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Forum Moderators: phranque
I convert most of my video files for clients to Flash. One of the settings is to allow the video to automatically start playing as soon as the page loads or give the user the control.
Even with a fast connection my browser takes a few seconds to start playing and still may stick as it buffers. I was wondering what the general opinion on this point is.
We are sophisticated web developers so of course we don't like losing control of the website we are browsing. But an auto-start video might be useful for some demographics and niches.
I'd try both ways, one way per week. At the end of the two week test period, measure the bounce rate on the pages. If there is a significant difference, go with the lower bounce rate.
If I am listening to internet radio while I am working and your video comes in on top of what I want to listen to, I am going to be especially upset. Even with no sound - video = movement and distraction on the page. This is almost always a bad idea. Ir cutesy little animated .gifs turn people off an auto-play video will multiply the negative effect.
There are sites that run auto-play videos and I either leave pretty quickly, or zap it out of the page.
You've got to sell me on playing it, just as your content has to sell me on clicking on more links or Buy buttons.
Sell me and I might click. Force it on me, and it probably won't go well.