So I have made some progress from the last time. I have a working prototype with me which I can user test. I have all the major functionality in place:
- User can add multiple videos from youtube.
- Each video loads with its subtitle.
- User can select multiple segments from the subtitle files
- User can rearrange these selected clips into the order that they want.
- Finally, when the user clicks on “Generate Video”, the remixed video is generated and shown in the player.
Here’s how it works:
There are a lot of bugs and features to fight through as of now:
- It is does not support subtitle files even with slightest of change in format from what it expects, this causes frequent app crashes.
- There is no way to handle errors and app crashes in an elegant manner.
- Some server processes take time and there is only bare minimum communication about the status of these processes to the user.
- There is no delete function in for the selected subtitle clips.
- There is no way to download or share the generated video.
- The way videos get stored in the database is very messy and frequently crashes the app. Generally the error that comes is “Can’t set headers after they are sent.”
But keeping all these bugs and incomplete features aside, I think the app is in a good shape to test with end users and get some early feedback. I tested the app with around seven users, following were the key learnings:
The starting point is not clear.
Some of the reasons for this are obvious. The element with which you are suppose to start is hidden like a search bar in top left and there are several elements in the middle of the screen that look clickable, especially the big green button of generate video that call attention but does nothing.
Pressing enter to download video is clear
The users I tested with today didn’t get confused with the absence of a clear CTA. This maybe because the users were tech savvy, will have to test this with more diverse group.
Interface suggests dragging for selecting video rather than clicking
The placeholders for video element seem to provide affordance for dragging and dropping. Around 3-4 people tried dragging the videos from list, quickly realizing that that is not how it works.
Nobody understood how what to do after loading the video in the player
People entirely ignored the subtitle text below the video thinking it was some description text. The fact that you can click on them was not obvious for anyone. People were either clueless about what is the use of the third panel and ignored that as well. They used the controls on the video to find a cue for how to edit the video. They were desperately looking for help from the interface.
Generate video button was not obvious to anyone
The big green button which was the most attractive when the interface was empty became invisible to users by the time they came to the third panel. Users tried to play the clips by dragging them on the video player area or simply clicking the disabled play button on the player. Most got it eventually but no one got it in first or even second attempt.
Looking at the final output was rewarding and brought smiles
After all that confusion and patience, the remixed video finally loaded (if the app didn’t crash because of the bugs) and it worked beautifully. Everyone was happy to see the outcome and wanted to give it another shot, now that they had understood what to do. I general everyone liked the idea and said they would want to use it to edit videos. One however added to that comment, and rightly so, that he was not able to imagine a direct use-case for using such a video editing tool.
Other comments and suggestions
- The way subtitle file is dumped below the video in the preview area is not very usable. It becomes un-navigable for a big video. It is difficult to locate a sentence in the subtitle file. The opposite is also true. It is difficult to find the video for a segment in subtitle file. There should be a way to jump from one to the other.
- Just like the in previous feedback which talked about the preview area, the selected clip area also has this problem. There is no way to listen to the clip from the text. It becomes more and more difficult when the number of video sources increase.
- While the flow of information in the first two panels is from top to bottom, the flow in third panel is from bottom to top. This is inconsistent and adds to confusion.
- Terminology used for different headings is inconsistent. It is “subtitles” in panel2 but becomes “clips” in panel3.
- Jumping back and forth from youtube was disorienting for some.
Lots of work to be done, better get to it.