At echogravity, one of the things we do is create websites for our clients. It’s sometimes surprising how much the issue of Flash comes into play. Abode Flash makes your sites, well…. more flashy with animation, video, sound, and moving images. Flash definitely scores well in the “Coolness” category and has a purpose for websites. The question you need to ask yourself is whether you want a website that is cool or you want a website that actually complements your inbound marketing strategy? Flash is not your friend if your goal is to be found by your target audiences… we’re talking to you B2B people! Here’s 3 reasons you should never, ever ever ever use Flash on your website.
1. Flash sites take longer to load: In the hyper speed world of the internet, you have 10 seconds or less to engage a visitor to your website. If users “hit n’ run” your website within 10 seconds, it’s considered a “bounce”. Just Google “Slow Loading Flash Websites” to read about problems with loading sites with flash. Each second that passes while your site is loading increases the rate of defection.
2. Flash doesn’t work on the iPhone or iPad: in the 4th quarter of 2010 alone, apple sold 16.5 million iPhones and 7.33 million iPads. Whether you are an Apple fan or a PC fan, it’s safe to say that these products are widely adopted in the marketplace. Apple has notoriously shunned Adobe Flash from their operating systems. This means that your website will not be seen by your audience (atleast the Flash components) when they visit your site on their iPad or iPhone.
3. Flash is not SEO friendly: This is a debated topic. The general consensus amongst web designers and developers is that Flash is hit or miss for SEO purposes. For instance, Google claims to index “most” Flash content while Bing on the other hand, does not index Flash at all. Additionally, Google Analytics and other analytics programs cannot track usage data with Flash (i.e. Calls to Action and Click Thrus). Optimizing Flash sites can be a huge pain and it still might not be found on search engines.
Most companies are working to remove barriers to simplify website usability and navigation. While Flash may look cool and sexy, it doesn’t take all platforms and users into account. Additionally, when the objective is to drive traffic to your site via search engines site and maximize engagement on your calls to action, Flash will not help the cause. A popular alternative to Flash is HTML5 which has some slick moves and much less search engine and usability limitations than it’s flashy foe.
I know I said you should never, ever, ever, ever… use Flash on your website, but there are a couple exceptions where Flash provides value:
- You are a movie company. Complementing movies websites with Flash animation, video, and games can enhance engagement and the user experience. Entertaining consumers with animation and coolness promotes virability and social sharing.
- You are a well known celebrity, artist, photographer, or musician. Well known artists are known by the public. They don’t need to come up first in the search engines (when’s the last time you found out about a new band by Googling “rock bands”?) So the limitations of Flash are not really limitations for them. These types of brand profiles need to translate their artwork and productions to the web.