Best Practices for Displaying Trailers on Mobile

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Designing for Mobile Use

Designing for mobile phones and tablets presents challenges because space is at a premium. The good news is that as mobile becomes ever more popular, consumers no longer expect a brand to look the same way on their phone as they do on a computer; in fact they expect you to design for the smaller screen.  So let’s look at a few designs that have found great ways to present trailers on mobile screens.  There isn’t room to show every thumbnail in a slide show at the same time on mobile, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a slide show.  The thumbnails rotate in the example from Video Detective below.  Consumers can also select lists of titles that are ‘opening’, “Coming”, “New”, or “Trending”.


Now let’s look at the mobile site for online movie ticket seller Fandango which does a significant portion of their sales through mobile phones, so it’s no surprise that their app is superb.  In the example below you can see that they’ve reduced the amount of information, but still have the critical title, release date, length and rating on the movie title page. There are buttons for those who want additional info about the cast or reviews of the movie.  Prominent below the poster art is a button for the trailer.  There’s even room for a banner ad at the top and that incorporates a button for the trailer.

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“The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” has multiple trailers, clips, interviews, and featurettes and Fandango uses thumbnails perfectly suited to mobile.  Fans can scroll through the list, get just enough information to see what the video is about, and select the ones that interest them.



Mobile Video
Because space is limited, you can’t show much more than the video when it plays on a mobile device.  Further, iOS and mobile apps in general do not allow overlays, so most apps simply have the player fill the screen.   Also, because plug-ins generally are device specific there’s not much advantage in including them in the player for video in mobile.  Better to just design your app so that things like buy buttons and/or social share buttons show outside the player in the app.


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Here’s a screen grab of the ‘Robocop’ trailer playing in landscape mode on the Video Detective app.  It looks terrific on a small screen which is one reason why so many people watch trailers on mobile.



That’s it!  Now get out there and make an awesome app for trailers on mobile!

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