I was watching a great video yesterday. It was posted on Vital MTB, and was a mountain biking video of the Oakley team riding all over the world. And while the riding was amazing. (Seriously, watch the video–even if you’re not crazy about cycling the way I am, you’ll enjoy it) the thing that really blew my mind was a little interface element on the video player software.
The great and horrible thing about video on the web right now is that anyone and everyone can create a custom player that fits within the interface of their site. This allows for an incredible diversity of player designs which is great. You can design a video player that fits within your layout and hopefully it will be as easy to use as the Vimeo or Blip.tv controls. Although I think a standard is likely on the way, there’s still room for innovation in this space.
So, back to the Oakley video I linked to off the top. As I was watching the clip, I noticed an interface element I’d never seen before. It looks like a backwards arrow with the text “:05”. I clicked it and the video backed up to five seconds from where the playback head was at the time. Brilliant! The number one thing consumers of action sports are interested in is seeing that amazing crash or jump again. Futzing about with the playback bar scrubber is messy and it doesn’t always work well. This is effectively a user-controlled instant replay button.
Although this wouldn’t be of particular use for standard Youtube videos or other online video content, it makes perfect sense in this context. And for that I applaud Vital MTB for thinking pragmatically and designing an interface that fits their niche. They may not be the first to provide this control, but it’s the first time I’ve noticed it and I think it’s a very thoughtful little touch.