Flash dealdly sins (that can kill your web business)
Looks like every client wants a Macromedia
Flash site these days but the reality is...as
flashy as these sites may look, there are many negatives you may want to
consider before delving into Flash.
Deadly Sin One:
Long load times
This is the most obvious problem with most Flash sites. Flash files can get
large in a hurry and if the page takes too long to load, your visitor will move
on without even seeing your site. Ideally, you would want your Flash web page to
load just as fast as a 'regular' page with text and images. And yes, it can be
Problem #1 - Images
The whole reason why Flash was developed was to be able to use vector
graphics on web pages. Vector Graphics are infinitely smaller than pixel based
images, they can be resized to any size and animated without creating large file
sizes. Unfortunately, many designers use regular pixel based graphics like
photos in their Flash design and end up with huge files. Rule #1 for good Flash
design should be...Use Vector Graphics only!
Problem #2 - Sound
What is a good picture without sound? Once you have this great Flash animated
page, you want to add sound to it. This is the #2 culprit resulting in large
file sizes and slow loads. The trick here is to use loops. Flash Music Loops are
ultra short slices of music, that when looped in Flash play great background
music sound tracks that load fast and sound great. You can find Flash Music
Loops at http://www.flashmusictracks.com These loops that are near CD
quality and most are only 15k or less in size. They also offer a free Flash
Music Player that allows for the music to continue playing even if the visitor
switches to another page, you can even select a different music track or stop
the music at any time while browsing, totally impossible with any normal Flash
implementation. Another thing that helps keep file sizes down is to use low-res
MP3 files for button effects and sound effects. You don't really need 128k MP3
quality when most computer's speakers will sound just as good with 24k or 32k
MP3s. Another easy file size saver...use mono!
Deadly Sin Two:
This fact is often overlooked. When you use Flash Buttons and Links, search
engines will no longer find your links on the pages. This can be extremely
disastrous for your search engine rankings. Search Engines need to be able to
follow links to successfully index your site. Plus, the more well placed links
the robot finds on your site, the higher your ranking will be. When you use all
Flash, you won't have any visible links and you effectively kill any chance of
being found on search engines.
What's the answer here?
Use a Flash/HTML hybrid page. Even if you have Flash
links, still try to duplicate those links on the bottom of the page in HTML code
so the search engines can find them.
Deadly Sin Three: Compatibility
This factor used to be important but today it's no longer relevant. In the
early days of Flash, many web users didn't have the Flash plug in and they moved
on to another site rather than to download and install Flash just to visit your
site. This is no longer an issue. 99% of all web users will have browsers that
can 'see' Flash pages and you no longer have to design a Flash and Non-Flash
Version for your site. If your visitors run for the hills rather than stick
around to visit your site it's the load time, not compatibility that is to
So what is a man to do?
You want Flash but you still want quick load times
and good search engine rankings. It can be done but you need to design your
Flash site with all these factors in mind. It is possible to design Flash Pages
that actually load faster than many 'regular' pages with lots of graphics. A
good hybrid design with enough HTML elements can get you ranked well with the
search engines. The FlashMusicTracks website mentioned above is a perfect
example. It uses Flash Banners and Logos only, everything else is HTML. The site
looks good, sounds good and everything loads very fast.
So, you don't have to be afraid of Flash killing your web business if you use
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