To Autoplay or not to Autoplay, that is the question

(I wish there was a “poll” option on the forum)

I often wrestle with whether or not to use “autoplay” for videos, especially in my case when they are used as a core piece of the marketing at the top of the homepage.

Mostly I’ve been choosing to not use autoplay, to give the viewer the option. This stems from the fact that when I’m reading a news story the associated video always wants to autoplay, which to me is highly annoying because I just want to read the written content instead.

And I’ve noticed that many times when I’ve sent a site to friends for a real-world preview they will often skip right past the video. This could be because it might appear it’s just a large visual banner and not see the “play” button to engage. Which means they’re missing out on a big and dynamic piece of the marketing and enticement to engage the service offering.

I know that for advanced users they can stop autoplay either in browser options or with a plug-in, so in that case it doesn’t matter. But the general populace doesn’t change browser options, they use default settings.

So I thought I’d ask you folks what your thoughts are. Doesn’t matter if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool web designer or not, we’re all web-content consumers regardless, so your opinion matters.

Let me know your thoughts.

(1 vote for adding a “polling” option to the forum)

@producerguyaz, A workaround I use sometimes is a background gif.
You can also look into if the modal function could work for you by the video sliding in?

In the end you might need to think outside the norm, but I would get a good idea if your end-user uses it in the way you want it by checking over your web stats…

If its a modal wouldn’t it go away when someone clicked on it? I’ve never seen that done, a video-modal but I don’t want the functionality of being able to pause or silence it be taken away.
I’ll look into it tho, like the outside-the-box thinking.

Autoplay video will only work if it’s muted, or contains no soundtrack. Even then, some browsers will not autoplay unless the user has configured the browser to use the feature. It appears to be a web-standard aimed at reducing the amount of bandwidth that mobile users may not like being “stolen”, and to eliminate the “surprise” factor when visiting a page that suddenly blurts out audio. In most cases, a background video with no soundtrack (such as in a header) will usually play just fine, but you cannot be certain how individual site visitors may have set up their browser.

The video needs to be expressly muted. Specifically when Chrome doesn’t have the video in cache it will speculatively assume it has an audio track, and still not auto play it.

Seems like what I’ve been doing all along is currently the best method. Last thing I want to do is fuss over all the gotchas of autoplay.
Thanks all.