The basic idea: “attach” how-to videos to physical objects around your workplace or school, with the help of QR codes. It’s a quicker, easier way for people to get help when and where they need it.
Do you remember being a new hire or new student…when everything and everyone was new? So much information to take in! Even long-time employees may wonder for years how the espresso machine works but never ask anyone to show them.
It’s one thing to put tutorials on your intranet or in a printed guide…but sticking videos right onto physical objects around your office, shop, or class makes it easier to get help where and when it’s needed most!
How to Create Video Stickers
This tutorial walks you through the steps of creating a video, uploading it, and creating a sticker to serve as a visual prompt. It also offers a number of ideas for making everything frictionless for your viewers.
Make the video
Decide what content you want to cover in your video and jot down an outline at minimum. This will reduce the number of takes and help you keep the video as concise as possible. Take a second look at what you wrote down and try to cut out as much as you can.
- Consider the context in which someone will need this information. Is it potentially a panic moment? “I’m late setting up for my presentation and can’t figure out the projector!” Then try to focus on only the most essential details.
- If you’re showing a multi-step process and the viewer might only need to look up one part, give a very concise overview at the beginning, whether that’s a slide, clickable table of contents, or brief verbal summary. Make it easy for the viewer to skip ahead.
Shoot the video using your smartphone or a camera. For a low-stakes video (how to use the espresso machine), you can probably do it in one take. When you need something smoother and more concise, plan to edit. TechSmith offers a great 1-2 combo for this with the Fuse app (iOS & Android) for recording and Camtasia (Windows & Mac) for editing.
- Camera tip: get in close enough to the object to see detail but not so close that the viewer can’t tell which part of the object they’re looking at.
- Lighting tip: Got glare or dim lighting? Bring in an extra floor lamp or clamp light to even things out. Or move the object near a window to maximize natural light.
Upload the video
Upload your video to YouTube, Screencast.com, or any other hosting site. If lots of people across your organization will be making videos, take a look at TechSmith Relay for streamlined creation and sharing.
Make the QR code
Get the URL for your video and shorten it using bit.ly. To do this, create a free account with bit.ly if you haven’t already.
Then paste the URL into this box:
Customize the shortened URL to make it easy for people to type. Use as few letters as possible, all lowercase. To do this, click the edit pencil that appears when you hover, type your desired letters, and press Enter on your keyboard:
Measuring clicks is one way to gauge the utility of your video stickers. You can view the stats for any bit.ly link by pasting it into your browser’s address bar and adding a “+” sign at the end, like this: http://bit.ly/2379tea+.
Copy and paste the shortened URL into a service like QRStuff or Kaywa. They will give you options for creating a custom QR code or even printing it directly to labels. For a more visually appealing sticker, you could use a service like Visualead. This can make the code appear more friendly and less geeky.
Make the QR code accessible by anyone
Even a nicely formatted QR code can be intimidating to someone who has never scanned one. Make it more approachable by adding some text to help people who don’t have a smartphone, who don’t have a code scanner app installed, or who just love to type in URLs.
To do this, copy the QR code graphic, paste it into a Word document, and add a line of text to explain what it is and some helpful links. Snagit is also a great tool for grabbing images and adding text.
Print and post the QR code
Decide how fancy you want to get. The simplest option is to print the code on normal paper and tape it to the object you’re explaining. This might be a great way to “prototype” the concept and see how well it is received.
One level up on the fancy scale would be to laminate the code or print it on office labels or removable labels.
Once you’ve got the stickers printed, post them on or near the objects explained in the videos and spread the word to let folks know what they are. After some time passes, you can check in on the click stats and even send out a survey to see how helpful the video stickers have been and get suggestions for improving them!
Have other cool ideas for using QR codes to distribute videos? Share them in the comments!