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10 Characteristics of An Easy-to-Use Interview Recording System

“Easy-to-use” is a key objective 100% of the time in an interview recording system. Time and resources are scarce, so it’s critical to have system that just works and requires little to no training.

As you evaluate interview room recording systems, how do you identify ease of use?

Below is a list of 10 verifiable characteristics that prove whether an interview recording system is easy-to-use.

  1. “Turnkey” Implementation

Ease of use begins before your interview recording system is installed. Look for a vendor who can provide you with all the required components of your solution: cameras, software, audio equipment, installation services, and ongoing support. One vendor for the entire project simplifies the purchasing process from procurement to risk assessment to scheduling implementation. It also simplifies the lifecycle of the system when you have one point of contact for any issues, be they hardware or software related.

Questions to ask vendors:

  • Do you provide both the hardware and software required for the solution? If not, what components would we need to source separately?
  • What type of implementation and/or installation services do you provide?
  • How soon can we use the system from the time that we purchase it?


  1. Simple Architecture

The first step towards ease of use is a system that works as expected, when expected. A simple architecture means a more reliable interview recording system because it uses minimal hardware, which reduces potential points of failure. The foundations of a stable interview recording system are cameras, audio equipment, and the software, with perhaps accessories, like a start/stop button, as a fourth component.

Questions to ask vendors:

  • What are the components of your system?
  • What makes your system a stable solution?
  • How do you design your system to improve reliability?


  1. Training in One Hour or Less

One way to evidence ease of use, is how much training is required prior to implementation. Ask vendor’s references about how long it took their officers to learn to use their system. It’s reasonable to expect end users and administrators to learn how to use an interview recording system in less than an hour.

Questions to ask vendors:

  • What is the format and duration of end user training?
  • What is the format and duration of administrator training?
  • What type of training tools are available after initial training is complete?


  1. Workflow Options

An easy-to-use system offers workflow options, from starting the recording via the software, to using an accessory like a start/stop button. Even better if it supports combining the two options for an optimized workflow in which the officer can prepare the video indexing information via the software from their desk, and then walk down to the interview room to initiate the recording on-demand with a start/stop button mounted outside the interview room.

Questions to ask vendors:

  • What options do you provide for starting and stopping a recording?
  • Are these workflow options interchangeable based on our needs?
  • Does your software support preparing to record and index video in advance of an interview?


  1. Scalable Permissions

Software user permissions are not just for role-based access control. User permissions also ensure your officers only navigate the features they need to perform their job, and don’t have to waste time sifting through unneeded tools or digging through information unrelated to their responsibilities. For example, an officer may only see videos they are the author of, or that have been shared with them, so they don’t have to search through videos unrelated to their investigations.

Questions to ask vendors:

  • How detailed are your permission settings? For example, are they pre-defined or configurable based on the needs of our department?
  • Do your permission settings support role-based access control?
  • How are user roles assigned and managed?


  1. Configurable User Interface

In addition to a user interface that adjusts to reflect a user’s permissions, a user interface that uses words specific to your department’s environment also contributes to ease of use. For example, naming rooms in the software the same names your department already uses daily for the interview rooms. This makes it easy for officers to quickly select the room or rooms they want to observe via the software, or to initiate a recording.

In addition to configuring room names, an easy-to-use software allows you to customize the field names used to index video files and add notes to a video, so you can use language familiar to your department. Video indexing templates should simplify data entry with standardized fields like drop-down dictionaries, multi-select fields, or even pre-populated fields.

  • What are ways in which the software is configured to match our space?
  • What types of fields do your video indexing templates support?
  • Can you make fields mandatory to ensure required data is associated with a video file?


  1. Multiple Ways to Find Your Video

When an interview is ended the video file should be immediately available for review and export in the software. An easy-to-use software supports multiple methods of searching for and sorting videos. For example, search by date range, keyword (video index data or notes added to the video), and sort by recording name, room, author, and duration. Extra easy if the system also supports automatically grouping videos based on key criteria like case number, investigator name(s), or case type.

  • How long does it take for a video to be available for review after an interview ends?
  • How do I find a video for review and export?
  • What tools do you have for making finding a video easier than scrolling through a list of file names?


  1. Efficient Video Review

An easy-to-use software supports video playback within the software itself and does not require additional add-ons or plugins. Multiple cameras recorded as part of one video file should playback synchronized as one and allow for the option to view one camera view at a time. During playback, annotations or note adding tools facilitate jumping to key points in a video, so officers don’t have to scroll through hours of interview to find the segment of video they need.

  • What tools in your system help facilitate quick review of interviews?
  • Does your system include a clip and/or redact tool to excerpt video? Does this tool impact the initial recording?
  • Are any add-ons or plugins required for video playback?


  1. Non-Proprietary File Formats

In addition to being able to review videos in the software, when you need to export videos, they should export in a non-proprietary format, such as .mp4 or .mov, for play back in any standard video player. A non-proprietary file format ensures when the video is exported from the system to a USB or CD as physical evidence, it can be played back with ease, such as in a courtroom, and not restricted to review in the software in which it was originally recorded.

Questions to ask vendors:

  • How do we export video files?
  • What file format are your videos recorded in and can we play those files outside your system?
  • Can we export audio-only files? If so, in what format?


  1. Low Maintenance

After implementation and adoption of a system, ease of use carries on into maintenance of the system. Maintenance includes technical support, software updates, and hardware warranty. Easy-to-use in terms of technical support looks like a service provider who has hours of support and means of communication compatible with your department’s preferences. Software updates should be included in the cost of support and applied with minimal downtime. And it’s reasonable to expect a warranty of three to five years for audio/video equipment.

Questions to ask vendors:

  • What are your support hours and what are the ways in which we can contact support?
  • How do you prioritize issues and what are your response times?
  • What is your hardware warranty and what is the process for replacing an item of equipment under warranty?

We go more in depth on the benefits a reputable vendor brings to the table, in out checklist, Beyond the Technology: Why Service Is the Foundation of a Successful A/V Capture Solution. In this we discuss the 10 service offerings you should expect from your A/V provider.

Get My Checklist

An easy-to-use interview recording system is identifiable by its features and by the way it’s implemented, adopted, and maintained. If you’re ready to begin your evaluation process with these ten characteristics and questions for vendors in-hand, contact us.


About Us

Our software empowers users to increase the effectiveness of their programs by leveraging the power of video. With over 15 years of experience, the team at Intelligent Video Solutions is dedicated to delivering excellence and can meet any challenge.
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