August 14, 2013

Introducing Customize

Brendan Schwartz

Founder, CTO

We have some big news to share! Wistia just became way more powerful with the launch of Customize. We took all the tools from the SuperEmbed builder (Turnstile, calls to action, custom controls, etc.) and moved them right onto the video page. This means:

  • You can use all these tools on videos directly inside your account. There’s no need to embed to get the power of the SuperEmbed builder. Think amazing video landing pages that only take a few clicks to create.
  • You can update settings for videos on your website without having to re-embed or fiddle with any code! Just pop open the Customize panel, make a change, and click save. Your video is instantly updated, everywhere.

In the olden days before Customize (yesterday), you had to upload your video to Wistia, click “Embed,” and configure your video settings. All these settings were ephemeral. They were tied to the embed code, but not saved in relation to the video itself.

With Customize, you configure everything right on the video. So you upload your file, click “Customize,” set up things exactly as you want, and click “Save.” These settings are now permanently tied to that video until you change them!

The Mechanics of Customize

Here’s what this means for you:

  • Tools like Turnstile email collection and calls-to-action will be available for videos in your account, not just videos you’ve embedded.
  • Any changes you make to the customizations on a video will also automatically update anywhere that video is embedded: no need to re-embed!
  • Embed codes will be shorter and simpler, making them more resilient and less likely to cause problems, no matter where you’re putting them.

Depending on how you’re using Wistia now, you’ll likely have to make a few small adjustments to your workflow. The documentation pages on embedding and email marketing have been updated to reflect the changes. Check out the Customize documentation for more in-depth information and more powerful tools, such as loading presets and applying settings across many different videos.

How Customize Came To Be

This is a big change to the product, so it’s worth noting how it came to be. About a year and a half ago, we all got together and came up with a long list of shortcomings in the product. Actually, I’m being nice. What we really did was have a few drinks and rant about how horrible certain parts of the Wistia experience were — basically, it was a giant internal product teardown. It’s important to be your own harshest critic, after all.

Customize

Out of this epic product bashing session came the idea for Customize. It wasn’t clear at first, but there were a whole bunch of thorny issues that were all closely related:

  • Why can’t we use the settings from the SuperEmbed builder inside our account?
  • We want video landing pages!
  • Re-embedding to adjust video settings is frustrating.
  • It’s annoying to email embed codes to my developers after I customize them.
  • Why is embed for email separate from the normal embed?

Slowly but surely, we arrived at the purest and simplest solution that would solve all these problems (and a whole bunch more). Joe started sketching up concepts of how this would look and function, and excitement started building.

Rather than making one enormous, invasive change, we split this into two parts. The first part was the Wistia Tune-Up. This was comprised of visual changes to the application, nothing functional.

Then, over the following months, we collectively spent a lot of time thinking through the details of Customize. There were a many weird edge cases and we wanted to make sure we had everything covered. Jeff, Jordan, Max, and Mercer did a great job of socializing the ideas of Customize in support conversations and gauging how much it would help or hurt in each situation.

Finally, we began the technical work. Robby and Max built out the underlying data models and infrastructure, and then Max, Joe, and Liat meticulously crafted the Customize panel. It represents a complete rewrite of the SuperEmbed builder and is an astonishing feat of technical front-end wizardry.

And here we are now! It feels amazing to be able to finally launch what we’ve been quietly working so hard on for so long.

Questions?

Want to learn more and ask about these changes live? Register for our hour-long Customize webinar, tomorrow afternoon at 1 pm EST. Otherwise, feel free to visit the documentation to learn more about how to get the most out of these changes. Let us know if you have any questions!

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