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Flash Site or No?!





Dean_The_Great
In designing a website, do you think that the use of flash for a site is out of date? If so, to what extent?

My site is almost entirely flash. Check it out @ deanrideout.frih.net, but I'm currently thinking of ideas for v2.

Do you think that the modern internet website is headed away from flash, or do you think flash is a good idea? Post your responses.
ignotus
Hey Dean:

IMHO Flash, nowadays, should only be used in intros and certain elements (like a presentation about "Ze Mime.")

The industry is taking a slow turn (depending where you look, actually) toward CSS and the different ways of using it. The reason why is because of Search Engine Optimization - among other things like BEAUTY, heh.

Two great sites for CSS include:
http://www.cssbeauty.com
http://www.csszengarden.com

Hope this helps! If you need professional design services, don't hesitate to let me know: http://www.digitaltantrum.com

Adios and have fun!
flipsyde
Flash i only used for intros or a certain pars of a website . Don't ever make a website full of flash . It will take away ur visitors.
endness
You can make your design in photoshop or whatever.. and then you can pick some parts, and past them in Flash, and then you can animate them..

Just a tip.. Wink
pakialamaers
Hello Dean! Using Flash in you entire site would be heavy. You can use JavaScript for your mouseOver or mouseOut event. In Macromedia DreamWeaver, you can estimate background images for your content. Have a good day!
Metaguy
NO! Thats a bad mistake many have made.
GB
To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised that everyone is more or less of the opinion that you shouldn't use flash for the entire website.

In my opinion, I believe you need to consider the needs of your audience. For example, if they all have flash installed and a high bandwidth connection, then it may be okay to design in flash. I say "may" because if your website isn't an art, experimental, or some types of media or entertainment sites, then you should restrict flash to specific functions within your website such as a slideshow. Also, I would always provide an html version as well so that people with Flash turned off or not installed will have an option.

Some have said that Flash should be used for intros. I tend to advise against this as it is boring to sit through a Flash intro before getting to real content. I guess it all comes back around to remembering those who will actually use your site. Do they want lots of fluff with a one-time interest value or are they going to your site for useful real content.

A good place to learn more about this subject is at Web Pages That Suck. There, Vincent Flanders recently gave an excellent example of Flash at RememberSegregation.com.
Sappho
GB wrote:
Some have said that Flash should be used for intros. I tend to advise against this as it is boring to sit through a Flash intro before getting to real content.


I must agree on this here, but i am not against intros if done good, i dont mean here GOOD as in actual level of quality but GOOD as with the options to skip it, turn sounds off, using cookies not to run the intro when someone is revisiting... Thats what most of the designers forgot to do and it get really annoying.
paul_indo
Noooo!!!!!

I hate opening a front page and waiting while some boring flash movie downloads.

A whole flash site????

Why???

If you are doing it as some sort of Flash tutorial, dem or whatever maybe it is a good reason. But there are better ways to build most web sites.

Flash can be great, but keep it short and small file size on the front page at least. Also have an alternate for those who don't have, or don't want to view Flash.
Rocky3478
I've never really cared for Flash. It's inconsiderate for dial-up users, puts too much emphasis on show, etc., and I've always felt that the simpler the website design, the better.
Sappho
Rocky3478 wrote:
I've never really cared for Flash. It's inconsiderate for dial-up users, puts too much emphasis on show, etc., and I've always felt that the simpler the website design, the better.


Its same as with newspapers and magazines, in newspapers u have all the info u need with simple layout and no (or very limited) graphics. And we have also magazines with nicer layouts, saturated colors, complex page desing, is it really necessary? No u can simply put text and pictures in a simple layout but it hasnt the same effect. Of course the price is different, as is file size in web presentation. BTW i did a small work for local Playboy magazine ( no naughty photographs Smile ) and they wanted Flash too, it was ad for special issue nothing outstanding, one of many oversaturated, curvy, flashy, annoying ad u would prolly hate. Smile
troyinator
Flash can be handy for copy-protection if you manage filesizes properly. You can make your interface out of flash whilst not adding annoyances by minimizing on in-between animations. I prefer just making, say, a banner or set of buttons with some sort of ambient animation (like, say, a radar sweep or some such.)

As long as you don't overdo the loading, sizes, etc. it's not that big of a deal. However, some people avoid flash sites like the plague, so I'd be careful.
taurus_just4u
Flash actually got the power of animation in the common man's hands, because it was so easy to create animation and develop interactivity. So we saw a profuse use of it in the form of Flash web site intros. I am sure that all web designers assuming they know a little Flash have developed a web site intro one time or the other in their careers.

Though Flash movies are still used a lot as ad banners because they have much higher click-thru rates than static gifs, their usage as web site intros has decreased and I am sure you would have noticed it too. Why has that happened? Well, there are several reasons and in this article I will discuss the merits of Flash web site intros - The advantages and disadvantages of using animated Flash movies as web site intros - which hopefully should point out the reasons.

