TechNet has recorded thousands of videos in the past ten years in the form of webcast replays, screencasts on blogs, and in the product TechCenter “How Do I” areas. Video is the fastest growing content type on TechNet and I see no slowdown in growth. In fact, we have some interesting plans I think you’ll like. Let’s talk about where we’re at and where we are headed.
Years ago the videos we posted were really pretty bad in terms of the user experience. It wasn’t the message in the video, but rather the quality of the video. They were blurry, jerky and prone to buffering. At the time there was little else you could do. People simply didn’t have the bandwidth necessary to watch something in near HD quality from their home or office internet connection.
TechNet is investing in the video experience to increase the overall quality of the content experience, discoverability, and provide opportunities for community participation.
You can see in the screenshot we are providing a wide array of audio and video types so you can watch or listen to the demonstration or training while on the go, in the gym, or at your desk. We provide a larger player for the in browser experience. If you prefer a full screen view, that is available as well. You can of course download to your Zune, iPod and later this year we’ll have supported formats for the Windows Phone 7 Series.
Our strategy is to provide you with a rich video portal experience complete with comments, voting, rating, rich meta data support, and a large pipeline of great technical content from Microsoft experts and the community. We want to automatically surface and link other related videos, or other videos an author has produced in addition to social syndication with platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Sound good? We’re just getting started.
Because we are using Silverlight, we can take advantage of the underlying content delivery network and platform improvements. In fact, we are moving the platform to IIS Smooth Streaming soon to support the plans we have for the coming video portal experience. You can see some examples of this at the Microsoft.com/video portal today.
Wouldn’t you like a little credit and love for all of your contributions? Well I’m happy to say we are making some improvements soon that will recognize your contributions to TechNet and enable you to build and identity and reputation within the TechNet Community. In order to do that, we are overhauling the TechNet Profile Page.
As you can see in the screenshot below, the profile has been improved. We provide a much larger area for your picture or avatar. There is an area for your blog or website, employer, other Microsoft profile affiliations, and how long you’ve had a TechNet profile. You’ll also notice a much larger area for your biography.
One of the things I noticed in the series comments is that some people don’t like blogs. They don’t trust the technical accuracy and would like to filter them from search results. Our coming profile system can certainly change that. If my content is consistently getting votes and rated for quality and accuracy, someone that comes to technet.microsoft.com for the first time can look at my work and profile and make a decision with better supporting data. This will be apparent in search results. This will be apparent all across our profiles.
Take a look at Lex Green in the sample screenshot above. It’s immediately apparent he is a high contributor, Microsoft employee, and has garnered a lot of points from the voting and rating system. Would you still write off his blog? What about all of the forum thread answers?
You’ll see profile information in areas like the Forums. This is really a key area because you can easily spot Microsoft employees, MVPs, and other top contributors and experts. It’s going to become important for all types of content like the Script Gallery, Library, Video portal and other areas we’ll discuss more in the future.
The data about you is important for several reasons. The breadth and depth of your contributions will be on full display. This goes beyond street cred. This allows you to learn about other people you encounter at the various sites we have and engage with them at different levels.
We are shipping the new profile system this week so by all means, let us know what you think!!!