Flash or no flash

flashThe development of Flash for web application content has given graphic designers and producers the tool to articulate ideas more effectively. A Flash based website can integrate various multimedia components of a site that include video, sound, animation and a lot more interactivity to develop rich website applications. However there are some drawbacks when it comes to the requirements of a professional business or an ecommerce website.

Some users also dismiss the use of a fully Flash based website for some other complications that include issues of compatibility and search engine friendliness. Nonetheless, Flash website is a powerful solution but is more commonly used for entertainment and artistic websites as it helps to integrate a mix multimedia technology of content that gives the wow factor to the visitors. In some business requirement, Flash sites can also be ideal to present slideshow for complex content to enhance visualization.

As good as Flash can be, it hinders the convenience of web browsing for visitors in a few ways. As mentioned, one of the snag in Flash website is the requirement for visitors to have the resources to match the Flash version of the website or if visitors choose not to install it for any reason. A compatible version of Flash is important for visitors to see what they should in a Flash based website. Some devices such as iphone are also not accessible for Flash based sites.

Other limitations on Flash based website include the restriction on the use of hotkeys where buttons like page up or page down or enter that is used to activate links does not work. Visitors are expected to stay on the same page where the back or forward button on their browser will not work. Flash page is also not scalable and right click is not allowed. The biggest turnoff of Flash website is probably the limitation on search feature which is not workable to locate words in Flash.

While some may consider the restriction on right click to be a good protection against intellectual theft it also prevents loyal visitors who’d like to help spread your ideas or words to the world.  This also makes Flash based website to be less search engine friendly. Fully Flash based website integrate all text content into Flash animation preventing crawlers to understand the content thus impeding it’s SEO’s visibility.

There are pros and cons on a Flash based website. With concern of its accessibility, Flash website is not very suitable for business transactional websites. Flash websites also requires a more than average speed of internet connection from users to view uninterruptedly. Designers should also understand a fully Flash based website with all content integrated as Flash application and one that is enhanced with minor Flash application is different. The latter would gain more acceptance in most browsing situations. Nonetheless a better solution is to always provide an extra option of HTML page for visitors to choose from the index page or use Flash based website only when it is really needed.