As the debate continues, it gets harder to decide whether flash is a good or a bad thing. Like salting a steak for the grill, it can be a perfect compliment – or it can overpower and ruin the flavor. So it really depends on how you use it, but how to know when and where?
Let’s break it down from best to worst usage of flash…
An animated header on your website grabs the attention of the user with nice visual graphics. It adds interest, but is unobtrusive – if your user doesn’t have flash (ahem, iPhone) it’s no sweat cause they can still see other content on your site.
A Touch o’ Animation
Add some fading photos here, a little animation there (the background of my website, for example). As long as you’re not blocking out existing content or making an integral part of your website unviewable by some of your users.
Online Demos and Games
When it comes to interactive online demos or learning tools, flash is the best choice. If it’s possible to build the program in another way, then certainly you can go that route. But until HTML5 matures, flash is still dominant in this arena.
Well, they have their place. A lot of website visitors find them annoying and tacky – although they still manage to be effective. If you’re advertising your business on another site, give it a shot. If you’re looking to sell adspace on your own site, avoid them.
Yes, they’re so cool – to you. But your visitors likely find it annoying and skip over it when they visit your site. Flash intros had their day, but they’re quickly phasing out as we learn their negative impact on visitor conversion and even search engine results.
Full Flash Sites
There are a plethora of full flash websites out there, but this is the worst use of flash. Not only is it inaccessible to users that don’t have flash (ahem, iPhone again), it’s also inaccessible to search engines. That means no-one’s going to find you on Google – ever. “Please don’t Google me, I have a full flash website”
Exception to the above
New Flash CMS technology is developing, allowing website owners to manage content on a full flash site, and making this content accessible to search engines. If you are insistent on a full flash site, use a Flash CMS so you can get the best of both worlds.