Back when the web was just flashing GIFs and walls of text, maintaining a webpage was relatively easy.
Today with multimedia, global audiences and mobile access, brands face numerous challenges and choices before they even get their content online.
- Which codecs for video and audio are you going to use?
- What browsers are they compatible with and will I go with Flash?
- How much time will managing my online content take?
- What sort of finish will I be able to achieve?
Questions like these need to be answered, but how do you stop this sucking up all your time and distracting you from creating the content itself?
We recently completed a project with São Lourenço, an international property development company, who was set on creating a site rich with multimedia without having to confront all the challenges above from scratch. Since we see this subject coming up more and more, we thought it might be worth going through some of the work we did there to help you learn from our experience.
To match the vision of the brand, the team prioritised two key aspects of the site’s design.
The first move was to look at high quality streaming video and create a platform that would make it as easy as possible to manage. The big lesson when it comes to sites like this is that they require lots of decision-making beforehand, to put in place systems that won’t cause problems or incompatibilities further down the line.
It’s a classic case of “a stitch in time saves nine” except, instead of ‘stitch’, it’s a matter of “intelligent content management strategy.” The key is to pick a format that works with your audience and that works across as many platforms as possible.
For São Lourenço we used a player called ‘Video for Everybody’, (which is as promising as its name suggests!). It utilises HTML5 code, is really light on bandwidth and avoids any need for Flash when launching videos. It’s a fact of web design today that if you want to make sure the broadest array of people possible can see your content, HTML 5 is the way to go!
Cross-platform support is obviously the leading factor in choosing formats to encode video but file sizes are important too. If it takes too long to upload, you’ll end up doing it less and less and your users are less likely to stick around and wait.
By using .mp4 videos embedded via HTML 5, you get the best cross-platform reach both in the content itself and its support for modern browsers.
The second key objective was to create a site that handled an international audience with coherence and intelligence, providing as good an experience for all users.
Rather than having separate sites for each country, we used an intelligent language mapping system. Our dotEditor system enables content editors to specify ‘alternate languages’ for the same page, resulting in an intuitive layout and no confusion around content and translations.
If a page is not available in your chosen language there is the option to take you back to the main page, ensuring that nobody ends up staring at a wall of gibberish.
By concentrating on these two key features, we’ve created a site that’s easy to manage without compromising on a creation, while remaining striking and impressive for the viewer.