Whiteboard videos are a strange phenomenon that has erupted on the internet in the past few years. They have come into fashion in odd ways and have quietly become the inconspicuous standard for selling a product or idea with an innocence and casual approach that makes them sought after by many, wide ranging companies. Their effectiveness is so subtle and far reaching that many people would be hard pressed to define what a Whiteboard Video actually is, but when shown one, nearly everyone with an internet connection would probably say that they have sat through at least half of one at some point in their surfing.
They are cute. They are effective. They can be used to sell or inform on just about any topic and they do so in a way that appeals to the minds and attention span of a generation of consumers that has a quick attention to detail. The people that Whiteboard Videos are trying to reach are an in-out video culture that expects their information to be concise and well presented. Whiteboard Videos have been the answer.
Whiteboard Videos make any information accessible. It is a format that can present information quickly and easily, in a comforting format that is ideal for anything from a ‘crash-course class’ in philosophy to selling potato chips to training videos for new employees of companies. The formatting and style of this digital information delivery system is well designed to offer as much content as possible in an effective and engaging manner.
If you don’t think that you’ve ever seen a Whiteboard Video before, you’re probably mistaken. To describe them is a little difficult because each and every one has unique qualities that are specific to the product or idea that they are presenting and the imagination and resources of the artists that are creating them. But there are several things that seem to well define what a Whiteboard Video is.
They usually start with some kind of original background score. This is usually, but not always, produced specifically for the video. Then comes a quick introduction by a voiceover narrator that gets the viewer interested and sets the scene for what the video will be about and what it will be promising to present that is of value.
The name comes from the background of the video. The picture is usually presented against a solid white background, like the background of the video is a digital pallet that is going to be filled. Then, in comes the hand. In almost all of these videos, a hand holding a pencil enters and seems to quickly fill the screen with images, as if it is drawing them.
It is kind of odd. The images appear on the screen quickly, much more quickly than they could actually have been drawn. They keep up with the narration. The magic, pencil-holding hand scribbles out what looks like ‘clip art’ images that are a visual representation of the narration that is leading the progress of the video.
These videos can be varying lengths. Usually, however, they try to deliver as much information as possible and keep the viewer engaged while doing so. They save all of the big promises and payoffs for the end, so that whoever is watching is required to put in some time commitment to get the information that first drew them to the video.
So, the main characteristics of a Whiteboard Video are:
There is no doubt that Whiteboard Videos are a child of the internet way of sharing and consuming information. They appeal to the culture that has been bred by the digital information age. This is a landscape that is oversaturated with content. Everything that has ever been put on the internet, for the most part, is still there. Every post and every page that has information on the topics that we are looking for are available with the click of a button.
This, very quickly, leads to an attitude of casual dismissal of information that does not seem like it is what we are looking for. That is why Whiteboard Videos are strange in their effectiveness. They can be fairly long-form, containing lots of information usually about a particular topic or process. But they present themselves as an authority, something that is vital viewing for the consumer to understand the topic or idea or product that they are offering. The fun and effective introduction usually hooks the viewer enough to help him or her decide that they have already spent a little time here, so what is a little more?
So, people that click through photos and post with ever quickening speed are helped to slow down and concentrate for a moment or two. Whiteboard Videos purpose is to present their content to a viewer that, usually, has no obligation to continue to watch the video. The user that can move on at any time stays because the videos are easy and well constructed. Sometimes they present very sweeping and complicated ideas, but they do so in an off-handed way that is easy to digest.
Whiteboard Animation Videos are an effective medium because they can take a dense and confusing idea and present it in a new way that is non-threatening and concise. The viewer does not feel talked down to and they still get the information that they came for.
Haven’t heard of Whiteboard Animation Videos? Are you saying to yourself, “I kind of know what you’re saying, but I’m not exactly sure what Whiteboard Videos are?” If you were presented with one, you’d realize that you have seen one before.
They work because they have, at least in part, become the standard for information presentation on the internet. The format is familiar to us, so there is no curve to be an obstacle there. We know how this video is going to work, even if it is subconscious, from the moment that we click the play button.
There is usually nothing jarring or troubling about the videos. The art is fun, creative and accessible. The voice accompaniment is professional and well recorded. The information flows in a quick pace that makes sure to also be meticulous so that they viewer is not confused by anything. Of course, most of these videos are informational, so it is important that they included every piece of information that is necessary in order for the viewer to understand. There will be no opportunity for the viewer to ask questions so the information, the way it is presented, and the order in which it is presented are all important.
These videos are effective because there IS an attention to detail. They are made by professionals who have fairly large resources. They make sure that the videos are free of fluff and misinformation. That is one of the keys. When presenting information to the savvy consumers on the internet, it is important that the topic remains clear and the information that is presented seems well-sourced and edited.
People will move on if a video is not what they are looking for, so Whiteboarding Videos have a concentration of staying on topic and presenting the information in a way that his easy to digest and makes sense to anyone from someone who has never heard of the topic of the video to a seasoned expert in the field.
The videos are effective due to:
As stated, these videos usually have a professional quality that helps deliver the content. They are produced for any number of companies or ideas or topics with any number of goals, but there is a cohesive quality to the style that comes from the companies that produce them.
