Web Design Trends for 2015 - Ambient Video Backgrounds

9th January 2015

A smile stretches across my face as I wistfully think back to days to internet's past. The ridiculously irritating beep-boop-beep-boop followed by the sound of a robot gargling mouthwash and then you were off on your adventures, blazing away with your 3kb/s download capacity. Thankfully since then technology has come along way, as have bandwidths and download speeds. The days of watching high resolution images loading line-by-line are finally behind us and web developers everywhere have been given the freedom to incorporate large images into their designs as liberally as they please.

This freedom led to a web design trend over the last couple of years of large - and often full screen - image backgrounds. If you have a search around the web these days you can basque in a myriad of beautiful photographs stretched across the background of websites.

I'm a big of this trend as I - like many I'm sure - prefer looking at a pretty picture then seeing a few lines of text when I get welcomed to a website. They say pictures are worth a thousand words so if you want to let people know what you're all about off the bat then what could be better than a giant image for you to gawk at. So as internet browsing capabilities continue to evolve what can we expect in 2015? I'm guessing we're going to be seeing the next step in full screen imagery; ambient video backgrounds.

Video backgrounds slowly started popping up over the last couple of years but by all means it looks like 2015 will see the trend really take off. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words then what is a video worth?

The advantages of being able to incorporate this design feature are obvious when you think about them. A stunning video is going to grab peoples attention. Users are going to stop what they're doing and try to soak up everything that's going on. Therefore they're going to be spending more time on your site and will hopefully look around to whatever else you've got on display on your site. Videos are also the ideal way to convey emotion, intention and feel.

Take the texapore site for example...


My girlfriend and I were looking for raincoats and were trying to figure out how to gauge the level of water resistance of different jackets when we stumbled across this site. The video background instantly grabs your attention and you can't help but watch for a few seconds. This video also serves the purpose of displaying the functionality of their products which is the perfect approach to take.

There are of course a number of factors to consider for web developers looking to incorporate video backgrounds. Not all sites are going to lend themselves to a video background as relevant as this. If the video is not relevant then it's going to serve most as a distraction than a tool to aid the message you're trying to get across. Speaking of distracting you don't want a video that has a lot of large movements or hectic action going on whilst someone is trying to read a paragraph of text. Doing so is just going to frustrate users and the purpose of your website will be lost.

That said I'm a fan of the trend and although I don't think you'll see ambient video backgrounds everywhere I think you will see them showing up around the web a lot more, and when it's done well it's as good a visual technique as you'll see.