Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Positive and Negative Aspects of Incorporating Flash On Your Website

When flash is incorporated into web pages, it is a simple way of including interactive and animated material within the site. Initially, flash was inserted in animated banner advertisements and for flash introductions to site pages. There were vast numbers of designers who believed that flash gave a professional feel to their web designs. It is relatively easy to create flash within a site and because of this, an over use of it occurred, particularly for web intros. Despite the fact that flash is still frequently used for banner advertising, it is now less commonly used for website intros and so you have to ask yourself why this is the case?

Perhaps the first question that should be asked is if flash should be used for the intro to a website? Most flash intros are quite monotonous having images that fade in and out and with various statements moving around left to right, up and down and so on. You have to ask yourself what this actually achieves? As a designer, I have also created intros such as these, but only because it has been a requirements of my clients. If I am directly asked the question as to whether I actually favour flash intros, I would always answer that I am not, but I will still attempt to provide the advantages and disadvantages, the way I see it, rather than merely asking people to accept my view.

There are numerous disadvantages, as I see it. To begin with, having a flash website intro will increase the file size of the home page, which I believe is a huge disadvantage because it will increase the load time of the page. It is expecting too much for your visitors to have to wait initially for the flash into to load and then expecting them to read the various animated sales pitches. Just ask yourself if you would want to wait for all of this when you are looking at a site? The answer will probably be no!

When sound files are incorporated into flash, this is a particular dislike of mine. People do not want to be forced into listening to audio that is pushed in their faces. Furthermore, when sound files are embedded into flash animation, this simply increases the file size and once again, this will impact on the download time for those viewing the web pages.

Perhaps one of the most profound disadvantages of having a flash intro is that the search engines will not be able to index images and graphics, nor can they properly index the text that might be embedded into the animation. Text that may have taken a lot of time to prepare will be of no use to search engines. Some may think that this problem is surmountable by introducing keywords into the meta tags or within the html comment tags, but this is wishful thinking. Site visitors want to be informed, they do not want to be entertained when visiting a business site.

As far as the advantages of flash is concerned, if animation is well used, it can provide some excitement for those viewing it if they have time on their hands. Flash can be used to promote a company's objectives and if you run a gaming website, then your visitors will almost certainly expect to see some flash on your pages. Another advantage is that interactive menus can be created and therefore provide good navigation. Nonetheless, it is good to also provide static html links from the homepage for the digestion of the search engines.

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