Let's All Switch to ASCII Video
By seapegasus on Jan 28, 2009
Quick free-form poll: For learning, do you prefer...
- ... visual screencasts or textual tutorials?
- ... screencasts with audio? With call-outs? With captions?
- ... short and simple clips? Extensive video trainings?
- ... screencasts with transcripts? Tutorials with embedded clips?
- ... more linkage between related tutorials / screencasts / sample code?
I prefer text over video, unless it's a clearly visual topic (say, GUI builder) where only a screencast makes sense. I also know that non-native speakers of English prefer screencasts because they see what happens and don't have to follow the words.
I usually have more patience watching a short clip than an hour-long video, often they proceed at a faster or slower pace than I, which can become annoying. Similarly, I prefer videos with call-outs/captions/transcripts over audio-only, because it lets me read at my own pace. Not being dependend on the audio track also helps with speakers' accents, or in a busy environment (office).
Obviously, adding a transcript of the audio track increases production time (less time for other tutorials to be written), and recording audio takes longer than writing simple call-outs. So be careful what you wish for: Do you rather want content in an optimally accessible format, at the cost of it covering fewer topics? Or you don't care about the format, it can be txt or screenshots, just as long as it covers the whole spectrum of the technology you're learning about?