These videos are not particularly ‘high budget’, but they do feel like professionals have put time into them. The animation is nearly on par with some cartoon television shows that are featured on Networks like Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim or on many popular children’s series. The animation is two dimensional but usually has a look that suggests stop-motion animation. Although this is not the case, the process is created digitally, the style is effective in an information of instructive format.
A simple Google search will yield the results one is looking for if one was to want to hire a company to produce a video. There are many online companies that will produce content for most companies or personal endeavors. These sites usually offer fairly competitive and budget-friendly options and do all of the work for their customers.
There are many options. Most of the sites offer samples or examples of their work. You can watch videos that the company has produced for other clients, or as samples to feature some of the art and design that they are capable of. It can be a bit time consuming, but if you are looking for specific aspects in the design and execution of the product or concept, it is probably a good idea to spend at least a little time looking through the different options. They are as accessible and easy to understand as the videos that they produce.
These companies are usually comprised of multi-media experts and artists coming together to offer easy and superior quality content on a budget. The process is not a difficult one anymore. The animation is all done digitally and can be executed quickly and is fairly inexpensive to execute.
Some of the other artists are where the money goes. The voice acting is usually top notch and the score can be generated or customized to fit the need and feel of the video. Some of this can take some time and effort, but there are definitely companies that will do the job on almost any budget.
There are a couple of things about the content and design as well as the execution and frequency of use of this technique that may be a drawback to using them as a tool for information delivery in the digital age.
Firstly, these videos have been around long enough that some more frequent internet users have seen enough of them that they can skip around within the video to find just the snippet of content that they are looking for. This cuts down on the number of views that a video gets and the reach of the effectiveness of the overall content. There are people out there who might have the idea to search for content and when they see a Whiteboard Video pop up, they say to themselves, “Oh, not one of these.”
This is the flipside of the coin to having an accessible and recognizable format. It can be an attribute or a drawback depending on the audience.
Also, since the purpose of the video is sometimes to be educational, they can get a little lengthy for typical online attention spans. The average internet user watches a video for an average time of thirty seconds. These videos usually require much more than that. They also usually reserve the promised information or conclusion for the end of the video, making the consumer sit through quite a bit of expository material. Sometimes there is even a function on the sites that feature Whiteboard Animation Videos that does not allow a viewer to skip ahead in the content of the video. If you want the secrets contained within the video, you have to sit through it.
This can be bad for viewership as well. If a viewer feels like his or her time is not being properly utilized, he or she will sometimes move on before they watch the whole video. If they feel that the time commitment is too much for the information that they are seeking, the effective design of the content presentation will not work on these certain viewers.
This leads to the final drawback of the Whiteboard Animation Video. Many times these videos are produced for companies or websites that are dedicated to making their profit through online distribution of ideas or materials. These videos are sometimes merely an introduction to a larger course of study, so they can be viewed as not more than glorified commercials, the thought of which will turn some casual viewers off.
If someone was coming to a site just to find out about a product or idea, and was then given a sales pitch instead, they are not likely to visit the site again, even if they are looking to buy. The Whiteboard format, because it is cost effective and easy to digest, is sometimes implored to these ends in the hope that the consumer will forgive the bid for sales that comes with the conclusion.
This style has been used, in some capacity, to create content that is used only for entertainment purposes. There are funny videos out there that employ the hand coming in and drawing what the narrator is talking about. They are mostly parody videos of videos that have been created with a legitimate purpose in mind, but there are also some that offer original content. Sometimes produced by the companies who do work for professionally contracted sites or clients, these entertainment geared videos can be fun and enjoyable without the burden of education or sales to ruin the fun.
Whiteboard Videos are indeed a product of our times and are not likely to go away anytime soon. On the contrary, there will probably continue to be a demand for content in this realm as long as there are new websites dedicated to new products or ideas. The information that can be relayed by Whiteboard Animated Videos is virtually endless and they can be produced with relative ease by a small team working from a modest office or home environment.
As the world of business moves farther and farther into a do-it-yourself attitude, the demand for these kinds of videos is also likely to increase. People and businesses are moving past the big box, brick and mortar stores of the past and into a more personalized, digital medium. This is a perfect world for the existence of Whiteboard Animation Videos because the companies that produce them understand the needs of an online-based, digital, local, small business model. They understand this because many of them are in this realm themselves.
The style, too, is not likely to change much as the medium evolves. Of course, as technology improves, there will be an easier and faster way of producing content like this for the internet. Digital technology is always making strides towards further accessibility and quicker, more user-friendly creations. This will help both the companies that create Whiteboard Animation and the companies or people who feature videos on their sites. The websites that create the content will be able to do it faster and with a greater standard for quality, and the sites that feature these videos will be able to get their message in front of a greater number of people in a faster, more effective way.
The content is also likely to improve. As this type of animation becomes more accessible, the speed and effectiveness in which it is produced will have less of an effect on the quality of the content.
So, love them or hate them, view them or navigate away from them, the style of Whiteboard Animation Videos is not likely to be something that drifts back into the memory of ‘how the internet used to be’. Quite the opposite. On the contrary, these videos are providing the valuable service of making content accessible to virtually anyone. Anyone with a computer and a little time can learn about any number of subjects from a format that is accessible and easy to understand. The small size of the videos is also a large plus when it comes to watching these videos on one’s phone or places where the internet connection is not so grand. They do not take a long time to load because they are usually not huge files. They will play anywhere, anytime, for any reason. They are not shy. They do not hide.