RBS : A clever approach to supporting stories

An interesting new approach to integrating rich media without distracting from core copy on the UK banks Black History Month blog posts.

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The feature

UK bank RBS marked Black History Month on its Careers blog with a set of three articles, offering perspectives from black staff from around the bank. These are supported by a small pop-up which appears discreetly at the bottom right of the screen and shuffles (silently) through a range of talking heads featuring other black voices within the bank.

On mouseover the pop-up widget appears in full on the screen, where users can choose to either close it with an intuitive ‘X’ or click to play the soundbite. (Once ‘closed’ the widget remains hidden for the duration of that session, no longer appearing on the other blog posts within the Black History Month set.)

If users click to play the soundbite, a ‘Black History Month’ talking heads library page is opened, with the video playing in an overlay panel. The underlying page has a set of 10 soundbites from five members of staff from around the organization. Each film is around 30 seconds long, and is shot informally in an ‘Instagram live’ or ‘vlog’ style. Topics cover internal minority staff networks and events taking place across the month, why people of all communities should care about Black History Month, how diversity and inclusion enriches the workplace, and more.   

The takeaway

Setting the subject matter to one side, this use of an interactive pop-up caught our eye as a novel approach to highlight multimedia material without either distracting or removing users from the main article; working as a type of ‘related link’, but for videos. This offers a potentially useful approach to a challenge many sites struggle with: incorporating short profiles, expert views, or supporting case studies without overwhelming the core message on the page.

It is not perfect – for instance the current range of profiles and filtering options offered on the overlay page are limited and, more pressingly, if users close the widget and want to get back to it there is no obvious means to do so – but it is an interesting technique and we will watch with interest to see how it evolves.

First published 05 November, 2019
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