Videos on websites
Videos on websites
The role of video in web design - How to use it and what to be careful with
With the advance of technology, videos are making an increasing impact on web design. To start with, laptops and mobile devices - although having an obvious limitation in screen size - are now able to give more or less the same experience when browsing as a bigger screen would do. Secondly, internet speed is continuously growing, which also contributes to the spread of video usage.
Videos on websites can have two main roles:
- They can be design features,
- They can be 'stand-alone' videos which have a clear function on their own (like company videos, testimonials or product presentations, which have the primary purpose of conveying important information).
We'll focus on both of these aspects, one after the other.
1.) Video as a design feature
Web design has the purpose of making a website nice, appealing and well-functioning. Videos as design elements can contribute substantially to enhancing the user experience, as such - in many cases - they can help the site fulfil its aims. Video as a design feature is always a 'background' feature. It's for creating a pleasant atmosphere, promoting a better impression and enhancing the brand.
Where to use videos as design elements?
- As the opening slider background on the homepage
- As a decorative inserted section
For what type of business can it be beneficial?
Generally speaking, businesses selling 'experience' or 'top quality' can make good use of videos. However, we are not claiming that each and every business ticking that box should go for this design effect. The targeted market should also be taken into consideration.
Some typical examples when a video as a design feature is recommended:
Travel agencies - It's recommended to create an appealing video showing the main destinations. The video should have a pleasant flow and rhythm.
Event organising - An event-collage video is not only making a good impression but also conveys the more specific message as to what sort of events you organise and of what size.
Marketing agencies - Video design can be useful; however, don't fall into the trap of overused clichés (people sitting in elegant offices brainstorming, having meetings, working on computers). It's not easy but try to find something unique and more resourceful.
Beauty business - Some areas of this industry can easily make good use of pleasant and enjoyable video shots. However, when the service goes beyond pampering and includes healthcare as well, videos as design elements might not be suitable.
Wellness - This sector is ideal for perfect videos. It's probably easy to make quality shots at your venue.
Fitness - Similarly to wellness, it's advisable to make footage on site showing the real place 'in action', emphasising an enjoyable atmosphere. Find the golden middle way between showing the pace empty or crowded.
Healthcare - Healthcare is getting more and more important because it's much more than just offering essential services. The user experience also matters. It's worth having a nice video about the surroundings and people who work for the company. Besides a video, UX can be enhaced by other tool as well, such as healthcare apps.
Technical novelties, new products - In case of new or high precision products, video as a design feature can showcase not only the product in all its details but also enhances the message of innovation and top quality.
Restaurants, Coffee shops - People enjoy eating out not just for the great taste of the food and drink. Mainly, it's for the complex bundle of experience we get from it. A video is a great tool to visually express the sensation we can get from a cheerful dinner with friends or a relaxing coffee enjoyed in a cosy armchair of a lovely coffee shop.
Furniture, fashion, interior or architectural design - These areas speak for themselves and as the saying goes 'a picture tells a thousand words'. However, instead of using just still images, you can make a much more effective impression on your homepage with a fascinating flow of pleasant video shots in the background.
Sound/video recording - In the case of video companies, the need for videos as a design feature is out of the question. For companies specialised in sound recording, it's also recommended to incorporate a design video into the homepage not just for the sake of showing the technical equipment used but also to enhance the message of professionalism.
Accommodation - It's advisable to use videos but only if the service provided and the place itself is of outstanding quality. Stock videos must be avoided. Use footage made at the venue only.
Gardening - Owning either a PYO farm or a small gardening business, you and your website can take advantage of the beauties of nature. Having some video design elements with lovely flowers, plants or ripe fruit adds to the message you wish to get across. If you are a one-man-band, consider appearing on these video shoots as well. People seeing you and your business 'in action' may trust your services more.
Businesses for which video as a design element is not suitable
In general, we can say that when a business is 'industrial' in nature and the targeted market is companies rather than individuals, it's not recommended to use impression-based videos on the website. In large scale agriculture, forestry and fishing, in the construction or manufacturing business, etc. data and figures are much more convincing. Videos as design elements wouldn't add value to the site. Not that it's impossible to create a stunning video. No. It's because the targeted market doesn't act on impulse. (Would an impressive video on steel manufacturing - with all its impressive flashing lights - on a specific website influence the decision of a company as to ordering rails from that particular manufacturer? Probably not.)
Although we think that we wouldn't use video on these websites as a design element, having educational, explanatory, case study, etc. videos are still highly recommended.
We also wouldn't recommend videos as a design feature on websites of solicitors, lawyers, accountants or financial advisors either (or if applied, just in a very moderate way). However, having a brand / explanatory / testimonial video on these websites could work quite well.
It's not a good idea to put a background video on a photographer's website. It's better to show beautiful photos from the collection.
These are guidelines only. It's always the nature of the particular business and the targeted audience which determine whether a video design element is beneficial or not. Let's take 'Repair of motor vehicles' as an example. If you run a typical garage, you don't necessarily need a video. However, you could create a video to build trust, especially for new customers. But, if you specialise in repairing classic cars, a video design feature could make a huge difference, so it's a must in this case.
How to use design videos?
Fullscreen is recommended. Why?
Just like in the cinema: The bigger the screen, the more spectacular the movie.
Choosing the 'boxed' solution (when the video is enframed) would be a risky and misleading venture: it suggests that it's a 'real' video that is showing useful information, and the visitor would expect sound and/or caption as well. So, go for fullscreen.
Length: 20-35 sec., in 'loop' mode. Why?
Loop mode is essential if we want to keep the effect alive.
If it's less than 20 seconds, the video is repetitive and dull. If it's more than 35 seconds, we are loading the website in vain with unnecessary data.
