January 10 2011

The Good and Bad of Flash Website Design

Global Site Plans develops creative and innovative flash design websitesFlash design is particularly useful when displaying numerous images, as would be in the case of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and urban planning sole proprietorships, companies, and graduate student portfolios.

Flash utilizes vector based graphic presentation that can present images in a continuous movie-type format.  Flash can also include sound for increased interactivity, which can produce a richer experience for your website visitor.

When considering flash website design, keep the following in mind:

The Good

1. You can create dynamic presentations that keep a visitor interested

Flash website design keeps the attention of your visitor and encourages them to stay on your website longer.  Flash website design is also a great way to present your work visually because you can use an audio track with graphics to get your point across quickly.  This adds to the appeal of your site and makes it visually stimulating to an audience that has an ever-declining attention span.  Think instant gratification at its best.

2. You don’t need to worry about browser issues

Flash websites work in just about every browser.  However, it doesn’t work in browsers as old as Netscape 4.7, but it does in most all new browsers.  This means that if your website is being viewed in Netscape, Internet Explorer, AOL, Firefox, or most other browsers, your visitors – and potential customer – will have no problems with viewing your site.

The Bad

1. It is not search engine friendly

When your site’s first page, or the entire site, is designed in flash, the search engines will not be able to index your site.  A solution to this is submitting the subdirectory pages and not the homepage.  Another solution is to embed the flash into your homepage so there are links and text for the search engines to index. If you choose a flash designed website, Global Site Plans can assist you in optimizing it for maximum search engine friendliness.

2. Flash design takes more time to develop, in turn, more time to get your site up and running

The more elements that are involved in your site, the more time it will take to develop the home page, and especially the entire site.  If your aim is to wow with images, in a movie format, flash is your choice – but it will always take more time.  Patience will be a virtue.

3. Website reporting, ranking, and analytics in Flash is problematic

Website reporting, also known as website ranking or website analytics provide important information to marketing professionals for evaluating website visitor behavior in and around a website.  This information provides actionable information valuable to improving a website’s business performance online.

Website reports or analytics tell marketers where their visitors came from, the pages visited, the length of time they were on the site, and on which page the site visitor left the site.  Other information such as keywords, most popular searches, most popular landing pages, and more, guide marketers in creating and reinventing online marketing plans.  But flash website design makes it problematic to track the important information that can shape your online marketing decisions.  Again, Global Site Plans can assist you in optimizing the amount of information tracked, where possible.

Another Consideration

1. If your home page is flash, will you offer a “skip” button?

When a visitor comes to your website, will you provide that visitor the option to skip the flash presentation/ flash introduction? For instance, if a visitor comes to your site and views the flash, but then returns to your site – they should have the opportunity to skip the flash, especially if it is lengthy.  So, decide if you want a “skip” button. I would opt for a “yes.”

Renée van Staveren

Renée van Staveren is the Founder of Global Site Plans. She holds a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She also holds a B.S. in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College. Prior to establishing Global Site Plans and The Grid, Renée van Staveren was an Assistant Planner for A-M-M-A Transit Planning and the Program Director for Planet Green. You can find Renée blogging about featured environmental design firms, providing free website critiques, local events in Istanbul, Turkey, plus helping you achieve industry distinction through innovative discussions. Renée currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey; adding to the list of places she has traveled and lived.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 10th, 2011 at 6:17 pm and is filed under Architecture, Engineering, Environmental Design, Environmental Non-Profit, Landscape Architecture, Renée van Staveren, Urban Planning and Design, Website Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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3 Responses to “The Good and Bad of Flash Website Design”

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  2. Rygestop Says:

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  3. Rogelio Maslakowski Says:

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