What is it?
This is a pattern that Facebook uses on their video feed experiences. When users are watching a video from their feed, they can pin that video and keep it visible while they continue scrolling down.
How does this interaction or pattern work?
When users are watching a video that showed up on their newsfeed, they can hover over the video to reveal the play bar and a strip of actionable buttons.
One of these buttons is an icon that resembles the final state of this pattern. When hovering over the button, a tooltip with the text "Continue watching while you use Facebook" shows up.
Both, the icon and the helper text, are cues used to explain the interaction behind this pattern.
These cues are crucial when introducing new patterns since they help users to establish mental models around the framed functionality.
Upon clicking the button, a small video player fades-in and gets docked at the top right of the screen. One important detail to note here is that the new player will resume at the time at which the news feed player stops. Without this continuity the context would be lost, and the pattern wouldn't be beneficial for the user.
When the user scrolls, the video stays fixed at the top-right corner (following you as you scroll).
There are some instances in which this interaction would get triggered automatically upon scrolling. The most notorious one is when the user un-mutes the video (Facebook assumes that there's engagement with the video). Once you scroll after un-muting, the video gets pinned automatically.
How does it help or delight the user?
The helpfulness of this pattern from the user's perspective is debatable. Facebook is well known to exploit different mechanisms to drive engagement up. It's undeniable that this model can drive video engagement up and that would ultimately benefit Facebook's business.
However, this pattern is potentially helpful for users who want to multitask or that have developed multi-screen behaviors (like using a phone while watching TV).
From a usability point of view, we could also argue that this pattern helps the user to develop new content discovery mental models that rely on a combination of constant visibility and progressive content disclosure.
Click the heart to save to your favorites