Flash is it allows a web programmer/designer to implement animated graphics, movies, and even sound at a website. It can be used to create an entire website or just small pieces. It is the tool used for some of the most creative websites yet seen by web users, such as LeoBurnett.com. However, its popularity has been challenged because of various problems experienced by users. In this article, I’ll talk about those issues and help you decide whether a Flash website is right for you.
1) Not Everyone is Able to View Flash
This problem is not as big as it used to be. The number of web users who are able to view Flash has been steadily climbing. Currently around 95% of visitors will be able to see a Flash website.
2) Flash Websites Don’t Rank Well in Search Engines
True. Site such as LeoBurnett.com are such extraordinary endeavours that they can get some search engine traction simply because of the number of people admiring their work and linking to them. This is a problem with all but the best-designed Flash websites. Increasingly, cutting-edge designers are coming up with ways to enable search engines to index the content of Flash files. However, for most new Flash websites and for nearly all Flash websites designed more than two years ago, a good search engine ranking is impossible.
3) Flash Websites are Difficult for People to Update
Also true, I’m afraid. Most people with Flash sites end up never updating them or relying on their designer to make all the necessary updates. On today’s Internet neither solution is really satisfactory, because fresh, regularly-updated content is the essential for a successful website.
4) Flash is Used to Liven up Boring Content
Simply, because the content on a website is not that interesting, some people’s reaction is that Flash is the best tool to liven things up. However, boring information is boring information. Make sure that Flash is an extra bonus on your website rather than they key reason for considering your site “interesting”.
5) Flash Websites are Difficult for Users to Navigate
- The "Back" button does not work. Clicking it will take you back to the previous website rather than the previous Flash page.
- Link colors don’t work, so its hard to tell which pages you have already visited
- The "Make text bigger/smaller" button does not work, making the site difficult to read for people with poor vision
- They are often slower to load than traditional website.
6) Flash Websites are Expensive
Normally, a well-designed Flash website will cost between $5000 and $10,000 which is about three times the cost of a static site. To me this is the key problem with Flash websites. A great Flash site can overcome almost all of the problems outlines above, but such websites are beyond the budget of all but the most wealthy companies.
Flash is a good tool to add dynamism to static webpages. However, unless you have deep pockets or very talented and generous friends, Flash should be restricted to playing a small role on your website.