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I am working on a feature where the user can start a video recording of a YouTube live-stream. The feature is per default disabled. A required input for the recording to work is to select which stream quality it should record from (e.g 480p, 720p, 1080p).

To clarify, the system fetches the video stream of the selected quality directly from YouTube. It does not do any compression or post-processing itself.


I have two options of how to implement this feature, but I'm not sure which is best from a UX-perspective. I have also listed what I consider to be the pros/cons for each, but I could be wrong or have missed some.

Option 1 - On/off integrated in dropdown

To enable the feature, the user selects a resolution from the dropdown. The default option is "disabled".

What I consider as pros/cons:
+ The feature can never be enabled without also setting the desired resolution.
- No clear hierarchy of which controls are disabled as a result of the whole feature being turned off.
- Putting the "off" option in a list of resolutions.
- Changing the selection from "disabled" to a resolution does not explicitly communicate that the feature is now enabled.

enter image description here


Option 2 - On/off a separate control input

To enable the feature, the user first toggles the switch control. This enables the feature with the resolution that is first in the dropdown. Changing resolution is a separate control.

What I consider as pros/cons:
- The feature may run (albeit for a second) for a resolution the user does not want, until changed.
+ Clearer which is the top-level input that controls the whole function.
+ The dropdown has only resolution options, and is thus "cleaner".

enter image description here


Very grateful for thoughts and input on each. Also very thankful for suggested alternative solutions.

Edit: By "record" I mean save to disk, aka download. (I'll figure out the wording later)

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  • I feel like there's something missing from your description: I've never come across a streaming or video conference system that made me choose a quality to record. This is mostly because the stream is recorded on the server and then delivered in the highest possible quality with a subtitle or CC track to the user in a single download. Is there something different about your case that makes this a problem? Jun 16 at 11:16
  • @RouxMartin By record I mean save to disk. The higher the quality, the more space it will take up on your device. Some might stream in higher quality than "necessary" (e.g 4K, when 1080p would suffice). The CC is not super-relevant to the question other than that it is an option that only works if the recording is enabled in the first place.
    – Chris
    Jun 16 at 11:20

3 Answers 3

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I think your first version is better. The second option has two toggle switches, which leads to a cognitive load and therefore it's more prone to errors.

Although the first version seems better, here is what I would do:

  1. use the current "lorem ipsum" to explain to users what to expect.
  2. change the label in the dropdown menu from "disabled" to "no recording" or something else that is clearer.

Alternatively, you could use version 2, but instead of a toggle switch for the subtitles, just use a checkbox to reduce friction.

Either way, none of the options are bad "per se" so you need to test this to make sure everything works as expected.

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  • Suppose I replaced the last switch with a checkbox, would that approach be better, or would you still go with the first option?
    – Chris
    Jun 16 at 21:28
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    In this case, I would determine which option to use by testing with users, since both options are good, at least in theory.
    – Devin
    Jun 16 at 22:53
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I prefer option 2 because when I want to turn off "record live stream", I would not necessarily think to go to the "video quality" section as shown in option 1. The toggle under option 2 is clear to me that the stream will begin or stop recording as I hit the toggle. The video quality is now an additional feature, separate from turning on/off the recording. In order to prevent the con you listed under option 2, you can move the video quality section before the record livestream, so that the user can select the video quality before beginning to record. Additionally, you can move the record subtitles button before the toggle as well. This way, you can select all the recording options beforehand, and then record the livestream when you are ready

EDIT: Also, instead of a toggle button, maybe consider a "record" and "stop recording" icon instead such as a red circle and red square. I feel that using a toggle to begin something like recording a livestream is a bit confusing since you are performing an action that you will eventually stop rather than something that you will toggle on/off and leave alone for a while

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    I agree -- one direction, from disabled to resolution, is intriguing; but the other direction, trying to turn it off by selecting a resolution, is unintuitive. Jun 18 at 13:39
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It would be counterintuitive to have the off option in the same dropdown as the resolution. Therefore option two would make more sense, yet I would add the Record live-stream at the end and maybe also show a green/red light for status. As the user flow would be to first configure the service and then start it. So I would imagine a flow like:

Select resolution Select subtitle recording Turn on service. This would also allow you to prevent user error by adding validation on the service start. If the user has not selected a resolution then they will be warned that service cannot be started.

These are my 2 cents... users mental model / usability study would help.

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