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4 Innovative Ways to Use Video On Your School Website
Connor Gleason

Adding videos to your school's website is a fantastic way to grab a user’s attention, share your school's stories, and connect with students, parents, and the broader community.

They’re great content to include on your pages because, on average, viewers spend about 1.4x more time on pages with video than those without. Videos can bring your school's personality to life, but you might be thinking, “We don’t have the time to produce a video,” or "Isn't video production super expensive?" 

Yes, using video in website design can be an investment (especially when a professional production company does it) and sure, embedding a video from your Youtube Channel is a quick and easy way to add content, but there are other ways to create a more dynamic and immersive user experience that enhances the impact and engagement of your website.

Short-form video content, or brief clips, is still a creative and innovative way to bring videos to life — with the right web design strategies in place.

1) Interactive Video Element Ideas for Schools

Make your school website even more engaging to prospective students by adding interactive video elements.

What Are Interactive Video Elements?

Interactive video elements are parts of a video that users can click on or interact with in some way. For example, in a video tour of your school, you might be able to click on the science lab to see experiments happening or click on the library to hear what students love about it.

Why Use Interactive Videos?

    •    They're More Fun!: Watching a video becomes more than just looking at your screen. Users get to make choices about what they want to see next, which makes it a lot more engaging.
    •    Learn More: By clicking on different parts of the video, users can learn a lot more about their specific interests.
    •    Engage Your Audience: When people interact with a video, they pay more attention and stay interested longer. It's a great way to keep students, parents, and teachers engaged as they browse your website.

la salle video thumbnail

La Salle College High School pairs multiple videos with its distinctions; they’re well organized and placed into tabs, allowing users to browse, interact, and engage with the site before selecting a video to play.

How to Create Interactive Videos

    •    Plan Your Content: Before you start filming, think about the parts of your school you want to highlight. What makes your school unique? Is it the friendly teachers, the cool science lab, or the big theatre? Plan scenes around these areas.
    •    Shoot Your Video: When you're ready, record your video. Remember to film scenes that connect well with each other. For example, if someone clicks on the gym, they should see activities happening in the gym, not an empty space.
    •    Keep It Simple: Don't make your video too complicated. If there are too many choices or if it's not clear where to click, people might get frustrated. A few well-placed interactive elements are all you need to make your video exciting and informative.

Durham Academy Video thumbail

A three-video panel on Durham Academy’s curriculum page brings the classrooms and auditorium to life with brief videos. Set to music and under 30 seconds, the videos bring more energy and engagement to the page than text or photos would.

Pingry video collection

Pingry pairs videos where photos would typically be, but adding these student voices to the profile on its “I am Pingry” page helps share the stories of its community more authentically.

2) School Video Ideas: Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling is a special way of designing web pages where the background content (in this case, videos) moves at a different speed than the content in the front when you scroll down the page. It creates a cool 3D effect, and when you use videos with this technique, it adds an extra layer of interaction, showing off your school's activities, facilities, or events in a dynamic way.

The Ultimate School Website Planner

Why Use Parallax Scrolling with Video?

    •    Make Your Website Stand Out: This technique makes your school website look modern, and it certainly grabs attention and makes visitors want to explore more.
    •    Tell a Story: As users scroll, they can see different aspects of school life unfold, whether it's a video of a science experiment, a music performance, or a sports game.
    •    Engage Visitors: The combination of parallax scrolling and video keeps visitors interested. They're more likely to stay on your website longer, watching the videos and learning about your school.

How to Implement Parallax Scrolling with Video

    •    Choose the Right Videos: Select video clips that represent your school well. For example, you might choose a video that shows a mix of classroom activities, outdoor events, and other important aspects of school life. Make sure these videos are high-quality and short enough to keep the viewer's attention as they scroll.
    •    Work with a Web Designer: Parallax scrolling with video can be a bit tricky to set up. It's a good idea to work with someone who knows how to design websites for schools. They can help make sure everything looks good and works well on different types of devices, too.
    •    Keep It Simple: While parallax scrolling with video is effective, you don't want to overdo it. Too much movement can be overwhelming. A few well-placed videos can still make an impact without making the page too busy or hard to navigate.

Lipscomb video panel

Lipscomb Academy’s school website header smoothly fades into its homepage’s main design elements. It slowly fades into more content, including panels with profiles that autopay on scroll. It's a great design effect that brings a lot of life to the page.

