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Should I place videos in lieu of a hero image, within the box below the header and main menu? Please note: no autoplay videos for sure, just a big image taken from inside the video with the possibility to play the video there, at the very beginning of that page content.

I tried to find articles or papers on if it's a big usability NO but I didn't manage to find anything useful. The only material I found was lots of advice on UX and videos BUT they were NOT applied to hero boxes and they were about giving users easy control, silence the video if autoplay is on, or not put autoplay videos, etc. etc. etc.

I am not sure whether this could represent a major usability problem. Do you have any advice on this?

It will be really helpful to motivate my decision to the client, since so far I am not fully against both keeping it or not.

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I would suggest if the video is just to gain attention of your users and as long as is does not impact the page load time [for specifically slow internet], there is no harm while using a video as hero banner.

  1. If the video contains informations like text, or sound, then you need to have other measures to keep it usable.

  2. If it starts automatically with sound, it's annoying for some set of users. They might close the site as soon as it starts playing the sound[Considering you are not building a video content website, if it's a video website than it's fine].

  3. If it's just some motion graphics or set of images with animation than you don't need any controls as well [Controls like play, stop etc.].

You can also take a call to play the video for good internet connections only.

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I think everyone would say that the best answer will come from testing with the users, so whatever you decide from reading the answers, it would be a good idea to start planning some testing anyway.

In terms of usability issues, I think we need more context about the type of website, the content on the page and what the purpose of the video is. Many websites that rely on visual or interactive elements (as opposed to plain text) find it to be an effective way to communicate to the audience, but it really depends on the way the website and its content has been designed to support this.

On face value, replacing an image with a video just means the user can access another format of interaction or engagement with your website, and you are not forcing it upon them by automatically playing the video. So I think if there is no impact on the performance of the website (e.g. loading speed) and if the video content is appropriate then I think usability testing will show that it doesn't have a major impact on the user being able to complete tasks successfully (but you'll need to test this).

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    thank you very much for your comment; I'll try to provide some more info - e-commerce website - the video is placed NOT in a product page or list page BUT as an additional content in a page dedicated to a specific project held by the brand. The brand would like to place it in the hero banner because they think the content could sensitize more. Thank you again! – Luana Donetti Sep 25 '18 at 14:19
  • @LuanaDonetti can you explain what you mean by "the content could sensitize more"? Thanks. – Michael Lai Sep 25 '18 at 21:22
  • Hi Michael, the video content is about helping children, so they think it should be visible at a first glance – Luana Donetti Sep 27 '18 at 8:17
  • @LuanaDonetti even though the video content is about helping children, because it is not playing by default the user will only see an image that will not necessarily convey this information. Therefore it will be hard to make the users see this at first glance I think. However, as I explained in my answer, from what you told me I don't think there should be too much impact (this you can potentially A/B test later down the track) :) – Michael Lai Sep 27 '18 at 8:20

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