Grab your headphones, unless you don't mind getting funny looks whilst sat on the bus. Auto-Play sound on videos is being trialed by Facebook and we aren't sure it's a great idea.
Given the annoyance caused by auto-play sound on websites, it resulted in this feature being largely optimised out of web design. This has become a given when trying to offer the ultimate in user experience on your site.
Facebook themselves said that mobile users prefer having the choice to turn ON sound when viewing a video or post. In fact, they found 80% of users react badly when sound is heard automatically and disabling this feature increased viewing times by an average of 12%.
This makes this trial all the more surprising.
However, given the explosion in interest in video amongst users over the recent past, there must be some real merit in trialing it. Otherwise, why would they?
Video has become a leading way to consume content (YouTube, Snapchat stories, Facebook Live... they're all huge. YouTube is now the world's second most used search engine, for example), and this was a surprise to those of us who enjoy producing and consuming written content.
Perhaps the logic behind turning auto-play sound back on makes logical sense. If people love watching videos so much, why not make it even more flawless to do so?
The trouble is though, here at Digital 22, we can't help but feel there will be too many instances where an unwanted sound might interrupt a quiet or inappropriate environment. Especially if video producers start trying to use sound to capture interest from the start.
This is before you consider the joke posts which will look to put non-headphone users into an awkward situation.
Facebook will be at least offering the option to disable auto-play sound in the general Settings.
But why not make it the other way around and see how many people turn it on, seeing as 80% of users react badly when sound is heard automatically?
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