Player Specification

I have recently been discussing video player capability with a major UK-based client as a part of a launch management project. Before the advent of BEML (Brightcove Experience Markup Language), the primary choice was between adoption of a pre-built template or creation of a completely custom player experience using Flash and/or JavaScript.

With BEML, the player landscape has fundamentally changed (for the better) as everyone other than those with a Brightcove Basic account (sorry Basic people) can easily create a custom template to suite their needs. For many of us it's quickest and easiest just to duplicate a pre-built template and modify the resulting BEML to create a variant that suits our needs. However, the true beauty of the age of BEML is that it's now perfectly possible and indeed advisable to specify a player from the top down.

So what are the key considerations? Here is my current hitlist of influencing questions in no particular order...

  • At what stage of a user journey does my player appear - what is the context?
  • What do I want a user to do while they are watching a video - eg move to full screen mode, read an article?
  • What do I want a user to do once they have watched a video - eg watch more videos in the same player, navigate to a related destination, send to a friend?
  • What type of video content will the player show - eg aspect ratio, quality?
  • Which user interface elements do I want to include - eg overlay menu, playlist, standard controls?
  • What are the stylistic considerations?
  • Do I need specific label copy - eg to address a niche or non-English market?
  • What real estate does my player require and how does it scale - eg 'elastic' vs fixed layout?
  • What advertising capability should my player have - eg banner, expanding banner, ad skin?
  • What branding capability should my player have - eg logo(s), brand skin?
  • Is my player to be syndicated or virally distributed - eg does it need to look good within the context of an environment I do not control?
  • What special features do I want my player to have - eg captioning, custom controls, you name it!?
  • Do I have the skillset to achieve the above or do I need help from Brightcove or partners to achieve my goals?

There are many more questions that can be asked - but the above should serve as a good first pass.