Video backgrounds

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 there 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”.

“A second or two later she moved and I realized I’m watching a short video of some lady sleeping. Which felt very creepy”.

“A second or two later she moved and I realized I’m watching a short video of some lady sleeping. Which felt very creepy”.

Post on Ycombinator

Post on Ycombinator

Post on Ycombinator

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

Unfortunately, as design trends often dictate, 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 of the website?

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

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

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

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

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.

After a couple of days observing we drove down to San Diego for the start of the conference.

“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”.

“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”.

“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

Wikipedia

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.

After a couple of days observing we drove down to San Diego for the start of the conference.

More articles to read

Where a simple colour change can break the experience.

The confusion that comes with a catch-all job title.

Are we treating maps incorrectly?

© 2018-2019 Dean Birkett

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