Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Flash Website

On the surface, it can seem like a Flash website would be a great choice for attracting and retaining visitors at your company's website. While these types of websites can offer robust interactive web solutions  the disadvantages can far outweigh the advantages if Flash is not implemented correctly.

Flash Website Advantages
The most obvious advantage of Flash is it's motion and interactivity. Motion graphics can make your website lively and interesting, compelling visitors to come back for more.
Flash websites are also cross browser compatible which means that on any browser, your website will look good. Along with this compatibility is the relief associated with not having to deal with extensive HTML or CSS code.

These websites are like having an open canvas to place items where you wish. The way Flash works is like a movie playing on a timeline as one motion graphic. In addition to this open canvas you have a very versatile color palette so you're not confined to hex code or web colors.
When Flash is combined with Action script, the possibilities are endless. With the use of Action script, a developer can create animation sequences, and content rich websites  Action script also allows the developer to use PHP to connect to Microsoft SQL and Access databases. Flash websites can also take advantage of ColdFusion, ASPX,.Net, and ASP.

Flash Website Disadvantages
While a Flash website has many advantages, the disadvantages can be enough for you to avoid this type of website all together. Splashes of Flash here and there are fine but building a website completely based on Flash can be detrimental.

The first point to note is Flash's ability to totally screw up your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. These days, you need SEO to get good search engine rankings. Your websites gets crawled by spiders that interpret your sites relavancy and value to determine search engine positioning. A Flash website does not contain the vital H1 tags that spiders seek to tell them what your site is all about. Without this vital information the spiders can't accurately rank your website and you will lose rankings to websites built on CSS platforms.

Another important disadvantage to note is accessibility. Have you ever visited a site that asked you to update to the latest version of the Flash Player? This can be annoying and it will cause many users to bounce as they fear any updates while searching the web. When a visitor views your websites  it's not a good idea to impede their viewing experience with redirects to the Adobe websites for updates.

So Do I or Don't I Build a Flash Website?
As stated in the beginning, using splashes of Flash throughout the websites is fine and can add life to static web pages. The key is to use it sparingly and in combination with the right tools such as javascript, mootools, or HTML5.