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"FLASH – LATEST & GREATEST OR OVERRATED?"


Written By:

THOMAS W. POHL
CYBERVISION WEB LLC

JULY 27, 2005


Introduction

Lately, it seems that Flash is all the rage in web design, but is it warranted? I don't think that it is. When you look past the hype, you will see that Flash has only limited practical value, such as for banner ads and specialized websites such as Monty Python's Spamalot website.


Flash's Drawbacks

Flash's drawbacks include poor search engine ranking due to the inability of search engine spiders and bots to index pages that are images, the inability to be read by text browsers (such as PDA's, cellphones, and text readers used by handicapped people), a required plug-in for older browsers that some people may be reluctant to download in today's security conscious environment, long load times (especially for those with dial-up connections), and the fact that are not easily updateable because they are graphical in nature. Another drawback is the annoyance factor. Have you ever visited a website that had a great Flash splash into page? They usually look cool, but when you get past the initial "wow factor", if your like me, it becomes annoying upon subsequent visits and I find myself hitting the "skip" button as quickly as possible. Long load times also add to the annoyance factor. Studies have proved that if a web surfer has to wait for more than 10-15 seconds for a website to load, they will move on to the next one. This is especially important if you own an e-commerce website, as you cannot afford to lose a single customer! Flash-based websites, unless you have a broadband connection, load too slowly for most people.


Conclusion

In conclusion, you can see that Flash has too many disadvantages to be used regularly in web design. Its use should be limited to those specialized areas mentioned earlier. An intelligently designed website can be just as effective as one design purely with Flash.