The Common Craft Blog

This blog is where we announce new videos & talk about the power of explanation & the change it can create. 

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The video above by Kurzgesagt is rather long and packed with information, but presented in a manner that makes it easy to understand thanks to good writing and really compelling visuals. I love that it has little humorous bits, like the Secret Dinosaur Society (05:31). Notice the subtle use of comparative visuals, like the deepest hole humans have ever drilled (03:25) when discussing the earth's crust. Overall I think it's great work.

I do have one quibble

In the past I've written about the Intellectual Leap. This is when an explanation suddenly goes over the audience's head and causes them to lose confidence. Here's how I described it previously:

Imagine a well designed explanation as a series of steps. The audience is guided along with understandable examples and points that build on one another.  The steps are small and consumable.
Common Craft Leaps 1
An intellectual leap happens when a step is too big. The audience is suddenly confronted with an idea, word or example that is unfamiliar or not understandable. They get stuck.
This is a common problem with explanations and it’s important because it impacts one of the most important elements of successful explanations: the audience’s confidence.  When confidence is shaken, explanations fail.

When watching a video like the one above, I look for intellectual leaps. Like all explanations, this video can only be judged by its intentions and potential audience. For the most part, the video uses technical but understandable langauge.

But at the 00:52 mark it discussed how earth was formed. It says "The gas cloud became denser in its center and formed an accretion disk". From my perspective, that's an intellectual leap that could impact confidence. What is an accretion disk? Do I need to understand that too? By not answering these questions, the audience could feel lost and that feeling can erode overall effectiveness. 

The question is: Did that specific idea need to be included? Could the leap have been avoided by leaving it out? Would that have compromised the bigger idea?

Answering these questions is the challenge of every explainer - and it's not easy. But looking for leaps in your communications is one way to approach being more understandable.  

We just published a new video that explains Affiliate Marketing.

Watch it now

About this video:

Affiliate marketing can help individuals earn a living by promoting products and services they love online. But how the system works is complicated and comes with important best practices. It teaches:

  • Why affiliate marketing is like word-of-mouth marketing
  • How affiliate programs provide links and graphics to affiliates
  • How affiliate links and graphics are used in promotions
  • How revenue is shared when a website visitor buys from an affiliate link
  • Why it is important to disclose affiliate program participation

Get Edit Rights:

Don't forget: we now offer a membership plan that provides the rights to edit our videos in your own software. For example, if you have an affiliate program and need a way to promote it, you can edit this video to include your logo, brand, etc. Learn more about our Editor Plan.

Watch: Affiliate Marketing Explained by Common Craft.

The Art of Explanation - Now an Audiobook

Posted by: leelefever on June 25, 2014- 10:16am


Categories: Art of Explanation, audible, audiobook, book, Explanation

It's true. The Art of Explanation is now available as an audiobook and can be found on Audible. 

Art of Explanation Audiobook



Our new video is all about the models of online advertising.

This animation includes highlights:

About this video:

We see advertising everywhere online. Using an example of a small business, this video explains the major advertising models and how they work to build awareness for a new product. 

What it teaches:

  • Why advertising is so important to online commerce.
  • The basics of display and pay-per-click advertising.
  • How text and keyword-based advertising works.
  • Remarketing: Why some ads seem to follow you on the web.
  • How affiliate programs work.
  • How to get the most out of advertising.

Watch it now

Thanks to Patrick O'Keefe and Darren Barefoot for their help in the draft stages of this video.