Plus or Pain?: Using Flash Web Design on Web Pages
They say that variety is the spice of life. The preference for Flash could result in a “visual enhancement,” when boring and bare pages get an instant facelift and contain more interesting graphics.
But unfortunately, Flash has some problems relating to usability and search-engine behavior. Sometimes the use of Flash is unnecessary. So before incorporating a Flash design, it’s important to know what exactly the purpose is, for a Flash design in your web pages.
Web users rank the importance of their browsing, based on content, ease of navigation, and speed. Since the web is a highly interactive medium, users don’t really spend time just looking at graphics, without doing any other activity.
Flash can eat up the bandwidth and therefore slow down the speed. This is more of a reality with a dial-up connection. In this case, users might just get irritated looking at the load bar instead of getting the information they need, right away.
Flash also poses constraint in usability. It some instances, navigating a Flash site encounters problems in the back button. Instead of going back to the previous screen, the back button will send you out of the Flash site. Users also have no control on the text size they want to use and the standard colors for visited and unvisited links would also not work.
Although giant search engines like Google contain some Flash indexing capabilities, the feature is very limited. It’s difficult to get high rankings with a Flash site. There could be another option to avoid the problem: designing a second HTML version of your site. But that uses up time and money.
Here’s the bottom line: The use of Flash should be kept at a minimal level, and make sure that it wouldn’t sacrifice the usability and accessibility of your site.
About the Author: Mark Rapor is an editor. Find out more about Flash Web Design in the author's website.