December 05, 2005

Talking Head Video is Boring

The folks over at the Nielsen Norman Group are doing eye tracking testing on talking head videos and there verdict is that people find them boring. You can watch a clip of a typical session here Here is what N/N had to say.
"It's... interesting to notice how much attention was diverted elsewhere in the image, including the road sign behind the interviewee. There's even a brief glance at an object over his shoulder that looks like a trash can. Most interesting of all is the tremendous attention spent outside the video itself on things such as alternative headlines and video controls. The eyetracking data clearly show that a talking head is boring, even for 24 seconds. On the Web, 24 seconds is a long time -- too long for users to keep their attention on something monotonous."

1 comment:

Ian Beyer said...

I'm not surprised by this little tidbit - I've always thought talking head video was boring as all getout, and often nod off during them. It's interesting that someone's done a little bit of study that bears this out.

Rick Warren's 40 Days Of Purpose videos, while they are full of great information, put me to sleep. If you can't hold my attention for 24 seconds, don't even try for half an hour.

It seems the folks over at the Discovery Channel and its ilk have figured this out (perhaps by accident). While you may have someone narrating, you very seldom see the narrator/host for more than a few bits at a time.

So, let's apply this newfound science to production!