videos last between three and five minutes. Films are not just helpful for understanding. They offer new opportunities – How useful are the best operating instructions that are used by the best machine operator if he can neither read nor write? A film, on the other hand, is easy to consume, can break down barriers against complex operating instructions, and reach a larger target group.

Combining the best features

  • The action steps are shown without sound and stop automatically after each action
    so that the user can immediately put the step just seen into practice.
    utility-film-user
  • Complex steps of action are represented unambiguously and speech-neutrally
  • Translations are not required
  • Cost-effective alternative to text documentation that can be used worldwide
  • Danger of misinterpretation is quite low

Want to create one?

Mobile devices create almost unlimited possibilities for implementation scenarios for utility films. The films are, for example, embedded in PDF or HTML files or as independent applications. The creation of utility films takes five steps:

  1. Conception
  2. Storyboard
  3. Set design
  4. Movie recording
  5. Cutting / Post-production

The balance between the concept and the animation work is important for the cost analysis of the project. Security-relevant information also plays a fundamental role. One question is what DIN EN 82079 says and how the requirements of the standard can be implemented in a utility film.

And never forget: A utility film cannot replace, but only augment, the written documentation.

 P.S. As we mentioned: Because translation is not necessarily needed in utility films, we can show a German example without leaving out important details:

 

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