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Why You Don’t Want A Flash Website

design | web design by Shannon Noack on February 28, 2011 | 0 Comments

flash We get many different requests for websites at Snoack Studios and every now and then we hear people ask for something with flash. Today I will to address why flash isn’t the best option for your site and why it actually does more harm than good.┬áPeople tend to regard flash sites as fun and exciting, and better than a site without flash. However, the goal of today’s post is to dispel that myth and prove to you why you really don’t want a flash website after all. There are many other options out there today that are better for your users and better for search engines which are the two most important groups to think about with most websites.

What’s a flash website?

When we say “flash websites” we mean those that are entirely created in Adobe Flash, and have fun and exciting moving parts and effects. They’ve been frequently used by a lot of people that want movement on their site and special things that you couldn’t previously create using anything else. With all of the changes that have happened over the years with css and html, and the rising popularity and support of javascript libraries, you can actually create a site full of movement that looks just like a flash website but has the added bonus of not being flash.

What does it hurt?

The main reason you don’t want a flash website is that it doesn’t help you with your search engine rankings one bit. Search engines look at the code of your site and crawl through it, using anything they can to see what you’re all about. On a non-flash site they would see all sorts of actual text and will use all of those words, or keywords, to rank you with. When someone searches for “pet shop in Alaska”, it will bring up tons of sites that have mentioned those exact words frequently on their site. Many factors go into how you rank within search engines, but this is one of the big factors. And on a flash site, search engines don’t see any text, just the code calling in the flash file. So you miss the opportunity to rank with any text on your site.

Aside from the search engine problem, it can also hurt usability and user experience. Many flash sites are clunky and aren’t very easy to use. Movement can be fun and different but shouldn’t be used at the expense of allowing people to maneuver around quickly and easily. Flash can also take a while to load. People are impatient and frequently close sites that take too long to finish loading. Text usually isn’t selectable, so people can’t copy and paste your text if they want to. You also can’t bookmark certain pages because everything comes from one file and one page on your site. So you can’t rank for multiple pages in Google, which also doesn’t help your search engine rankings. The list goes on with usability and user experience woes.

What are my alternatives?

Now that we’ve laid out the bad news, let’s talk about some alternatives to flash. Movement can be a really great and fun thing to include in your site. We want to be clear, we’re not saying movement is bad, you just need to be selective about the way in which it’s done in order to maximize your effects for users and search engines. Javascript libraries like jQuery and MooTools allow for some pretty cool effects that can jazz up a site. You can even create animation with css3 now, check out some great demos here. The most important thing about that these 3 alternatives is that they allow you to keep actual text in the code of your site. You can now animate actual text so users can select it, search engines can read it, and it doesn’t take forever to load!

Some great things you can do with these alternative methods:

  • rotating image banners
  • photo galleries
  • cool button hovers
  • text and image movement
  • animation that helps user interaction

Many people see movement and think flash, but we want to challenge you to explore new methods of movement and animation. Don’t hurt your site by choosing flash over these other methods listed here. There are so many ways to make a great site with movement and excitement these days. Find a great method that works for your company and fits in with what you want to showcase on your site.

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