Why creating a Flash only website is a bad idea
In the competitive world of internet marketing, websites should be made with your best interests kept in mind so that you stay an edge over others. Committing the most common website designing mistakes will lead you to serious financial trouble. For a website to grab the largest number of eyeballs, good website design is a pre-requisite. Among the most terrible website designing mistakes, creating a flash only website is the most common one. Often amateur website designers ask this question to most experts.
Here are some reasons why experts think that making a flash only website is a terrible idea in website designing.
1. The information in flash is mostly invisible in search engines:
Most famous search engines work by scanning all the websites that is on the web. They process the content of the websites and retrieve the best match after scrutinizing. The search engines are like gatekeepers who look through the content on the web and scan it to check whether it is worth keeping. If the information that is given on the websites is embedded in graphic formats like Flash, it is difficult and often impossible to find out, locate and then process by the search engines.
2. Navigating through flash objects is difficult:
The web analytics tells the marketers where there visitors are from, the number of pages visited etc. The web server based systems are only able to track when the Flash object is of swf file. Navigation through a flash object is cumbersome enough. If a particular website is made of one flash object, the web analytics will see a swf download but will not be able to track which particular part of the site was viewed by a visitor.
3. Flash websites breaks the usability of the web:
Flash websites often look very attractive but the techniques used in Flash often break the usability of the web. While navigating through a website, the ‘back’ button often remains disabled with the usage of Flash. Such problems could easily be avoided with the usage of html and css instead of using Flash.
Therefore, if you’ve designing a website of your own, make sure that you do not make the mistake of using Flash in it. Take into account the above stated reasons that tell you why you should not use Flash while creating a website. Website design companies will teach you the actual tricks of website designing. Follow the tips to get the best results while marketing for your website.
I think Flash is a complementary solution.
There are companies who do not have a lot of content to share but who need to mark some presence online as well as in social networks.
Also, choosing not to disseminate information on the web can be part of any company’s policy and, in this regard, Flash offers a solution.
I think developing an entire site using Flash is definitely a bad idea as well as using it to display any type of written content. That being said, Flash can be a useful tool if utilized properly. For instance, for images or parts of the site which will not effect the site’s visibility to search engines.
There are many professionals who will disagree with you – Agency Net for one.
“Flash websites often look very attractive but the techniques used in Flash often break the usability of the web.” This is complete rubbish. Since when did clicking on things that you see break any idea of usability? Visitors are humans who are familiar with many other devices that have very familiar interfaces – cars, microwaves, game systems – and none of these are web based. Unfortunately, the web has taught people how to use the web and has always been counter-intuitive. The only people who know how to use websites are people who use websites a lot! Technology is meant to be simple. Many people have found the iPhone to be easily usable by children as young as three. I challenge all of those children to use a website as easily!
The idea that Flash is invisible to search engines is a myth. Google and other search engines have made changes to their algorithms to include Flash content.
This post might have been valid in 1998, but not today. More people than ever have fast connections (even rural areas).
To call Flash-only sites terrible is simply your opinion. Keep making your copy-cat blog-style websites if you like!
I agree with you 100% that flash is not a good way at all to build a web marketing presence.
I’m part of a development team that creates many small sites and currently we are moving away from flash based templates. Flash has slowed down our productivity by a huge margin. One change could take 10 times as long. Even if flash was SEO friendly I still wouldn’t want to use it for marketing websites just for that reason.
But, theone thing I would use flash for is web application. I have had success in a number of applications that give high customization and functionality. One application in mind is a toolbox configurator for MatcoTools. A beautiful thing once done and only really possible with flash.
So I’m not a flash hater, it just needs to be used wisely.
We build entirely full flash website all of the time.
1. They’re all very SEO compatible.
If we were to take your advice with this, it would also be best not to have images on your website either.. but like an image’s alt tag there are tools that can be used in order to make flash just as SEO friendly as any other content. And it has nothing to do with letting Google try and parse the swf file. You can google site: any of our websites to see each page’s full content is indexed
2. Our websites are full tracked with google analytics.
Again.. google analytics provides tools for tracking. In fact using these tools, we’re able to track additional data that most common HTML sites do not.
3. The back button works fine on our sites.
Again.. working with flash is much like working with AJAX. It’s a very powerful tool for pulling in dynamic data without refreshing the page. But this also means you have to keep track of where you are and update the client.
All of our sites are fully flash..fully content manageable. fully SEO. They work on mobile platforms including the iphone/iPad. They all pass the wave.webaim.org accessibilities test. (Where as this HTML site has 8 accessibility errors) They work just like any html/css site… often better.
