For the past few years, flash-based sites have been all the rage, and as Macromedia compiles more and more great features into Flash, we can only forecast that there will be more and more flash sites showing up around the Internet. Nevertheless, Flash based sites have been very much disputed as too catchy and unnecessary. Here’s a simple idea of the pros and cons that will help you to draw the line.
The action script that goes along with Flash has the ability to open up a vast field of possibilities. Programmers and designers have made use of Flash in order to create interactive features ranging from very lively feedback forms to attractive Flash-based games. This entirely new interactivity level will always leave the visitors coming back for more.
A standardized site
With Flash, you won’t have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. There are no more worries over how a certain CSS code will display differently in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. And, when you position your site elements in Flash, they will always appear as they are as long as the user has Flash Player installed.
Animation for better expression
In Flash, people can make use of its animating features in order to convey a message more efficiently and effectively. Flash is a lightweight option for animation due to the fact that it is vector based (and hence smaller file sizes) as opposed to real “movie files” which are raster based and therefore much larger in size.
The Flash player
People will need to download the Flash player in advance before they can view Flash movies, therefore by using Flash your visitor’s range will go down considerably due to the fact that not everyone will want to download the Flash player just in order to view your site. You will also have to put in further work in redirecting the user to the Flash download page if he or she hasn’t installed the player.
If your content was presented in Flash form, it wouldn’t be possible for most search engines to index your content. Therefore, you will not be able to rank well in search engines which will make less traffic heading to your site.
Users will have to wait longer than usual to load Flash content in comparison to regular text and images, and some visitors might just lose their patience and click the Back button. So the longer your Flash takes to load, the more you risk of losing visitors will be.
The best way forward is to use Flash only when you absolutely need the interactivity and motion that goes along with it. If not, you can use a mixture of Flash and HTML or use pure text if your site is purely to present information which is simply textual and graphical.
J. M. Stevens is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.