Win your team's hearts and minds with highlight reels

May 4, 2022

The last few years, we've witnessed a radical shift towards remote work in response to the recent pandemic. At the centre of this transformation is the almost universal adoption of video as a communication and collaboration medium. UX Research has naturally embraced this shift. That's why nowadays an increasing number of user interviews and usability tests are taking place online over video.

On one hand, it's great for UX Researchers to be able to speak with more participants regardless of geographic limitation. On the other hand, video poses another challenge for UX research teams as they now have to process even more data before sharing key takeaways with their team.

It should not come as a shock that busy colleagues seldom have the time nor energy to watch full 60 minutes recordings of user interviews. That's why it's vital for UX Researchers to be able to deliver to their team short and incisive findings from their user interview videos.

This is what highlight reels are for!

Highlight reels are one  of the most effective ways to capture actionable insights without waiting to synthesise information from scratch. It allows UX researchers  to quickly compile and dissect user interview findings without having to revisit them repeatedly, helping their team  make better decisions faster.

That’s why being able to produce compelling highlight reels in user interviews is growing into an essential skill for user researchers. Because gathering user insights has never been this fast-paced, capturing highlight reels is the quickest route to win your team’s heart and mind.

In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • Why should UX Researchers create highlight reels?
  • How to create highlight reels?
  • What should go in your highlight reels?

Ready... Action!

Why Should UX Researchers Create Highlight Reels?

Highlight reels help UX researchers pull out critical and aha moments from their user interviews (or usability tests) and knit them beautifully to create a series of brief clips. This offers a gold mine for the UXers to weave stories out of long interviews and present them in a far more intuitive and concise way.

Because videos  blend audio, movements, and expressions, they convey a raw yet authentic dialogue between the interviewer and the participant. This is a winning combo to get teams to empathise with problems users face and become even more determined to solve those problems.

How To Create Highlight Reels?

Creating highlight reels can relate to any type of UX research you are willing to apply to your study. But the two most common are user interviews and usability tests.

The reason is that these two methods give a chance to the UX researchers to really dive deep into the conversation that skews towards the most accurate answers.

Before you get into constructing highlight reels, we recommend you start with the groundwork and formulate clear research goals. Creating a discussion guide at this stage proves effective as it elicits more insightful responses from your participants.

Once you have that document handy to help you conduct more impactful user interviews, you will be all  set to build your insight-driven highlight reels.

Below are the steps you can take to get started:

Step-1: After the video recording from your user interview is available, it is time to identify the golden nuggets of insights from this conversation.

Step-2: You can use traditional video players such as Quicktime to rewatch the interviews, but for speed and the best experience, we recommend using a rich tool that combines video and automated transcripts like EnVsion.

Step-3: Then you can simply search through the transcript for the keywords from these conversations and start connecting the dots. Because every word is timestamped, you can navigate to any specific part of the video by clicking on the text, without ever having to interact with the play bar.

Step-4: Once you’ve identified the key soundbites you want to create a reel for, simply highlight words to create a “highlight”, to which you can give names and tags for better discovery and grouping in the future. You then download the highlight as a clip by clicking the Download Highlight button. That’s it! You have created your first reel without being a pro video editor!

Step-5: Repeat the process and create highlight reels for any other part of the video that you deem important. Gradually you’ll see a series of reels getting stitched together, solidifying your UX research.

Step-6: After completing these steps, you can directly share the clips with your team via collaboration tools like Slack, or you can share a deep link to the video on EnVision that plays only your selected highlight reel.

There you go! Wasn't that simple?

How to create highlights in EnVsion
How to create highlights in EnVsion

Moving on…

What Should Go In Your Highlight Reels?

People today are bombarded with hard-to-skip ads, audios and videos which test their patience and cause a dip to their limited attention span. They want to consume content that’s short and sweet, not long and boring.

Highlight reels are supposed to be short, sweet, and catchy.

Certain elements within a highlight reel make it punchier, grabs attention, and get the message across in front of your team as quickly as possible.

We recommend you follow the guidelines below to create impactful highlight reels:

Keep every highlight video under 90 seconds

To be the most effective, we have found videos under 90 seconds work wonders when delivering key insights or sharing a valuable moment from a single user interview. Longer highlight reels can cause viewers to lose attention.

Add captions and subtitles

A very important part of the UX of your highlight reel indeed! Add subtitles as captions to your highlight reels. The subtitles add more context and enable everyone to perfectly understand what the user said. You can easily download a subtitle track of your highlights on EnVision and play the video with it.

Avoid combining too many reels

We suggest combining no more than 3 highlights from different user sessions if you want to show a recurring pain or insight across multiple users. Tools like iMovie enable you to easily create video compilations. In this case, try to limit the compilation to two minutes or less.

Give your highlight reel a catchy title

Consider this optional, but way more powerful. You can add a black slide with a title before every highlight in your compilation. This sets the context right from the beginning.

Message delivery over visual aesthetics

It’s okay if your highlights are not visually perfect. You are trying to tell your team a story via genuine clips; you are not creating a movie with the latest special effects.

There is no need for professional-level video editing for your users' pains to resonate with your team.

The steps above should suffice to create compelling highlight reels that win teams' and stakeholders’ hearts and minds to solve your users' problems.

Ready to Create your First Highlight Reel?

You go all the way as a UX researcher by empowering everyone in your team to walk the user’s pain points, develop stronger empathy, and drive to address the user’s problems.

Highlight reels  also help build stronger trust with UX Researchers because teams and stakeholders feel they are shown the “truth” of their users' experience, without any paraphrasing or distortion from the UX Research team.

UX Researchers are free to use traditional video editing tools to create highlight reels from the original recordings, but these tools involve a steep learning curve. Besides, most of the tools out there lack automated transcripts for better context and navigation.

Once you switch to EnVsion, it will give you, UX researchers a head-start to create highlight reels in a few seconds by simply highlighting key sentences from the automated transcript. This rightfully puts “show, not tell” into action.

Sharing the user’s pains via highlight reels shouldn’t be painful - that’s why we make editing video as simple as editing text.