What do you think the ultimate video-sharing site is? As in having practically everything? There are a lot of "good" video sites, but I don’t think there aren’t any that actually pretty much do it all so well. Every video site has some flaw of course, even YouTube (which has tons), but if you had to think what the most ultimate video-sharing site would have, what would there be?
Here’s my list:
- HD or high quality videos – No more of this awful low-res videos that we’re forced to watch. I’d do anything to see something that isn’t grainy, awful audio quality, and has something seeable. Instead, I want more crisp pictures, smoother transitions, and better audio quality.
- Download button – Lets users (who post videos) have a choice if they want to allow people to directly download their video. No more having to go find a converter site to do it. Just directly download into a variety of video file formats. Average users will probably allow the downloading capability for their videos, while big content companies probably won’t. Even and fair. It makes sense.
- Upload many different video files/codecs – I hate it when a site won’t upload my video because it’s the "wrong" format. Please upload my video no matter what file type or codec it is. Or at least instantly convert it into what you think acceptable. Better hope the quality is still the same.
- Have a great video player – Preferably Flash/Silverlight. Put the video controls in a good intuitive style. Let it do many advanced functions, but at the same time, not clump up the simple video controls. I think Brightcove has the best all around video-player. Viddler wins in terms of advanced features. It would also be nice if the controls/menu only appear if you hover over the video. When you’re not, you just see more video.
- Embedded video tagging feature – Viddler is cool, because it’s the only site I know where you can embed tags within a video. The progress tracker has a little plus sign on it to add a comment/tag to the video at that point. Pretty neat.
- Hover-n-watch video thumbnails – I like how on Live Video Search, you can see a preview and other quick shorts of a video result just by hovering your cursor over it. That technology can be extended by also giving the video’s description in a small speech bubble on the side of it. Really awesome if that capability was added. I know that Dailymotion does full video straight from it’s thumbnails, from it’s related videos that appear after you watched a video.
- Lot of social bookmarking buttons – Would be great if all videos had a nice social bookmarking button in the video’s profile. Put the top ones like Digg, Facebook, Del.icio.us, and StumbleUpon as primary buttons, and a down arrow to extend options for other social bookmarking sites. Would be wonderful if all or most social bookmarking sites were represented.
- Video playlists – I love how MSN Video lets you easily make a video playlists by putting a little plus sign in the corner of video thumbnail results. Really handy and it’s instantly added. You can also view your playlist straight from the video player, and remove videos or go back to previous videos straight from that. Pretty nifty. Would also be great to save and share playlists.
- Live video streaming – Another new thing that’s been gaining popularity lately. Some people really like to sit in front of (or behind) a video camera and let users view what they see LIVE. I think it’s a ridiculous small geeky fad, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some nice quality live video streaming on a video-sharing site.
- Multiple uploading – I’m not sure, but I think MSN Video is the only site that offers this convenience. Probably because it’s pretty much all Flash, but it’s really convenient how MSN Video lets you upload more than one video file at the same time, and you can still view a video the whole time on the right pane. Really neat feature.
- Stationary video player – MSN Video has a stationary player on their site. It stays as itself the whole time on the site. The only thing on the site that changes/reloads is the video results, user profiles, among some other things as you’re searching. So that way, you video stays in the same spot and plays the whole time without the interruption of a reloaded page and whatnot. Really keen.
- Built-in video editing software – What could better complement a video-sharing site, but video editing software? Something from basic to pretty strong for free (probably ad-supported) would be nice. Users can refine their video before publishing it to the world. Would be great if it could just work inside the browser.
- Support for many browsers – IE, FF, Opera, Safari, and the other smaller ones. Make it all work.
- Nice plug-ins and add-ons – Wouldn’t it be great to extend your video-sharing site beyond the website? Like a Media Center plug-in, gadgets/widgets, Apple TV, Chumby, great mobile versions, and so-on? Be extensible, be ubiquitous.
- Non-intrusive advertising – There’s text ads, but that takes up real-estate space. There’s banner ads which are worse because they’re annoying, take up a lot of site screen space, and aren’t as effective as adblocking gets more popular. There’s video ads, but that takes up a user’s time to view what they came for. So what’s the next best thing? Small ads that appear in a pane that extends outside of the video player during certain time intervals. They won’t appear directly on the video player when they jump out, but on the side of it, most likely. There can be a button to close them, but the site will probably load another ad in 30 second intervals. It’s a free site, but you’ve got to have ads to pay for employees and servers just to run the best site.
- Common video tools – Like rating, favoriting, e-mail, embed, URL, report/flag, and that kind of common stuff. Going on and above would be like offering most social bookmarking links, IM (to a contact) button, download button, etc.
- Forums – Just a place on the site to talk about the popular videos, put public feedback, share tips & tricks, report problems, etc.
- International versions of the site – To avoid a melting pot of confusing language, annoying amounts of un-understandable videos in the results, etc.
- Publish suitable age ratings for videos – Not all videos should be viewed by everybody. There might be some more "mature" content that some people might want and should view, without it killing the innocence of a kid. So put a certain age ranking on a video to avoid being reported, but get some people to see it. People who have ID’s on the site and meet the age requirement can watch them. Though anybody can fake an ID, that’s a different story.
- Good commenting section – Every video needs some community feedback, so video sites have comments. I think YouTube admittedly has the best commenting space. The comment is show with person’s username, time/date, along with a thumbs-up/down ranking, and a report/spam button. People can reply directly under the comment, and the person gets notified who replied to them. Simple but effective. Thought that system could be improved by allowing users to show their online IM presence if they don’t mind letting people talk to them. Of course e-mail address is hidden.
- Great content from TV/Movie studios – Watching televised content on the Internet is practically a norm these days. Some even do it for free, where users have managed to rip some good content for people to watch for free. Now these TV/Movie studios are getting wary about digitizing stuff again. So what better way to keep making money, and letting lots of people watch, than getting an account and a percentage of the ad revenues from the video site? The company/studio can set up a special account from the video site, and post their videos in a very secure code (so not pulling off from the URL) that people can’t steal with. Then the advertising revenues for the video can be shared amongst the company and the video site host. So it’s a win-win situation, right? Let’s see this come up. Hulu has been a really great site to see such content, but it’s not the ultimate video site (all combined into one).
- Effective end video accompanying – At the end of a video, what shows up on the player? What I think should be there is a simple button to "replay", "link", or "send" similar to Brightcove‘s player. And show other related videos in a nice cursor-down strip like YouTube‘s with a touch of hover-watch like DailyMotion. MSN Video does it the worst. The video ends, and there’s 10 seconds before the timer stops and either an MSN content-related video or an ad is stuffed right into the player. As if I wanted to see these things. As long as it’s easy to refresh the video to the beginning, that would be great.
So that’s my top list. I usually love to draw mock UI concepts of things, and I’ve made a few, but I don’t think they’re worth showing.
Anything else I should add? Just comment.