A direct question - Should Flash be used as web site intros?
That is a tough question because I would be offending too many web designers with my answer. But what the heck... here goes.
Over the past few years since the time Flash intros became ever so popular, I have come across only 4 intros (out of the hundreds!) that I think served some kind of purpose. The rest were simply routine... there are these images that faded-in and out with text messages going from left to right or top to bottom (you know what I mean!). The question that I always asked myself - what is the purpose of all this animation and interactivity?

By the by, I too have created Flash intros because the client really wanted one - and they gave me the same old arguments - I want my web site to stay at the cutting edge. I want it to have animation. I want the animation to attract the visitor's attention.... and so on
So am I anti Flash intros?... Yes! But my job is to give you both the advantages and disadvantages. I should, as an experienced web developer (ahem!), give my personal opinion, but I should not force you to accept it - I have to show you both sides of the coin.

The disadvantages of using Flash web site intros
Increase in file size of the homepage
This is one of the important disadvantages of using Flash intros on your web site - it increases the time the homepage takes to load. I don't think you will create a Flash intro that has only vector objects. There would definitely be images (raster graphics). This increases the file size of the .swf file which in turn increases the total time taken for the homepage to load fully. A greater offence, is embedded graphics and images that are not optimized or publishing the Flash movie with the lowest compression for images.
Expecting the visitor to first wait while the Flash intro loads and then expecting them to read your animated sales pitches - well, that's too much of expectation from your time conscious visitors. The question you need to ask is, would you wait for a Flash intro to load on a web site and would you indeed go through text and be enthralled by the images in the intro? I don't think so!
Music and sound files in the Flash intro
Music and sound on web sites has been one of my pet-peeves. I am an avid music fan - in fact, I believe that that I listen, therefore I am. But I want to listen what I like and not what is forced onto me. Also, music and sound files embedded in Flash movies increase their file sizes which in turn increases the download time.
Flash intros and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I consider this the most important disadvantage of using a Flash intro. As you know, search engines cannot index images and graphics, but with Flash, they cannot even properly index the text embedded in the movie - The text that you so carefully and painstakingly animated is of no use to the search engine. If you think this problem can be overcome by putting keywords in the META tags or inside HTML comment tags (a search engine spamming tactic)... you are wrong. Google.com which is now the preferred search engine on the web has difficulty in indexing text and cannot follow the links created in Flash movies. This is what they replied when I asked them if the Googlebot can follow links from Flash files:

The Google index does include pages that use Macromedia Flash. However, this is a new feature, so our crawlers may still experience problems indexing Flash pages. If you are concerned that Flash content on your pages may be inhibiting Google's ability to crawl your site, you may want to consider using a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site. If features such as Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.
You may want to consider creating HTML copies of these Flash pages for our crawler. If you do this, please be sure to include a robots.txt file that disallows the Flash pages in order to ensure that these pages are not seen as duplicate content.
Even if GoogleBot improves, I would still prefer to use plain old text instead of putting it in a Flash file.
The purpose?
There are so many Flash intros I have seen serving no purpose that I have put this point as a disadvantage. Just because it can be done, does not mean you should do it! If a thing serves no purpose on a web site, except in boosting your (or your clients) ego, don't use it. Visitors come to your web site looking for information and not for entertainment which they can derive animated and interactive in Flash intros.
Finally, it is your job as a web designer to educate and advise the client on the merits of using Flash intros. Explain to them the disadvantages and ask them if the intro has a purpose. If not, they should consider dropping the intro idea.
Konfunderad
I think flashsites can look really great, but if you have dialup it takes ages to load. So, a site almoste entirely in flash wouldn't be so good.
windval
ignotus wrote:
Hey Dean:

IMHO Flash, nowadays, should only be used in intros and certain elements (like a presentation about "Ze Mime.")

The industry is taking a slow turn (depending where you look, actually) toward CSS and the different ways of using it. The reason why is because of Search Engine Optimization - among other things like BEAUTY, heh.

Two great sites for CSS include:
http://www.cssbeauty.com
http://www.csszengarden.com

Hope this helps! If you need professional design services, don't hesitate to let me know: http://www.digitaltantrum.com

Adios and have fun!



ooo

really?

i wanted to make my own website with flash just now!!
nike88
never make a whole site in flash,
yes it will take away visitors
but also, if u hav limited webspace, it will fill quicker
bilham
a flash intro always looks gd as long as its not to long or has a clear skip button for those not wanting to watch it. also a few other flash bits on sites makes it look really proffessional, personally i do not like full flash sites. thanks
xero102
I think flash looks good but I also think that it slows me down when i go to one and i have dsl wich is wired. I dont know what ever you feel would be better for you then i guess that is whats up. I would have to say no flash tho
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