Heights Christian School video

It’s subtle, but Heights Christian Schools video plays on loop in the background of its homepage. As users scroll down through panels, the video remains and creates an added layer of depth to the page. Nicely done!

3) Micro-interactions with Video Content

Adding micro-interactions with video content to your school website can make it pop, and by carefully choosing where to add these interactions and keeping them simple and accessible, you can create a website that's not only informative but also fun to explore.

What Are Micro-Interactions with Video Content?

Micro-interactions with video content are small, interactive elements that respond when you move your mouse over a picture or a button. They can include things like videos that play when you hover over them, buttons that change to show you're about to watch a video, or icons that move to grab your attention. These interactions add a layer of engagement and can make your website feel "alive."

Why Use Micro-Interactions?

    •    Grab Attention: Small actions like a video starting to play can catch your eye and make you more interested in seeing what the video is about.
    •    Make Navigation Fun: Micro-interactions can turn looking through a website into a fun experience. They add surprises and small rewards as you explore different parts of the site. 
    •    Guide Visitors: These interactions can also help guide visitors to important information or highlight key features of your school, like a new science lab or a student art show.

Tips for Creating Engaging Micro-Interactions

    •    Speed Is Important: Make sure your website still loads quickly, even with these added features.
    •    Not Too Much: Choose a few key spots for micro-interactions rather than putting them everywhere.
    •    Accessibility Matters: Remember, not everyone can interact with your website in the same way. Provide alternatives for people who might not be able to use these features, like captions for videos that play on hover.
    •    Consistency: Your micro-interactions should match the style and feel of your website. They should look like they belong and not stick out in a weird way.

TAS video

Taipei American School’s homepage features still photos that come to life with clickable elements and panels with more information. While maybe not technically a video, its animation brings more energy and interactions with the site’s content.

Saint Andrews video

St. Andrew’s School takes a similar approach with its header images and more clickable content. The element leads into video panels that autoplay when users interact and hover.

4) Video Testimonials in Modal Pop-Ups

A button that says "Hear from our students" or "What parents say," that shares those voices is a simple, yet powerful type of video to share people's real stories and thoughts about your school without having to leave the page.

Why Use Video Testimonials in Modal Pop-Ups?

    •    Personal Touch: Hearing directly from students, teachers, and parents adds a personal touch that written testimonials just can't match. It feels more real and trustworthy when you can see and hear someone's expressions and emotions.
    •    Keeps Website Visitors Engaged: Since the testimonial panel is on the same page, visitors are more likely to watch and listen. They don't have to go to a different page or wait for a new page to load, which means they stay engaged with your website.
    •    It Saves Space: Your website might have a lot of information to share. Using modal pop-ups for video testimonials saves space on your pages, keeping the design clean and focused. Visitors can choose to watch the testimonials without the videos taking up valuable space all the time. 

King School video panel

King School features brief profiles of its alumni that auto-play. As mentioned above, it’s a great way to share valuable content while saving space and keeping users on the page.

Bolles video panel

In a similar presentation, users can step into Bulldog Life at The Bolles School and hear directly from alumni and current students.

panel of video thumbnails

When your district has so many stories to share, as Community Consolidated School District 62 does, presenting a range of voices from teachers, school leaders, and parents help paints a full picture of all the district offers students.

Tips for Pop-Up Video Testimonials

    •    Mix it Up: Start by asking students, parents, and teachers if they would share their positive experiences with your school on video. Keep the videos short, around 30 seconds, so they hold the viewer's attention.
    •    Keep Them On Brand: The panels should look nice and match the rest of your website's design. Make sure there's an easy way to close the window, like a clear "X" button at the top corner.
    •    Place Them Wisely: Think about where to place buttons or links for these video testimonials on your website. They should be easy to find but not in the way of other important information. Good spots might be on the homepage, the "About Us" page, or the "Admissions" page.
    •    Keep It Genuine: The best testimonials sound natural. Let people speak from the heart about what they love about the school.

Key Takeaway

These design strategies can significantly elevate your school website's production value and effectiveness without necessitating a large budget. You don't need fancy equipment or a big budget to tell the stories that make your school unique. With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you can create videos that will make your school's website more engaging and memorable.

website redesign playbook

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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