To Use or Not to Use Flash in Your Website
Flash is controversial. We explore the pros and cons of using it in your web design.
Flash is widely used today by web developers and software enthusiasts alike. One of the defining characteristics of flash is its catchy and attractive format that can infuse new life and glitter into any website or page.
Flash creates an interactive new medium for the user making animation and movies possible in the inclusion of web design. Although still the preferred software for creating advertisement and banner ads with the highest click thru rates, the use of flash is gradually losing steam. In this article we shall discuss the positives and the negatives of using flash.
Advantages of Flash:
Interactive menus – Using flash a web developer can create interactive menus. If done well, these interactive menus turn out to be excellent navigation guides for users. When using flash always ensure to include static html links from the homepage so that the search engine bots can crawl and effectively index your site.
Visually appealing – Flash intro on websites can be very visually appealing and catchy to the eye of your visitors. A web developer can create all kinds of customized animations using this interactive medium.
Disadvantages of Flash:
Inordinate loading time – One of the biggest advantages of using flash is that it takes an inordinate amount of time to load. This could severely discourage visitors to your page and cause them to leave without browsing any further.
Not search engine friendly – The presence of flash in your web design can severely affect your page rankings on SERP’s. This is because not every search engine can crawl and index sites made out of flash. This is true especially for single sites that are made entirely out of flash.
Back button disabled – You might have noticed that while browsing a flash site the second most important navigation tool – the back button is disabled. When a user cannot use the back button he is more than likely to click on the close button.
Consumes excess bandwidth – Although broadband and high speed internets have now become the norm, there are still people out there who use slow dial up connections. A person browsing a flash site would notice that it takes up a lot of excess bandwidth and could drastically slow the other processes down.
Thus it is fair to conclude that although flash is a very catchy and interactive medium it should not be used liberally in web design as its disadvantages far outweigh its advantages for the average user.
Chris Burns writes for Website Design 411, a provider of custom CMS website designs and web applications.