Can Flash Based Websites Hurt You?

This post was written by Internet Marketing John on September 20, 2009
Posted Under: Website Usability

Can Flash based websites hurt your business?

As Macromedia incorporates more and more new features into Flash;  Flash based websites, will no doubt increase in popularity and use, throughout the web.

For the past few years, Flash based websites have been pretty much the craze.

The necessity of Flash based websites, has been disputed almost since their inception.  However, can Flash based websites hurt your business, or bolster your sales?

Here’s the general consensus of opinion.

PRO’s

  • Flash Is Extremely Interactive

Webmasters and programmers have been using Flash to create interesting feedback forms, interactive Flash based games, and obviously Flash based websites.

The possibilities opened with Flash’s Actionscript, offers up a whole new level of visitor interactivity, that can only bring visitors back to your website.

  • Web Browser Compatibility

You don’t need to worry about cross browser compatibility with Flash.

When your site elements are positioned in Flash, they will always appear as positioned, regardless of your use of web browser.

Your CSS code will display the same in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera, as long as Flash Player is properly installed.

  • Express Your Message More Effectively

You can express your message more efficiently and effectively with Flash Based websites, using Flash’s animation features.

Flash is vector based.   This means smaller file sizes, than what is required for the much larger sized movie files, which are raster based.

CON’s

  • Downloading Flash

In order to view Flash movies on your website, the Flash player must be already downloaded by your web site’s visitors.

You will need to redirect your users to the Flash download page, if they don’t already have the Flash player installed on their computer.

It is important to note, that not everyone will want to download the Flash player just to view your website, so you are looking at a potential loss of valuable website traffic.

  • Website Optimization

Most search engines are not able to index your website content, if it is presented in Flash.

This means that your ranking with the search engines will diminish, and you will probably realize less traffic to your website.

Avoid presenting your website content in Flash.

  • Unusually Long Loading Times

Depending on their Internet connection type, users have a longer load time using Flash content,  than compared to text and .jpeg or .gif images.

You face the “impatience” problem of visitors leaving your website, before your Flash application finishes loading.

The longer it takes your Flash to load, the more risk you have of losing visitors.

If your website is set up to present simple text and graphics, use Flash only when you need the motion, and interactivity that goes with it, and then sparingly.

Flash based websites can hurt you, if your don’t use Flash features judiciously.

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