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Published on September 16, 2011
Tags: Web Design London
It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but is this always the case in corporate web design? There is clearly a massive appetite among web users for video content; the huge audience of YouTube and other video-sharing sites is testament to how popular online videos can be, as well as the impact of the messages they can convey. This suggests that videos do have a place in corporate web design, but as with anything else, there are a few things to consider.
The Corporate Brand
A brand is more than just your company logo or trademark. It includes your customer’s entire experience and expectations as to how you conduct business with them. So, in the quest to include video you should be mindful of the entire brand experience.
At the highest, visual level one thing to keep in mind is that your website is a strong visual identity for your brand. Just as when you are designing logos and other graphics, any videos you include on your site need to fit in with the rest of your web design.
However, at the experiential level, any video you include should also meet with your brand message; that is to strike the right tone for you company and present it in a way that is consistent with the way you want your customers to experience your company. For example, if you’re in investment banking, a humorous video of a cat playing a piano is unlikely to appeal to your target audience.
Brand consistency is important, so choosing or creating videos should ensure that the design, customer experience and customer expectations all match.
Including videos in a site’s web design often sounds like a great idea – in theory. In practice, it can be a little more complicated. For instance, not all web users have fast connections and so they might have trouble viewing the video properly. Also, if the video makes use of Flash, it might not play for all users, either.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid videos: it just means they shouldn’t replace other means of imparting information to the people who use your site. Most websites aim to sell something, whether it is a product, service or an idea. Web users need to know what you are selling no matter what their browser capabilities; videos are great for embellishing existing content, but they shouldn’t be the only content.
So, if you are going to use a video, try to have a text alternative, or perhaps a PDF download that offers the customer another means of reaching the same, or similar, information.
Another rule of using videos in corporate web design has to be that if you are going to include videos on your site, they need to be of a fantastic quality. Essentially, they need to sell the image and brand you no doubt want to portray. Uploading a video to a website might only take a few seconds and so it can seem, on the surface, like a fairly simple thing to do. Behind the scenes, however, it requires time, effort and money to get your video absolutely right.
You’ve probably seen videos on the websites of other businesses: some of them are fantastic while some can leave you a little disappointed. A good video doesn’t necessarily need to cost a lot to make, but it does need to be well-thought through.
For instance, what is the aim of your video? How can you best convey that aim? Are you going to use people in front of the camera or rely on a voiceover? Does the plan for your video fit in with the rest of the branding and image of your business?
As mentioned above, videos in corporate web design shouldn’t replace the written content of your site entirely, as you need to take account of the fact that not everyone can or wants to access video material. However, you should always aim to add value with your videos. If you are thinking of putting a certain video on a site, watch it back and ask yourself what you got out of it. Even if you didn’t get any new information from it, did it leave you feeling positive about your business? Asking focus groups or selected contacts for feedback to questions like this can help you to create a better video that users will appreciate more.
Why use them at all?
But why should you think about using videos at all? Your corporate web design might have been perfectly fine all along and you might not see any reason to change it – and that’s fine. There are, however, a few good reasons to consider using short videos on your site if you decide they might complement your online activity well.
It’s another way of getting your message out there, adding to your presence on the web and giving you another means of communication with your audience.
A video showing your products or services in action might be the thing that convinces someone to use your business.
Videos can complement the existing content on your site, helping to keep it fresh and potentially help you appeal to a wider audience.
Overall, there is no hard and fast rule as to whether you should build videos into your corporate web design. You might decide that you want to pursue other interactive content instead. However, using high-quality, clever videos can make a difference to your site, adding another layer of interactivity to hook people in. So if you think you have material that would make a good video for your site, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for it.
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