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Old 20-Jun-2004, 13:38
abacomedia abacomedia is offline
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Flash Deadly Sins that can kill your web site


Flash Deadly Sins - How Flash can kill your web business

Looks like every client wants a Flash site these days but the reality is...as flashy as these sites may look, there are many negatives you may want to consider before delving into Flash.

Deadly Sin One - Long Load Times

This is the most obvious problem with most Flash sites. Flash files can get large in a hurry and if the page takes too long to load, your visitor will move on without even seeing your site. Ideally, you would want your Flash web page to load just as fast as a 'regular' page with text and images. And yes, it can be done!

Problem #1 - Images

The whole reason why Flash was developed was to be able to use vector graphics on web pages. Vector Graphics are infinitely smaller than pixel based images, they can be resized to any size and animated without creating large file sizes. Unfortunately, many designers use regular pixel based graphics like photos in their Flash design and end up with huge files. Rule #1 for good Flash design should be...Use Vector Graphics only!

Problem #2 - Sound

What is a good picture without sound? Once you have this great Flash animated page, you want to add sound to it. This is the #2 culprit resulting in large file sizes and slow loads. The trick here is to use loops. Flash Music Loops are ultra short slices of music, that when looped in Flash play great background music sound tracks that load fast and sound great. You can find Flash Music Loops at www.flashmusictracks.com These loops that are near CD quality and most are only 15k or less in size. They also offer a free Flash Music Player that allows for the music to continue playing even if the visitor switches to another page, you can even select a different music track or stop the music at any time while browsing, totally impossible with any normal Flash implementation. Another thing that helps keep file sizes down is to use low-res MP3 files for button effects and sound effects. You don't really need 128k MP3 quality when most computer's speakers will sound just as good with 24k or 32k MP3s. Another easy file size saver...use mono!

Deadly Sin Two - Missing Links

This fact is often overlooked. When you use Flash Buttons and Links, search engines will no longer find your links on the pages. This can be extremely disastrous for your search engine rankings. Search Engines need to be able to follow links to successfully index your site. Plus, the more well placed links the robot finds on your site, the higher your ranking will be. When you use all Flash, you won't have any visible links and you effectively kill any chance of being found on search engines.
What's the answer here? Use a Flash/HTML hybrid page. Even if you have Flash links, still try to duplicate those links on the bottom of the page in HTML code so the search engines can find them.

Deadly Sin Three - Compatibility

This factor used to be important but today it's no longer relevant. In the early days of Flash, many web users didn't have the Flash plug in and they moved on to another site rather than to download and install Flash just to visit your site. This is no longer an issue. 99% of all web users will have browsers that can 'see' Flash pages and you no longer have to design a Flash and Non-Flash Version for your site. If your visitors run for the hills rather than stick around to visit your site it's the load time, not compatibility that is to blame.

So what is a man to do? You want Flash but you still want quick load times and good search engine rankings. It can be done but you need to design your Flash site with all these factors in mind. It is possible to design Flash Pages that actually load faster than many 'regular' pages with lots of graphics. A good hybrid design with enough HTML elements can get you ranked well with the search engines. The FlashMusicTracks website mentioned above is a perfect example. It uses Flash Banners and Logos only, everything else is HTML. The site looks good, sounds good and everything loads very fast.

So, you don't have to be afraid of Flash killing your web business if you use Flash wisely.

Article by Alan Steward, Webmaster and Sound Designer www.musicleads.net
You are free to use this article on your website or in your ezine as long as you do use it in its entirety.
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Old 24-Jun-2004, 15:23
Strike Hosting Strike Hosting is offline
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Great article... Thanks for sharing.

I personally don't use flash, but I can say this much: Alot of what is in that article can go for a regular web site. Sound, image links, load time, browser compatibility... Those are all important factors in creating any type of website.
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Old 02-Jul-2004, 12:09
ponpots ponpots is offline
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That was a nice read...Thanx....I'm designing a new flash site... :-)
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Old 21-Jul-2004, 03:39
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I know a bit of Flash, but personally, I have never considered making a webpage in Flash for the reasons you outlined. I think the loadtime is very important. I've seen very professional websites that are designed in HTML and have a Flash logo that loads quite slowly. Even this can turn off a potential visitor/customer. I personally think that Flash is best used as an extra to spice up certain features of the page, and not as a tool for making the website.

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Old 02-Sep-2004, 10:28
Darksat Darksat is offline
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Generally I just use flash for logos and embedding music or video.
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Old 02-Sep-2004, 10:51
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I don't mind actual flash sites, if it's used to enhance the information, such as video game sites. I do hate flash splash screens; if I'm coming to a site, normally I'm there for a reason. I don't need an animated ad, forcing me to wait while it downloads, popping up telling me the same info that is at the site's home page. I nearly always skip it to get to the "meat".
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Old 27-Dec-2004, 06:14
ColorMaker ColorMaker is offline
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I think that Flash is making sites more fullfiled. I'm using a lot of Flash applications, especialy Flash Voice Buttons - for adding sounded buttons. www.reutera.com
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Old 28-Dec-2004, 09:07
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Thanks, Alan. These are the main reasons I like to warn people away from making a Flas site. I would rather see flash enhancing a site, not driving it. IMAO, there is no need to design a totally Flash site, and it does NOT make it easier to use. When you need that pic for the promotion you just hired the site owner for, you can't get it.

Use flash in place of some (not all) pictures but leave the 'backplane' of the site in straight HTML. No longer any link worries. If the flash downloads too slow the info is still there to see because the HTML gives you the info needed.

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Old 05-Jan-2005, 10:07
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I definitely agree. I've never tried making a site completely using flash, but I do know that if you start importing pixel based images and sound into your flash document, it can get pretty beefy!
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Old 10-Jan-2005, 22:13
jphilipson jphilipson is offline
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Very good article, thanks for sharing.. I agree with al lthe points.
 


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