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Poll: Helpful or Annoying - Fixed Position Video Players on Page Scroll

ozzyogkush profile image Derek Rosenzweig ・1 min read

This is less of a post for developers, more of a question for consumers - ie individuals visiting websites for content articles, which happen to show videos.

We've all been there. You see a link to an article you want to read so you click it, and the page loads. You start scrolling to get past the enormous header ads and read the content, and a video starts playing. It then re-positions itself (ie its CSS changes to position:fixed) and resizes to be always visible in a rail, and stays there while you scroll the article. The question is:

Do you generally like this behavior? What does your own site's user actions/experience tell us? Is it a trend that should continue, or that should go away? Take the poll above, leave your responses below!

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ozzyogkush profile

Derek Rosenzweig

@ozzyogkush

Full stack software engineer with a focus on web technologies; occasional musician.

Discussion

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I don't have twitter, so I'll leave my response here:

When the video goes on the bottom corner of my screen, it gives me the feeling that I'm kind of forced to watch this. Even worse, I don't think it's useful because:

  • I already scrolled, leave me alone !
  • It's too small to see anything but the sound is still there

Whenever I'm interessed by the video's content, I'll watch it or put it on fullscreen; If I'm not, I'll just continue my navigation. I won't change my mind after several seconds of "harassment" on my screen and ears.

 

I find it extremely annoying, nor do I understand overall the real intent or use of it. I make an exception for things that are audio-dominant--ie, a podcast, music videos, long videos that are really just a music playlist, etc.

If the video is genuinely key to the content and page, then that should be largely all that's there (barring other interface things and stuff like comments, etc, of course), and there should be no need for it to "follow" the user like that as there shouldn't be anything so inaccessible from the viewport of the video so as to detract. Things like attribution, source, etc., are fine, of course, but if there is information the user needs to be accessing while watching the video, it should be set up so that is already visible.

If it isn't that key to the content and page, then it definitely shouldn't follow the user.

I could think of a few contexts where it would be actually useful--say on a tutorial page for assembling something or something similar, where you can keep the video going but also scroll to check a parts list or refer back to a diagram or earlier step. Even then, I'm not sure it's that helpful, since the video gets small and you can't really attend to it and whatever you're looking at on the page simultaneously.

What I would find useful would be--assuming the video is relevant and key to the page and genuinely the right format for the content (which they often aren't, but that's a soapbox for another day)--is something where on scroll, the video moved aside and paused. I feel like that respects the fact that the user is scrolling for some actual reason while still highlighting the video.

 

Ah CNN does this and it always annoys me. I don't really think there are many good cases for this technique. I like that in the YouTube app you can have the video in the corner while browsing for more content, that kinda makes sense. But next to an article like in CNN, I'm not sure what they expect me to do; pay attention to the video or read the article?