There is no such thing as a perfect 'recipe' for a style that would work for each business. The mood and content of the video, the colour scheme, the style of editing, the rhythm and flow should always be tailored to the style of the particular company. A website of a coffee shop needs a video totally different in nature and tone than a website of a personal trainer.
One thing is for sure: It's always better to have your own video than using stock videos, even if the cost seems to be higher at first glance. However, bear in mind that having a video done by a professional is not always more expensive than a video made of stock videos. Professional stock videos are available for about £50 each, and for a nice feature video at least 6 or 8 cuts are necessary, plus editing costs. All things considered, the solution with stock videos might not be cheaper than the work made by a professional videographer. Furthermore, a videographer can create exactly the video that you have a mind, whereas stock videos certainly have their limitations.
Editing, timing, composition
With proper editing, even average footage can become really good, and of course, the contrary is also true: excellent footage can be easily spoilt with poor editing.
The length of the individual cuts (sections?),the transition between them and the rhythm the cuts create, all determine the effect the video as a whole will have.
Discuss your needs with your web designer and your videographer and trust them. A design video is for background purposes, hence its composition should be entirely different than, e.g. in case of a testimonial video. Even if background videos work "by default" only on desktop and laptop computers (so mobile phones can now be disregarded in that aspect),screen sizes do differ. Consequently, due to the responsiveness of the website, not all users will see all the areas of the background video. This kind of video must be made in a way that even if some bits from the left & right side and/or from the top & bottom are missing because of the screen size, the video still makes sense and is still appealing. It mustn't contain elements, the lack of which would be painfully conspicuous and would ruin the overall effect.
Text on the video
Design videos used in the background should have some texts written on them.
As for font size and quantity, the rule of thumb is the same as on sliders: a few words, a slogan, a maximum of one additional sentence, and a call-to-action button. It should stay clear and light, not overcrowded. Readability is crucial.
Important technical drawback
A video effect is highly spectacular and can give intense experience. It carries much more visual information than a photo or photomontage. However, there is one thing you should be aware of. Video backgrounds don't work on mobile devices by default. This default setting is set by mobile manufacturers because they assume that users won't be happy to use up their monthly traffic by downloading a massive amount of unnecessary video files. Technically it's possible to override this setting, but is strongly not recommended.
Some general advice:
- Think of an alternative still image for viewers on mobile devices.
- The length of a design video mustn't be more than 30-35 sec.
- If you wish to have a text to appear on the background video, don't integrate it into the video itself, but put it as an independent text onto the layer of the video so that Search engines can read it.
2.) Videos on websites that convey information and help your sales
So far, we have looked into videos as design features. Let's turn our attention to the other type: videos which don't just make an impression; they convey essential information.
How and why a company video will help to improve your business.
The most vital question: How to grab and hold your customer's attention? It's a proven fact: The best marketing tool right now is video.
Many surveys have found that the average attention span when browsing online is just eight seconds. The time you have to grab your visitor's attention is even less. You have only a few seconds. Video works differently. An engaging video can keep your audience's attention from start to finish. It can also help shorten your sales cycle by delivering more quality information about your products or services.
Why do we prefer a video to a written description? It's the same reason we prefer to go out for our Sunday roast in a pub rather than doing the shopping, preparing ingredients and cooking. People love to get things fast and effectively, whether it's food, a product, knowledge or information.
Let's see some statistics about videos
The average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video.
Conversion rates for landing pages with video are six to eight times better than the same page without a video.
Whether your company is a 'one-man-band' or you have a few hundred employees, one of the following types of company video will meet your needs.
Four types of company video that are really worth thinking about
Company introduction or brand video
As the name suggests, company videos introduce your business. These can have the widest range of different styles, depending on the size and nature of your business. In the case of a small business, the most vital thing is the personality of the business owner. Because being trustworthy is a key factor for small companies, it's crucial not just to show yourself: Client testimonials are a crucial part of a company video as well. For larger companies, it's useful to show the brand's story and philosophy.
Three things to remember in making a successful company introduction video:
- keep it personal - your personality is your brand
- show your strengths, either as a new and small company or having spent decades in your business - both could have benefits that are worth emphasising
- be brief; an ideal company video is no more than one or two minutes.
Expert or informative videos
Provide your audience with information while they are still researching their purchase. Customers will research widely online before looking for an online shop or a service provider. By that stage, they already know what they want. The more information you give to your potential customers about your product or service, the more chance you have that they will buy from you. The reason is quite simple: If you give more information, your 'level of expertise' will be judged more highly. You should be a reliable source of information because your potential customers want to know as much as possible before they engage with you.
It's simple: How-to videos show how to use a product or service. Quite often, a Users' Manual document is published in writing. Having a video about the use of your product or service is not just a 'how-to' description, it shows your commitment and care for your customers, which can increase your sales potential.
The methods for this type of video can be varied. For a product presentation, you can create drawings and animations, but shooting 'live' images can also work. When it comes to an online service, you can use screen capture software to show the process. Professional voiceover and a creative composition need to be added to achieve the maximum effect.
You might think that promotions are the most vital part of your sales activity. However, direct promotions are less effective when your customers recognise the 'direct selling' approach. It's fairly good when it comes to an important announcement, promoting an upcoming event or new product launch, but you can't use it as a direct 'sales tool' without having any special occasion or discount. Tickling your audience's curiosity is always the best.
If you need a company video or just need more information, don't hesitate to contact us.
The price of creating a video for your company depends on a lot of details. The length, the structure, the need for a script, the complexity of editing, the style of the footage and the need for equipment, these all will influence the fees.
If you wish to know more about how a video can help your business, please fill in our online form: