The weekend Wall Street Journal includes an interesting idea about how to put the user in control of her/his video experience.

The WSJ.com site includes a 13:36 video story about an Indiana high school history teacher’s ongoing project to encourage students to discover the untold stories of Indiana soldiers who died in various wars.  I suspect for a lot of people, that piece is just overwhelmingly long.

While the Journal puts the text version of the story behind a pay wall, it allows the non-subscriber to experience the video project free. But the Journal puts the user in charge.  On the inside page, the wsj.com site allows the user to experience the piece in chunks.  The opus open and the three vignettes. Then the user can click through the close-up still images contained in each smaller solider story.

The improvement I would like to see is I would like to continue listening to the video while clicking through the photos.

I appreciate so many things about this project.

It celebrates great teaching. It celebrates the value of history. It shows serious students. It honors veterans, it provides closure for families.  On top of all of that it is strong multimedia smartly designed to put the user in charge of making consumption decisions.