Flash and Web Design

April 8th, 2010 | No Comments »

Hello visitor to the Web Tag web design blog. This post is about Flash and web design. What is Flash? What is the future for Flash in web design? Some of the questions you may be asking if you have reached this blog post.

Well, we are going to answer these questions and more; and maybe pose a few more questions into the process.

Flash animation is a web solution offered by Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) a multimedia platform that has been and is still popular for adding animation, graphics and interactivity to website pages, especially advertisements.

Flash was launched in 1996 and was all the rage for many years, commonly used to create animation, adverts and various other web page solutions, including video integrations and more recently to add other rich internet applications, of the sort you may be familiar with from your interactions with your own desktop applications.

In the last couple of years there has been a great debate raging in web design about the effectiveness of Flash. As the old Motown song goes: What Is It Good For?

Because using Flash in website development tends to break conventions associated with coding for websites; and because it can be quite time intensive for some sites with a heavy usage of Flash to load, there can be optimisation and usability issues with sites which rely heavily on Flash throughout the site, or use a big Flash component on their home page, for instance.

Some Flash site home pages cannot be found easily on search engines and when they are found they can be slower to load, and for some people that just will not do.

Considering that a visitor to a commercial site needs to be convinced fairly quick that the site in question is worthy of their patronage, many would argue there is not much point in asking them to experience a Flash intro.

It is better just to create a nice design and colour scheme and tell them via words like this, what you are about and make it pretty quick.

In extreme cases, many people exit a site immediately when faced with a message intro saying the site is downloading, or something similar, and they should hang around. They just leave because they want to know fast what is on offer or not at all.

However, having considered some of the evidence against, Flash is certainly not dead in the water, and is experiencing a comeback.

If used creatively Flash in web design still has a part to play, and with a web designer who knows how to employ Flash to enhance the user experience Flash can work a treat in the right context and for the right visitor.

Put it this way, some web designers have the knowledge of how to employ Flash in a user friendly way in their sites; as well as awareness of other issues such as the cross browser experience: how the site appears in different types of browsers.

Flash does not necessarily mean anything bad. It’s all about what you know.

Functionality and a good user experience are important and for some sites that will require animation or a visually grabbing experience for a specific audience. Flash can play a part in a great website, but you have to be careful.

There are also other options. YouTube and other third party hosted sites are useful for employing specific targeted videos to your site, via a link from your own website or through embedded content.

At the end of the day, good navigation, good design and good content are the key to any great website, along with understanding the needs of any given, specific website business.

What do you think on the debate about Flash in web design? What are your experiences of Flash heavily animated sites? Know any good resources or any tips for integrating Flash into web design successfully? Let us know?

At Web Tag we are always interested in exchanging ideas on web design, so we can provide an even better service for our customers.

Posted by Naz and the team web design, Slough, UK.

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