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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Labs Site Videos Now Have 2 Links: Watch and Download (Save Target As)


Source: It is Alive in the Lab by Scott Sheppard
Choice
When Amanda Collins and Doug Look redesigned the Autodesk Labs site, they wanted to add an emphasis on videos. So they created a Featured Videos section. Their goal was "less text, more video." As long as we were creating videos, we thought the best place to put them would be to place them on YouTube. By doing so:
  1. People who do not come to the Autodesk Labs site itself but do visit YouTube can learn about Autodesk Labs technology previews. Perhaps they would then come to the Labs site, download an application or add-on or try a web service, and provide feedback. It's all about the feedback.
  2. The videos are streamed. YouTube provides the infrastructure that allows you to watch the video without having to download the entire video.
  3. Users can rate the videos and post comments. Once again, it's all about the feedback.
Alas not everyone has access to YouTube. For example, YouTube is blocked in China. With that in mind, we posted the videos for the ;Daylight Analysis Tool for Housing in China on YouKu which is not blocked. This was a specific case. We wanted a generic solution.
My original solution was to make the videos available for download from my Buzzsaw site. As we released each new technology preview, I would write a blog article that contained links to download the videos whose YouTube links were on the Autodesk Labs site. I would then provide a link on the Labs site to my blog article. This has worked, but I thought it would be nice to take the blog article out of the loop, so I asked our community platform services (upon which Autodesk Labs site is based) vendor to add a second link. They have done so. Now in addition to a Watch link (that generally goes to YouTube), videos have an optional Download link (that goes to my Buzzsaw site). You can use this link to stream the video from Buzzsaw or Save Target As to download it.
Save_target_as
In cases where I never had the original video (e.g. posted to YouTube by someone else), there is no Download link.
The notion of "less text, more video" is alive in the lab.

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