editorassistance Newsletter

Editor Assistance

September 24 2010 Editor Assistance Newsletter

Greetings and Salutations!

I want to thank everyone for their fantastic feedback on the issues of using video content on BellaOnline! There were many points of view presented, and it was wonderful to hear from everyone!

The general consensus was that yes, our personal videos could be incorporated as a nice "end of article additional feature" but that the video should always be in support of the main article. It should never replace the article.

I've written a full article on this topic and posted it to the Editor Assistance site, and am copying it below. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for tweaking or improving this article!


For many years BellaOnline resisted incorporating any video content into our site. In September 2010 our community decided to gently begin integrating video - but only as an *addition* to full article content.

To provide some background, BellaOnline was designed from the beginning in 2002 as a site which would reach all visitors around the world. We avoided all use of Flash, of moving graphics, and of high bandwidth applications. We used graphics only minimally to help with site navigation. We never allow talking ads, floating ads, video ads, or other types of "complex" content.

Our visitors have thanked us for this in droves. Many talk about how they can only access the site through a dial-up connection from their small homes in Chile, in Uganda, in Ukraine. We are one of the only sites they can use and learn from. We have helped single mothers learn how to knit and then clothe their families. We have helped rural parents teach their children valuable skills. We are very proud of these achievements.

Even in September 2010 when we discussed as an editor community the idea of adding in video, many editors wrote back with concern. They are still on slow speed connections and do not want the site to "evolve to become unusable". If our own editors feel this way, it makes sense that a fair portion of our visitors are in this same situation.

Other editors expressed that they find video helpful as an "additional feature" of content, but not as a replacement. If they see a recipe that involves a strange mixing technique, they want to read about the technique - but it also can be really helpful to see it in action. If someone is trying to learn to knit or crochet or bead, the written description can help, but the video can be the key that makes things "click" for them.

Even those editors who appreciate the value of an "additional video" expressed that it would be important to take into account deaf users and low bandwidth users. They recommended a transcript of the video be offered, and that the video be loaded in the most low bandwidth way possible.

We always want videos to be of *our own* content. We should not be running video ads for any other group or person. The content should always be done by us and fully under our own control. This helps protect us from a variety of external author issues. If we want to link to an external person's video, it should always be done with a straight URL link where the visitors goes to the other site to watch the video. That way it is 100% clear that the video was created by someone else and that other person is responsible for the video content.

Please let us know if you have any questions about this!


Lisa Shea, owner


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