I am building a visual dictionary for a sign language. Part of the dictionary is a video function where you can see someone making the sign or signing a definition. These videos are pretty short, 1-2 seconds for a sign and 3-5 for a definition. Is it better to have the videos repeat automatically or should there be a replay button?
Why not let the user decide? I'd simply have a toggle that enables/disables the auto repeat feature.
I see two use cases:
- Someone is wanting a quick review of things that they have just learned (autorepeat is not really needed)
- Someone is learning new vocabulary and needs to absorb the nuances of each sign (autorepeat is very useful)
I believe it would be very useful to provide a quick and easy way to toggle this feature on and off (i.e. not tucked away in some "User Settings" menu, but rather controlled by a switch/button/toggle near the video itself).
I would run some user testing to observe how people use this feature and make adjustments from there.
From personal experience, I can comfortably watch a 2 second gif repeatedly, if and only if the transition from end to start is quite smooth.
If you are working with computer generated models: Perhaps the hands could return to the default position after they finish.
If you are working with content you can't influence: Perhaps you can add a fade out of the end shot, directly followed by a fade in to the start shot. This may mean your 2 sec video becomes 3 or 4 seconds, but I think it should be worth it.
Do not have the video on repeat by default; if a repeat option is offered to the user or if the sign is repeated within the video itself, make sure it's completely obvious when the sign starts and when it ends.
Some signs repeat parts of the sign. Do not confuse users into thinking a sign must be repeated by repeating it.
Avoid having a jump cut from the end of the video to the start without anything to indicate that's what's happening. Starting with a freeze-frame and a caption, then letting the animation play, and then having a freeze-frame which dissolves quickly (e.g. 0.1 second) back to the first freeze-frame+caption combo will make it very clear where the loop is, and avoid any sense of "time disruption".
Videos that start automatically when a page is loaded via session-restore can be annoying. I would suggest that if you have many pages of text, each of which has a video associated with it, you may want to have the video player and its controls be in part of the web page which remains constant as the person selects the different texts, so if the person clicks "play repeatedly" then proceeding from one text page to another will cause video associated with the new page to play or not according to settings on the video. For example, if you like radio buttons, you could use:
(X) Auto-play once when showing text ( ) Auto-play repeatedly ( ) Manual playback only
To restate what others have said: There's nothing wrong with looping but
Don't do a hard loop. Have an in-between.
Run the 2 sec video and hold on the last frame. Quick cross fade to a text sign "Boat.", for 2 seconds. Quick cross back to the first frame of the video. Run the vid - repeat.
Run the 2 sec video. Hold on the last frame. Over the last frame, quick fade up lettering "Boat.". hold for 2 secs. Quick fade out the lettering, then instant cut to the first frame of the vid and immediately run. Repeat.
Run the 2 sec video and hold on the last frame. Quick cross fade to amorphous gray cloud. Hold for 2 secs. Quick cross back to the first frame of the video. Run the vid - repeat.
Idea 4 - you often see this:
It's the "news expose repeating loop" in-between:
Run the 2 sec video. At the end, run a "comic rewind" for 2 seconds. (So, you see a suggestion of "tape rewinding" with chatter stripes and the like.) Pause on the first frame for 2 secs; run the vid. Repeat.
Ask any good film editor to get more ideas!
I hope it helps and works!