Flash animation – the special effects that grace websites throughout the online world. It is colorful, full of movement, exciting and a very bad choice when designing a website. Why would something so provoking and eye catching be a bad thing? Well, there are many reasons and they all point back to the main goal of your website: visibility. What good is a website if it isn’t user friendly? Let’s take a look at a few of the problems that arise from using flash animation.
# 1 – First and foremost on my personal list of problems, is the fact that flash enabled websites load s-l-o-w-l-y. I definitely have a case of internet induced ADHD, but I am not in the minority. If a website loads too slowly, chances are you are going to lose your potential customer. In fact, research shows that you have about 2 seconds to grab your audience’s attention before they click onto something else.
#2 – Imagine driving down the road looking at the beautiful scenery. You go around a curve and suddenly you see flashing lights and you hear sirens. What do you do? Continue to look at the scenery or is your attention diverted to the lights and the sounds? The answer is obvious. The loud noises and the bright lights immediately grab your attention. If you have “lights and sirens” on your website in the form of flash animation, your customer’s attention is diverted away from your product. This is never a good sales strategy!
#3 – Customers like to have choices and flash animation often times takes that away. Have you ever tried to make a purchase just to be delayed by an animation that you were forced to sit through? This is such an annoying experience that many people will change their mind in that split second and close out instead of checking out. Worse yet is if you are trying to access information on your phone and you run into this problem!
#4 – Number 3 lends itself to number 4 – more and more people today are relying on their cell phones and tablets to access the internet. This is especially when the old saying “Simplicity is king!” rings true! The simpler the graphics (read: no flash) the easier and faster to navigate.
#5 – The all important popularity contest is not only alive on the net, but it is a key to your success! Search engines were made to read text – they struggle when reading images and animations. If the search engine can’t figure out your page, you have no chance of getting in with the popular kids. You created your website to give your company visibility. To market to the masses. To sell your product. If you busy up your site with flash animation, chances are you will be driving customers away instead of towards you.
Flash animation can be fun, pique a user’s interest and captivate their attention – when it is applied in the correct places. Put it on your landing page or before a customer checks out and it will work against you. In fact, it may just sabotage your marketing efforts all together. Play it safe and have your website designed by a professional who knows when and if flash animation is actually needed.
QUESTION: How do you feel flash should be incorporated into a website design? Please leave your comments below!