Stop using the term “Video” in your IA for apps and websites (and other IA sins)!

Unless you are a video store like Blockbuster Video and are building a website to try and flog off all your dusty DVDs and VHS tapes, do not create pages titled videos. Uh why?

If you are a business peddling products or services on the web, users do not come to your site to watch videos.

They come to your site to learn more about your business and see if it offers the right solutions to their problems.

This site peddles stationery. Um, why should I watch the video…?

So digital marketers, stop being lazy sods and lumping all your explainer/sales/how-to/key-speaker/technical-whiz-bang-wow-this-shit-will-change-your-life videos into a section, titled videos.

But, but, they’re very good videos…

Why should I watch “Doohickey Video?” Or any other videos for this product? Life’s too short!

Shut up! No one shares the same sort of interest in your videos. Videos have been on the web for a long time, Youtube started in 2005. Your users will not think you have achieved anything amazing by producing a bunch of videos and shoving all under one section in your site.

Why should they, and why should they even look at them? Well it’s your job to tell them. Let them know what your video is trying to achieve. You can do this in a heading. You can even go into greater detail in a paragraph below the actual video.

Rather than a heading which says Hyobachi Power Saw Video, how about;

Cutting A Wide Variety Of Materials With The Hyobachi Power Saw

Automating the Hyobachi Power Saw

Important Safety And Setup Instructions

Performing Rocket Surgery with the Hyobachi Power Saw

There you see, now you’ve given them a reason to view the videos. You may even have improved SEO (if it’s a website). In terms of IA, it is not necessary — or even advisable to group all the videos together. It’s unlikely a user will sit there and view all your videos. They will view what is relevant to them and they will decide that with the contextual elements that surround the videos.

As Amy Schade from NN Group says, “Users should know what the video is about before being asked to commit to it… Because users need to see the value of the video right away, it is essential to start strong.”

If you use the term “Videos” in your site IA, Betamax will come and eat you, I promise.

The same goes for all media on your app or site. Users don’t go to the Guardian or NY Times to look at photos or videos. They go there to read the news — hopefully the relevant photos and videos accompany the stories and aren’t hidden in some obscure spot, because that’s what the Project Manager or Developer thought would be easier to build. Your app shouldn’t be any different.

The same goes for PDFs. Users aren’t going to go to a government website to download a PDF. The users don’t care your web team made a section entitled “PDFs” or that, indeed, the forms are in that format. They could be TIFF files for all they care. If they want to find a form, it should be in a section titled “Important Forms” or preferably a section (or sections) that are more specific, such as “National Disability Insurance Services Forms” or “Medicare Rebate Forms” and so on.

Don’t get stuck on file types when setting out IA. You are only pissing your users off and painting the project into a corner from the very beginning.