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Imagine a chat app where you can send a text message, audio message, and video message (no screen recording - primarily used to send selfie videos). When the recording flow begins, I'm wondering if the user should be allowed to record a video with no microphone device or with their microphone muted.

I think perhaps there could be situations where for instance a user wants to use sign language but not worry about the ambient noise around them. However, I have no evidence as to if this use-case is "real" or not.

Obviously adding a "you're muted" toast for a few seconds when the recording begins would be a good way to account for erroneous video-without-audio recording attempts but I want to know if anyone has experience with a use-case where the user wanted to purposefully record a selfie video with no audio.

How would you advocate for allowing this to a PM and devs? Is it a question of accessibility or general user control and product flexibility?

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For a chat app, some videos are for showing something, not saying something (e.g., their cat doing something silly; exactly how a physical product is not working). You certainly do not want to require a connected microphone to record and send a video. What if the user's microphone is broken for some reason? It'll still be useful to send a video showing something happening, even if there weren't sound.

As for being able to deliberately send video without sound, I expect there are certainly situations where the ambient sound is a distraction, incongruent, or inappropriate. For example, the user wants to send a video panning over their beautiful peaceful garden, but there happens to be a road construction crew working nearby; the user wants to send a video of some baby ducks to their little nephew, but there's this drunk stranger going off with, "Look at those little f***ers!" The user is videoing the use of a product, while their 3-year-old a prattling on constantly. It probably doesn't happen much, so you are right to guard against accidentally making a video without sound.

More often, the user will make a recording, and an unwanted sound unexpectantly intrudes. Maybe it would be better if the user can selectively send the video without the sound track, rather than having to make the decision before recording it. That would cover both known and unexpected unwanted sounds.

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  • +1. I would just add that it'd be less error prone if the user is prompted about the audio before hitting 'send'. Nov 11, 2022 at 19:06

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