Broken: Flash Intros

Why neither you nor your customers want a Flash motion introduction to your website.

Why neither you nor your customers want a Flash motion introduction to your website.

just say noYou see them all the time. In fact, sometimes you think they're kind of cool. After all, they get your attention, right?

Unfortunately, the "neat" factor isn't enough reason to use a Flash animation as an introduction to your website. Here's why:

Time is Money
Forcing a visitor to wait through a splashy introduction wastes time for your users. No matter how cool it may seem, your spinning logo or slideshow of images only delays the action you want the user to take. If you want them to buy from your online store, read your thesis, or find a contact phone number, the introduction is keeping the user from fulfilling their mission and your desired outcome.

Users like to be in control of their web browsing experience. They don't want pop up windows, auto-resizing frames, or Flash movies that they can't manipulate. Having a "Skip Intro" button isn't enough when a full-screen movie begins playing. The user feels helpless. Empower them by welcoming them to a traditional home page with an easy to use navigational system.

Outdated and Expensive
Flash introductions are often expensive to produce. And while a certain gimmick may look good today, in a few months it will make your site look dated. Then, you will be in a cycle of spending time and money that could benefit other areas of your business but is instead used to update your site's introduction.

Search Engine Ranking
We know that having a Flash animation hurts your search engine ranking. And, we have proof. One of our clients used a Flash slideshow to welcome visitors. It looked nice, but we were wondering why the site's search engine ranking wasn't improving. Within one week of removing the introduction, the site's ranking jumped from number 11 to number 2 in Google - from second page to first - in their most important keyword combination. Is having a splashy introduction worth a lower search engine ranking? No way!

This is in no way a blanket recommendation against using Flash technology. Flash movies can often be a very effective way of demonstrating a product or streaming a presentation. However, using a singular Flash movie to "welcome" visitors to your site may not be very welcoming at all.