Pros and cons of Flash-based sites
Photo by @lukasnorth on Twenty20
Flash-based sites have been insane for the past few years, and as Macromedia compiles more and more great features into Flash, we can only predict that there will be more and more flash sites on the Internet. However, Flash-based sites have been criticized for being bloated and unnecessary. Where exactly do we draw the line? Here is a simple breakdown.
Flash ActionScript opens up a wide field of possibilities. Developers and designers have used Flash to create interactive features ranging from highly animated comment forms to engaging Flash-based games. This new level of interactivity will always keep visitors coming back for more.
A standardized site
With Flash, you don’t have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. No more hassle about how a certain CSS code is displayed differently in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera. When you place your site elements in Flash, they will always appear as is as long as the user has Flash Player installed.
Better expression through animation.
In Flash, one can make use of its animation functions to convey a message in a much more efficient and effective way. Flash is a lightweight option for animation because it is vector-based (and therefore smaller file sizes) compared to actual “movie files” that are raster-based and therefore they are much bigger.
The bad and the ugly:
The Flash Player
People have to download Flash Player before they can watch Flash movies, so by using it your visitor rank will drop considerably because not everyone will be willing to download Flash Player just to view your site. You will also need to do some extra work to redirect the user to the Flash download page, if they don’t have the player installed.
If your content was presented in Flash, most search engines would not be able to index it. Therefore, you will not be able to rank well in search engines and there will be less traffic to your site.
Users have to wait longer than normal to load Flash content compared to normal text and images, and some visitors may lose patience and click the “back” button. The longer it takes to load your Flash, the more you risk losing visitors.
The best way to do this is to use Flash only when you absolutely need the interactivity and movement that goes with it. Otherwise, use a mix of Flash and HTML or use plain text if your site is solely for presenting simple textual and graphical information.
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