Video Background Headers within the KU CMS
There currently is no video background solution allowed on any KU Sunflower websites. Existing headers with a video background should be replaced with a standard CMS header. For sites with informational videos to showcase, Header 5 – Headline w/Image/Video is an excellent option.
While we understand the appeal of video backgrounds in the header of a webpage, the benefits do not justify their use on most KU websites. The Nielsen Norman Group, world leaders in research-based user experience, says “video content is helpful only if users have control over it, understand what’s contained within it, and have an alternate way to access it.”
The amount of work required to fulfill these requirements is often not worth the investment. Unless done extremely well, video backgrounds will not provide much benefit to your website other than a flashy feature which has the potential to cause usability and accessibility issues.
Some of the technical reasons video backgrounds are problematic are:
They can distract from the central purpose of a website. Videos require more of users’ time than an equivalent piece of text, because they don’t support rapid scanning for information, which is how most users interact with informational web content.
Videos are data-intensive for web pages to load and may cause performance issues for uses on mobile devices or on slow internet connections.
Creating the right style of video with all of the right technical specs requires significant video editing which is not available to every unit.
There are also accessibility concerns for video backgrounds, including:
Excessive movement or sound causing problems for those who have vestibular disorders or other reactions to sudden visual or audio disturbances. Videos must have the ability to be paused.
Appropriate alternate text to describe the video for people with visual impairments.
Difficulty placing text over video so that it has sufficient contrast for users to read.