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I've been asked to produce a 30 second intro video with our president giving a short statement to visitors, probably something linked to off the home page. The script I've seen talks about what they can find on the website, not a general intro to the school itself.

I'm a bit skeptical about the usefulness of this. I haven't been able to find examples from other schools, and the commercial sites that use this tactic make it feel like an infomercial.

Could something like this be useful to prospective students?

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Hey Erik, a few thoughts:

I think video intro with info on what to find on your website won't be watched. At this point in time, I think people know what they will find on your site. If people are getting lost or can't find a feature, that may be a sign that navigation is muddy or hard to figure out.

If you've got 30 seconds or a minute with your college president, I think it would be much more compelling to have him talk about why your school is special, perhaps outcomes, or why the prospective student should go to school there. I think coming from a president it carries some weight.
I'm with Mike. I think it could be a nice touch if your president spoke about what is going on at the college and perhaps some new developments in the works. I don't think a generic "welcome to the website" would be benefitial but a nice update could be worthwhile to both propects and perhaps even alumni.
That's what I'm thinking at this point. Something slightly informal and open, as if he were talking person to person instead of at the camera.

If we included campus updates something like this would easily translate to a vodcast updated every so often rather than a general welcome video. Doesn't seem like that's the direction we're going this time, unfortunately.

Thanks for the comments. It will be interesting to see where we can take this.
Would you let us know when it's up and running? I'm interested to see this.
Here it is

You'll need the latest Flash player - its pulling in an H.264 MP4 video.
As long as it doesn't rudely force someone to view it before getting on to what they want to do, then I tend to chalk things up to the "design is a service industry" rule I have in my head, if the boss can't be persuaded that something is less than useful.

Be sure you can keep track of its views and analytics surrounding it, and compare it to other, possibly more useful online resources.

The video does have a very info-mercial feel, but at least it doesn't force me into being a captive audience in some sort of skip-intro way.

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