"So I click to the site, and this video opens up and takes over the whole home page" my friend remarked when sharing her frustration over a recent website visit.
"All I wanted to do was read a piece of copy under the video. I started hitting buttons all over the place. I couldn't click out quick enough. Where was the Shut Up! button."
Yup - I hear you. I've searched for it too often myself.
A recent example was when I was on a client call, and just wanted to pull up a website real quick to check the dates of a conference. Well, the site opens up, and there's this load bizarre beeping noise. Apparently, there was a count-down clock for the conference that was beeping its little heart out. I couldn't click out of the site fast enough. I didn't want the client to think I was doing something else other than giving him my undivided attention. (Which I was, really, I swear).
I never did get the dates for the conference and made a mental note not to return to the site until I had private time when no one else was around because I didn't know how to shut off that moronic count-down video.
Still not convinced video/audio that launches automatically is a bad idea?
You might want to look at the growing number of people who shop online at work. If she's in her office or cube, and goes to your website, any audio or video that launches will automatically alert her co-workers, "Attention! Janet is surfing the web instead of working."
If all that isn't enough, I also have a theory that women are more concerned about losing control over their personal space, i.e. computer screen. It really bugs them.
Online video is a powerful tool. Don't get me wrong. But have a very clear play button that allows her to launch it herself so she does not receive any unexpected surprises.
I still hear a few of you saying, "But it's such a powerful video – I want as many people to see it as possible."
OK – test it. Send half your traffic to a page where the video launches automatically, and half to a page where you have to click to launch it. Compare the exit rates from those pages. You'll probably find you have fewer people watching your video, but I suspect you'll also have fewer people leaving your site.
Does your website need a "Shut Up!" button?