website video series: don’t be a video snob

March 26, 2020

written by
Barbara O Stephenson

Video snobs. Yes, we’ve decided that’s a thing.

Everyone is hot to trot on video for their websites. “All the cool kids are doing it” or “it’s the only way to really get the experience” is something we hear all the time. But we bet you didn’t know that video is the most gated, difficult-to-access, elitist website content you could add that actually limits users ability to get access to your information. Here are our top 4 recommendations on making sure the video on your site isn’t bougie.

Automatic sound.

People often watch at work and the last thing you need is for them to freak out that unauthorized sound is blasting out in a quiet office or worse, during a conference call or meeting. Who are you to say people shouldn’t dream about vacation when they are in their 7th meeting of the day? The painful anxiety from a loud, unexpected sound is the polar opposite reaction you want when you’re trying to express the wonderful relaxing atmosphere of your luxury resort. So start videos in mute. Unless of course you’re communicating that people who have to actually work for a living aren’t your target audience.


Closed Captioning.

Did you know that all guidelines recommend you have audible descriptions for video files so that users with limited sight can hear what’s going on? And for users with limited hearing you should have closed captioned transcripts for speaking, sound effects, or music? By not including those, you show that you don’t care about the needs of your users or worse, that you don’t want ‘those people’ to visit your site. Way to discriminate.


Autoplay video.

In the same lines as above, there are users who react very unexpectedly to autoplaying movement on a website. Don’t set your video (or sliders for that matter) to autoplay & always offer up a play/ pause button controls so people can control the video. This is extremely important if your video provides key information about your services. And so is not opening yourself up to being sued for ADA non-compliance unless you’re Daddy Warbucks with the big pockets.


Mobile video.

Not everyone lives in a big city with 5G or has the latest phone. By using video on mobile views, you suggest that you simply don’t care about people who aren’t always into the newest, biggest, latest gadget. Big videos take a lot of data to download. Some people are on free wifi connections and not everyone has unlimited data. Offering up a play button or just an image with a video link is simply doing users a kindness. Not just the rich kids with shiny toys.

Basically, video implementation should give the type of consideration we should be showing everyone in a polite society. Don’t be a video snob!