Flash animation is an exciting technology that brings motion and visual appeal to the web. When used well it results in a rich and compelling user experience…a good thing to be sure. But before you decide to use Flash in your website there are questions you should ask, things you should know and serious problems to avoid.
Ask yourself why you want to incorporate Flash animation into your website. If the only answer you come up with is because it’s fun to look at, DON’T do it. Your website is a marketing platform. It’s how you are getting the message across about what you are selling, whether it’s a product or a service. The gratuitous use of Flash will divert visitor attention away from your core message. Clearly not what you had in mind when you decided to bring you business to the web. Do you want your visitors to be distracted by the bouncing ball or engaged by compelling content?
Search Engines Can’t See it
While your visitors might be impressed with a slick Flash animation, your most powerful potential ally – Search Engines – will remain blissfully unaware of it. In fact, the Flash piece that you’re so proud of represents a barrier to search results and can end up neutralizing your well constructed marketing plan. Hundreds, perhaps thousand of companies – including some Fortune 1000 brands – found out after spending huge amounts of money on visually slick Flash based websites that they disappeared from search engine results. A good rule of thumb….don’t sacrifice powerful, keyword rich content presented in an uncluttered format for gratuitous eye candy.
So When Should I Use Flash?
In the hands of a talented, experienced programmer, Flash animation can add enormous value to your website. Here are some recommendations:
- Never build a website entirely in Flash
- Use Flash in small areas inside of a page and never at the top of a page where it will be a potential obstacle to search spiders
- Never build your website’s navigation system using Flash
- Write good content and then use Flash to support/direct attention to that content NOT divert attention away from it
- Use Flash animation to increase the odds that your visitors will take the action(s) you want them to take like buying something, reading something, subscribing to something, etc.