Imagine my surprise when I read the Daily News and learned about a PortMedia-aired educational video starring city officials explaining the operation of parking meters.
The back story from the newspaper is people don’t understand how to insert money and affix the receipt to the driver’s side window, sparking NRA Commissioner James Shanley to entrepreneurially create a video about the payment process.
Here is the video:
Can’t see it? View it here on blip.tv.
My suggestions for improvement:
First: The article said the video was on the city’s website — but how many people visit the city’s website when wanting to know how a meter works?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a 30-second video at the parking kiosks themselves? Can the meters be outfitted with a video screen?
The video is also not linked on the home page but you have to click where it mentions paid parking and then scroll to the bottom of the page. This is an ineffective user design.
Second: The video is not hosted on YouTube to enable social sharing and comments, but is hosted on blip.tv. There is nothing wrong per se with blip.tv but it’s not YouTube. Why not put the video where more people are searching for keywords and where people can leave comments?
Third: Am I alone thinking the narration, provided by planning department project manager Geordie Vining, is too monotonic? It’s clear he’s reading from a script but there is no emotion to the voice.
“It is boring,” replied a few people when I sent them the video link. Is this the intended response?
Fourth: I applaud reading a script but it doesn’t need to be read behind the scenes. Why can’t the show and tell occur in the same frame? Rather than have one person narrate and someone else act, can’t the same person do both in real-time?
By way of analogy, take a look at two parking meter educational videos. The first is from Asbury Park, New Jersey; and the second from Philadelphia.
Video Analogy 1: Video by Asbury Park Mark, a local realtor:
This is how I envisioned the video when I read the Daily News article. I expected someone to be located outside, beside a meter, explaining how it works. I expected the same person to show and tell.
Video Analogy 2: Video by Philadelphia’s tourism bureau:
This is very cheesy but the narration is more captivating. It’s fun!
But these are my thoughts, Newburyport. What are yours?