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The Balancing Act of Video on the Internet

Over the past year and a half there has been a surge in the amount of video available on the Internet. Sites like YouTube have become extremely popular, computers now come standard with DVD players and bundled software to view a collection of movies that were once only watched on TV Screens. Online users, especially in the younger demographics are now becoming increasingly accustomed to viewing movies & visuals away from traditional media.

Video is slowly emerging into website design. It is still a new and developing area; sites utilising online video are limited and traditionally suffer from either poor quality or high download times. A breakthrough with Internet and video came with the release of Macromedia’s Flash Version 8 which allowed designers great compression rates and most importantly facilitated streaming video within a webpage to ensure the user does not have to wait for long periods of time to view the visuals.

With the integration of this new technology video-only websites have started to emerge on the Internet. Video is often used in these websites to guide the user through the links, perform an online presentation of the product that is being sold or simply to talk to the user and read out the content of the webpage so they do not have to read.

This may sound ideal, but to cope with connection speed the site is often forced to load most of the content before launching and then load in between the separate pages of the website. The online experience, although entertaining can lead to frustration due to the slow pace and this new technology is out of bounds for outdated 56K modem users.

A balance between video and webpage can be quite successful, but it needs to be used sparingly as overuse can ultimately frustrate a user that is used to clicking and receiving information straight away.