Are Flash web site good, bad, valuable, or what?

Flash is fun and can add excitement to a web site; however, in my opinion, Flash is most beneficial in small pieces and never for a whole site. In addition, a lot of interest can be added with Javascript, JQuery, CSS, and high quality graphics instead of Flash.

Over the years, however, I have done a couple full Flash sites (Shannon Connor Design & Hether Miles Photography -- these were for very creative businesses who wanted to show off their creativity and profiles more above anything else. All were done several years ago before the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) mania.

I am writing this post because lately I have been talking about Flash to a lot of clients. It is interesting because several months can pass with no one asking about Flash, and then all of a sudden multiple clients are asking! This post is an addition to my last post about the Balmoral Golf Club site which I have recommended be redone without Flash.

Below are my reasons and some idea of when Flash might be useful.

Disadvantages of Flash web sites:
- There is a load time which means your users (your clients) have to wait for information. The more information and photos you add to the Flash movie, the longer the load time.

- Flash is not good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Do you want to appear at the top of Google listings? The text and keywords in your Flash movie are not read by Google and other search engines, and therefore are not helping you gain a top position!

- Flash is hard to update. If you do not have the source file, no developer can help you without starting from scratch. In addition, updates take longer because Flash movies are set up on a timeline with a lot of associated scripts to make them work.

- Most users really don't care about the fancy movement when they are trying to get information. A little bit of interest or movement is a good thing, but does it really help your end result?

Where might Flash be useful for a web site:

- When done properly, as a small piece of your web site.
(Example: Flash Gallery developed for Allan Burch Illustration)

- When you need a little extra something to make your site stand out above competitors.

- When used with XML scripts so that updates are easier. - For creative industries such as photography or web design because Flash shows creativity and visual appeal which helps prove your skill.

- Gaming or a special promotion (Example: Kids games created for Fundex Games)

So, if you think a Flash site is what you want, think about the goal of your web site. Do you want clients to sign up on your site? Do you want clients to call you? Do you want clients to read about your services? Or do you want to show off your creative skills? A yes answer to all but the last question probably means a Flash web site is not the best for you.

Other developers or clients, let me know what you think about Flash web sites or send me some samples of Flash sites done well. Thanks!
Tatum

About the author | Tatum Hindman

Tatum is the president of TBH Creative and is responsible for building long-term client relationships. She enjoys the strategy behind web design and sitting down with clients to define online marketing goals. She likes to blog about questions or topics that clients ask about as well as sharing new tricks.

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