30 June 2015 | 68 Comments
Last week I was in the middle of a teleconference when someone brought up a Kickstarter project. I pulled up Kickstarter, searched for the project, and opened the page.
Instantly, loud music blared out of my speakers. Damn autoplay. I paused the video and returned to the teleconference, hoping no one else had heard the disturbance. (Note: Apparently for some people, the sound is automatically muted unless they mouse over the video. That is not my experience, though.)
That’s right–if you haven’t noticed, Kickstarter videos now automatically start playing when you load an active project page. Maybe this was an intentional choice made after years of market research. Or maybe an intern accidentally clicked the wrong button and no one noticed. We’ll never know.
I’m biased–I loathe autoplay. When I’m ready to watch a video, I’ll click play. However, in an effort to keep this constructive, I’ve tried to create a pros/cons list.
After you read the list, I’d love to get your feedback on the poll and in the comments. I’ll send the poll data to Kickstarter in a few days.
- More people will watch project videos.
- Maybe some people like autoplay?
- It’s super annoying.
- If you work in an office, you’re now less likely to visit Kickstarter during the day because everyone can hear when you do.
- The primary project image–which, by Kickstarter’s own admission, is very important–is now displayed for less than a second before the video starts playing.
- Something that should be in the user’s control is now out of their control.
- Project pages can now take significantly longer to load on slower computers or mobile devices, eating up data plans. (Thanks to Travis for pointing this out.)
- When a creator is successfully engaging backers, those backers are likely to return to the project page time after time. Autoplay hurts that experience because backers only need to watch the video the first time they visit a page, not every time. (Thanks to Jacob for this insight.)
- Did I mention it’s super annoying? This is coming from someone who loves Kickstarter. Instead of getting an endorphin burst when I load a Kickstarter page, I now cringe a little bit. Every time.
I’d love to hear what you think. Autoplay or not?
UPDATE: Kickstarter now allows backers to turn off the autoplay function in their settings. Click here and you’ll see the option in the far right column at the bottom.