The majority of web content is consumed on mobile telephones.
Those phones are held in a vertical position.
The majority of mankind is right handed.
So the phones are usually held in the left hand, with the right hand doing the tapping and clicking.
This means when a widescreen video is shown on a web page it is at a very much reduced size.
To see a fuller rendition the viewer is forced to turn the phone to a horizontal position.
So the viewer has to make an effort. We are naturally lazy.
So demanding effort of someone else can be counterintuitive.
Perhaps that’s sub-optimal practice?
Although not consciously thinking it, the message could be inferred as…….
“You want me to watch your little movie on my phone but you need me to turn it around to do that?”
So the viewer’s immediate experience and association of your offering is not necessarily a positive one.
It also means there is an interruption before a play button is tapped or clicked.
This opens the way for the viewer to be distracted by something outside the little world you’ve enticed them into.
It also means they have the choice:-
#1 To take a break and do something else before watching your video.
#2 To not turn their phone around and move onto somebody else’s content.
In either scenario there’s the possibility they will not watch your video.
POPULARITY OF THE VERTICAL FORMAT
Two of the most popular social media channels primarily use “vertical” format to display their content.
“It went viral on [insert name of channel/brand]”.
This is why social media channels predicated on wide screen formats are encouraging the use of vertical format.
They go under different names
but that’s driven by sales spiel, brand loyalty, market share and keeping shareholders happy.
It’s playing catch-up in a world where most content is consumed in a vertical format.
Now we’ve established that it’s a vertical world – let’s take a bit of time to think about the experience.
I am minded that, for many, a mobile phone is a highly-valued personal possession.
Younger viewers they may not own any other asset – so their phone is their prime possession. Their pride and joy. Their gateway to the web.
Showing respect for other people’s property is perhaps too easily dismissed as “an old fashioned” value.
It is therefore often only associated with the physical world.
But in much of the digital world the same values still hold true.
Just because it’s digital, doesn’t mean it’s any less true.
REFLECTING REAL LIFE
Sight and visual is our primary sense for most of us.
Only in rarefied places is it experienced in a static environment. For example, in an art gallery.
For most of the time we see things in the context of a world that is moving.
We may be focussed on one thing. But the background is dynamic.
This should be reflected in the digital world. In the vertcal window of the mobile phone.
This is where “square” comes into play.
Ideally a square video will play in the centre of a vertical screen.
What surrounds it should create the context of this little world into which you have invited, coerced or tempted your viewer.
The video’s surrounding will create a barrier from the viewer leaving –
or, more positively, make it more likely they will continue watching what you’re offering
If your video fills the screen you have taken over their highly-valued, very personal possession. It’s rude.
And the next thing they see is the real world outside that screen.
And that’s possibly where they will go next.
IDEAL SET UP
In the left-to-right viewing world the navigation should appear to the top right of the screen.
It will be tapped or clicked with the index finger of the right hand.
So no distraction of moving a hand across the screen.
No break in viewers’ sight of their screen.
Below that a few words.
Then your square video.
Then more information and/or your call-to-action eg. “See More”, “Buy Now”
The “industry standard” for videos is set out as ratios and popular sizes.
Ratios 16:9, 1:1, 9:16.
Sizes 1920 x 1080 pixels, 1080 x 1080 pixels and 1080 x 9120 pixels.
There are variants but these are the mainstream offerings.
Reducing these by 50% can lead to an unacceptable degradation of quality.
The actual % and quality is an individual’s choice.
As with most things in life it’s a matter of finding a balance.
My balance is with sizing my square videos at 714 x 714 pixels.
The key benefits of adopting the 714 format are the resource savings.
Hard drive space, file size, upload and download speeds.
I have a web site devoted to this at https://vi714.com
Perhaps give your self a break and go visit it?
REUSING 714 FORMAT SQUARE VIDEOS
One big advantage of square videos is that they can easily be embedded in canvasses for platforms that favour the vertical and widescreen formats.
This is where I have found a crude 50% of the “industry standard” sizes works well.
So in place of 1080 x 1920 pixels….we use 540 x 960 pixels.
In place of 1920 x 1080 pixels I use 960 x 540 pixels.
Placing the square video in the centre of these frame, and reducing its size to around 94% allows for “toping and tailing”. Perhaps something as simple as a logo or URL, above and below (vertical) or on each side (widescreen).
Why the centre?
Because, often, when a video is shared outside of its native platform it can be that only the central part of the original item is carried forward to that other platform.
KEEPING CONTROLS SEPARATE FROM CONTENT
Many video players’ controls interrupt a viewer’s sight of the video. This is OK for the mass market. And may be I am a purist on this.
I believe that controls should stand clear of the main video. They should allow the viewer to retain control. After all, it is likely your video is being watched on their mobile phone.
So you are a guest they have invited into their (digital) property.
I have added many of my square video outputs with such controls to my web site at https://minivideopages.com Please visit it to form your own opinion.
ATTRACTION ~ RETENTION ~ DIRECTION
These are three cardinal objectives that inform my video making and web page content.
I invented the Kefi Link Icon in May 2022 as an experiment to promote all three.
I’m using them here to help with the flow and readability of the text. Using them myself hopefully adds an element of credibility.
More about this can be found on my site https://kefilinkicon.com
SUMMARY AND NEXT STEPS
So in adopting the square 714 format for vertical mobile phone viewing you are:-
=> showing respect for your viewers’ property;
=> demonstrating courtesy by allowing your viewers to retain control of their phones;
=> mirroring the real world in the digital experience;
=> encouraging Attention, Retention and Direction;
=> shrinking the time you take from video concept to your published output.
Next steps – to emulate my efforts you may wish to consider (i) setting yourself up with self-hosted WordPress and video hosting (ii) getting hold of a copy of Socrates WordPress Theme and Plugin (iii) making your videos initially in square 714 format (iv) presenting them as for a vertical environment.
If this grabs you as something doable and you’d like a hand getting set up…then please free to get in touch.
A FINAL THOUGHT….
The thought had crossed my mind whilst writing this piece that it was about Square Videos and Vertical Presentation.
Square AND Vertical + IST and/or ISM………….
I did a search engine query for “SANDVISM” and “SANDVIST”.
It seems I may have invented a new term?
24 July 2022
You may be interested in seeing what other “out of the box” ideas I have taken action on….I corially invite you to visit https://kefiweb.com https://minivideopages.com https://vi714.com https://kefilinkicon.com