I realize you are one of many HTML/CSS designers that think they are knowledgeable about flash. Please educate yourselves before speaking out against what you know little about. And if you have any questions please feel free to email us.
Don’t forget to mention that Flash is not suitable fo mobile devices: there is no hover event with a touch screen and a lot of Flash intefaces are mouseover-based
This is a myth. I know that logically it would seem that mouseover would not work on a touchscreen, but the event does get triggered, and quite well on touchscreen devices between mouse down and mouse up.
In fact flash objects are more suitable that html objects in many cases for interaction with touchscreen devices. For instance.. try using a scrollbar built in html on a touchscreen device and you’ll find it doesn’t work.. however it will work in flash.
There are very little real world cases of sites that need adjustments in order to work on touchscreen devices. But in those cases flash includes touchscreen specific events as well that allow the developer to create device specific solutions.
And don’t forget FLash websites are difficult to maintain. Or at least more difficult than an HTML webpage
What are you basing that on? A well written Flash website is just as easy to maintain as a well written HTML website and a badly written Flash website is just as hard to maintain as a badly written HTML website. It’s all about how the designer approached the project and structures their content.
Our agency’s website is in flash…
1) All information on it is 100% visible to search engines. Flash embedding replaces HTML code underneath, and search engines read the HTML. We even have our google webmaster tools account that proves this, we fetch our pages as the googlebot and it sees all of our info just fine.
2) We have full analytics support. Not only for page browsing, but even for things like events of people using the contact form, viewing portfolio images, etc. Flash’s AS3 is a very capable language that actually expands how much you can track using analytics, not diminishes it.
3) You will never see a broken back button on our site. Again, AS3 is very capable and adds to your deep-linking abilities, not diminishes them.
4) Upkeep…flash reads in external files to show for content. So if flash can load and display data from textual files…then how is flash content harder to maintain then textual files? The answer is: it’s not.
5) Mobiles: go to our site on iphone, ipad, android, blackberry, palm, even nintendo ds…it all works great. Try it.
I think the lesson to be learned here is that Flash is what you make it become. Flash is only bad if you make bad Flash. Be picky about who makes your flash sites.
I agree with media designer completely… I am tired or should I say sick and than tired of people saying flash cannot be tracked by search engines and Google Analytics…. I call BULLSHIT!!!! If you know how to design and now how to code and SEO a flash website than using flash is not an issue at all…. HTML 5, please, I would like to see it compete with flash when it comes to rich media applications or websites… It cant hold a match to it…. No matter how you look at it, flash is here to stay whether you like it or not as a design, developer or coder… its here, accept it!!!!!
Good to see other flash experts speaking out against this article. This website has attributed the errancy of the post to a “guest author” It’s unfortunate that this post was allowed to be posted at all considering how completely off the mark it is. Skyje.com has done a very good job of furthering the mis-information about flash.
I am not for or against flash. IMHO everything depends on customer’s needs and budget.
The fact is that HTML/CSS/JS based website is far more cheaper and easier do develop. Also these coding languages are designed to meet SEO, accessibility and usability requirements. On the other hand Flash sites have a lot of impressive presentational capabilities which are still difficult to achieve in pure HTML/CSS/JS. However, standardization of HTML5 and CSS3 accompanied by jQuery(or other JS framework) may significantly decrease Flash impact in this area.
If you are a customer and want to have cross-browser, cross platform compatible Flash website you may want to consider:
* designing additional HTML website for mobile phones,
* designing additional HTML websites for older browsers and those with blocked flash content(majority of corporate PC’s),
* Google Analytics support, ‘Back’ button support, bookmarks support, scalability(removing/adding new pages to your site),
* future modifications and re-development(Can one of your employees do that? Does he know Flash? Do you have software to modify the website?).
So as you see there may be a bit more work with Flash site.
Finally, if you really need a Flash website I would advice, as Brian Grezeszak wrote, to “be picky about who makes your flash sites.”. Only professionally developed Flash animation is able to compete with its well-developed HTML/CSS/JS counterpart.
Good luck with your designs:)!
I couldn’t agree with Otterball and Bryan more. The reason Flash gets a bad rap, is the overwhelming usage of Flash by people who have not fully understood the useage of the tool as a design communication device. A well written Flash site is just as easy to navigate, update, track then a traditional site. In fact I would say nearly 90% of all my sites built that are Flash based vs. traditional code win awards. If you know how to use the tool correctly then it can be just as effective as an html or other type site.