Searching for key words and phrases in training videos – Adventures in media synchronization

One of the limitations of video-based information has been the difficulties for users in finding a particular piece of information in a video. Usually, they have to watch the whole video, or “peck and hunt” to get to the moment containing the information they were searching for.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, HTML5, an emerging Web standard, enables Technical Authors and courseware developers to synchronize different media. One application of this is enabling users to search a text for a key word and then start a video or audio at that point. Here is an example.

Searching for key word or phrase in a video - example

In addition to making it easier for users to search videos for the information they need, it will also mean the pages will be more likely to appear in the search engine rankings. In other words, there will be an SEO benefit as well.

Synchronizing text and video within Web pages will become a lot easier in November 2012, when we are likely to see the the introduction of authoring tools containing this functionality (at the moment you need to be familiar with HTML and JavaScript).

We believe this is an exciting development in the field of user assistance.


Diana Logan

This is an interesting series of blogs. We are at the beginning of working with HTML5 and haven’t looked into this side of it yet.
We currently make use of Captivate’s TTS (Text To Speech) feature to draft videos with audio and then Closed Captions Export to create the transcript. Then publish this as a separate PDF. There’s an example at the end of this blog promoting one of the videos:
Do you still see a place for instructional text as part of the video? (e.g. Speech bubble-style text in a software demo?)


Hi Diana. Probably. You could have text inside the video and a transcript alongside it. For content viewed on a mobile phone, speech bubbles or subtitles would probably be better from a usability perspective. As HTML5 is semantic, it means the text for speech bubbles can be stored a separate file, which should make updating the text much easier to do.

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