Flash Web Design – Is It Right
Will it bring in more visitors or chase them
Flash really shook up the Internet when
it made it’s big splash a few years ago. Those were the days when
the blink tag made things exciting. These days, a web designer has
an arsenal of web design tools, and Flash is just one of them.
The problem with Flash websites is not Flash itself,
but the designers. The Internet has made design accessible to the
masses. Previously, one had to go to college and intern with a design
house – you know, learn about design. But today, anyone with
a few hundred dollars can buy some software, and presto! they’re
calling themselves web designers.
On the one hand, it’s great that the Internet has
made learning accessible to people who might otherwise get a college
education. On the other hand, it’s cluttered the marketplace.
And human beings are like raccoons: we like shiny
things that move. So, we’re naturally attracted to and impressed
by a Flash website. And if it’s our company name and logo that’s
bouncing and exploding across the computer screen, that ups the
But once we’ve waited for a few dozen of these sites
to download, clicked “skip
intro” buttons that don’t,
and searched high and low for a site’s navigation device, we begin
to realize that perhaps these Flash websites are more hype than
As a community, the Internet has moved past Flash. We’re not so
easily impressed. And, when I arrive at a Flash site, more often
than not, I’m looking for a "skip intro" button. In fact,
when surfing, most people just want three things:
- They want information,
- They want it now and fast,
- They don’t want to have to jump through hoops to get it.
How many times have you left a website because you
were faced with one of those long, animated introductions, useless
special effects, or confusing navigation?
Flash could be the death of your online venture.
A website designed completely in Flash causes problems with accessibility.
Any visitor needing text resizing or screen reading equipment or
software will be out of luck.
So, you could be annoying a huge part of your audience
– senior citizens, the disabled, or people who simply like
to have a bit more control over their browsing experience.
Issues with Speed
Flash sites can get pretty large, and not everyone surfs the Net
with a DSL or cable modem – a lot of people are still wandering
around with 56.6k modems. And they just won’t wait for your website
to load. Or, if they do, they might get irritated that they waited
so long just to see your logo bounce across the screen.
And when they return to your site, do you think
they’re going to be thrilled while they watch that opening Flash
animation every time? Do you think they’ll bother? They’ll
probably go somewhere else.
Search Engine Placement
If you care at all about search
engine placement, then you had better limit the amount
of Flash that your web designer uses. Search engines like content
– the written word. And while text in Flash begins as text,
when converted for use on a webpage, it becomes a picture, and search
engines can’t read pictures.
Search engines become bored pretty easily, and if
they have nothing to read, they’ll move on. Your site will go unnoticed,
unindexed, and lost amongst thousands of other sites.
And Flash can get expensive. Your website is really not much different
than a car: the more options and features you load into it, the
more it’s going to cost you.
Flash is a set of skills that a web designer brings
to the table, and they ought to be compensated if they use them.
But there’s a certain amount of hype as well. We
call it the WOW Pricing Method: The cost of your website is directly
proportionate to the number of WOWs you utter during the presentation.
There are definitely some really good uses for Flash web design:
tutorial or learning sites, movie studios, animated jokes, greeting
cards, and banner ads, to name a few. But by and large, most websites
will thrive done the old fashioned way: by giving the customer a
quick and easy way into your website so they can get the information
they want and get on with their day.
Learn more our web design
services or visit our online portfolio.