Video backgrounds

Jan 06, 2015

Thoughts on a trend we'll see everywhere in 2015

This post on Designmodo entitled Web design trends that will rule 2015 got me thinking, about the dangers of following trends set by others.

I think the first buzz I recall came in mid 2014, when airbnb redesigned their site, and although their was plenty of discussion about the new logo, a lot was also said about their usage of video backgrounds, and no I’m not talking about the negative stuff…..

A second or two later she moved and I realized I’m watching a short video of some lady sleeping. Which felt very creepy.
ssmoot comment on a Ycombinator post

The video has subtle movements, the camera is fixed, but most importantly, the content is relevant.

Unfortunately, as design trends often dicatate, content can soon become secondary.

Above is a video from Paypal, a site where seemingly you go to drink coffee. Sure you can pay for coffee in some places with Paypal, but is it the key purpose for the website?

PayPal is an American, international digital wallet based e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet.
- Wikipedia

Their message, “We’re here, there, anywhere” is equally abstract, and doesn’t give any added value to the visitor of the website.

I’m not suggesting that decorative things shouldn’t be there at all, but video backgrounds that take up so much real estate could be detrimental if the site message is lost or confused.

The video on the Dutch version of the site is much better, the text overlay translates to, “Safe. Simple. Online shopping and payment”, and although the video itself isn’t that inspiring, at least it features goods that have been received.

Through PayPal, users can send or receive payments for online auctions on websites like eBay, purchase or sell goods and services, or donate money or receive donations.
- Wikipedia

If you are going to use video backgrounds on your sites, then ensure that it isn’t having a negative impact on the goals (and performance) of the website, and those of your visitors.

Finally, here is a wonderful example. It is fun, entertaining, and a talking point. The video adds value by instantly explaining what service is on offer.