We recently sat down with Josh Farmer from Xero to hear how his team create beautiful, engaging instructional videos for their users. Xero is of course the global leader in online accounting software for small businesses and their accountants and their product has achieved the seemingly impossible task of making accountancy sexy. Like us, Xero believes that software should always look and feel incredible, and their rapidly expanding user base reflects the success of that approach.
Xero’s phenomenal growth mandates an ever-increasing volume of premium-quality video content to engage and educate its customers. Last year they launched Xero TV, a one-stop shop for all the video content in the Xero ecosystem. The idea was to give Xero users a full suite of how-to-videos, case studies, and product updates.
With all this content, the production line can be tricky to wrangle, which is where Wipster comes in. Xero have been loyal Wipsters for over a year now. We spoke to them about how they use Wipster across their ever-expanding global network, as well as the importance of crafting beautiful video content.
Wipster: Tell us a bit about what you and your team do, Josh
Josh: We’re primarily focused on producing educational ‘how-to’ and overview videos for our customers and people evaluating Xero for the first time.
We want them to be both easy on the eye and easy to learn from. We want to get viewers excited about Xero. We want to engage them right through to the end of the video so they can take away everything they need to know in order to get started.
What other tools besides Wipster do you guys use?
J: Adobe of course! After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop – that sort of thing. We use Camtasia for the screen casting stuff.
W: Tell us about how Wipster fits into your working process.
J: We need to provide each other with precise feedback. Not only what is happening visually in the video but how well it’s playing out to the instructional content. So we’ll use Wipster to share it with the core team, iterate on the changes that come out of that, and then send later versions out out to the wider group of stakeholders for sign-off.
We really sweat the details of these videos, so using Wipster goes a long way in helping us achieve the level of quality we need.
W: Tell us about your team. Who makes the videos?
J: At Xero both the Marketing and Education teams make videos. My team rests under education and includes a group of very talented motion graphic designers, writers and screencasters. We all work very closely together throughout the whole process continually refining until we get it just right. It makes for a very impactful video that achieves the results we’re after.
W: Are there usually a lot of stakeholders involved in the sign-off process?
J: With a fast-moving company like Xero, there are always people whose input we need when we create new content. As you’d expect, we tend to need their sign-off in a hurry and they’re almost never all in the same place at the same time.
Before we used Wipster, the process to collate and action feedback was extremely time consuming. Wipster has completely changed that. It really helps us refine our videos that much more and it really shows in the end result. Now we have a very smooth, productive process. Everyone who needs to gets their say, and for us it all comes back to the same place.
W: Your video work has the same impressively high standard as your product. Is there anywhere non-Xero users can see it?
J: Xero.com/tv! To celebrate FY14 we decided to have a bit of fun and put together a little montage of some of our work over the last year (peer reviewed on Wipster of course).