Do not let Flash take toll of your web site PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 July 2010 14:55

Flash as the latest fad in web design

The use of Flash has picked momentum in recent years and web has started to look more visually appealing and trendier than ever before. The growing acceptability of Flash to enliven web site is not only restricted to designers alone but it is increasingly finding its lovers across all displines of web technology. In sphere of web design professionals, beginners as well as considerably experienced web designers are trying their hands on Flash to showcase their creative potential and design skills.

Some pundits from the industry predict that with this kind of extensive use of Flash in web design, that day, in fair possibility, is not far off when World Wide Web will transform into some sort of web multimedia show. Here at this juncture in future Flash will lead to such a possibility where people gradually dumps HyperText Markup Language (HTML) as this is not compatible with a colorful web experience.

Whatever be the possibility of this prediction to come true, Flash is afforded a warm and cozy embrace by one and all at the moment. It remains to be seen how long this fad will continue to reign. Or people will be gradually lured to some another trend in that is yet to hit the web space?

Nonetheless, this fad has made an impressive number of web sites artistic and good looking giving opportunities to web designer to express themselves the way they have always wanted. Thanks to this technological fade which has brought yet another feature of World Wide Web: the repository of art and design in web sites.

What promotes the popularity of Flash use?

Flash helps a great deal in getting a web site which is vibrant in color, graphics, animations and sounds. There are all the more reasons why people will not be captivated in its persistent use. Even the users, on the face value, do get a great look and feel factor. The thing which is even more important in the popularity of Flash use is the fact that when web sites all around boast of charisma of design with the use of flash, people tend to follow suit.

This is understandable that why people should not refrain from giving their web site a stroke of creative touch especially when this trend is in the air. Probably this is an instance of how craze of a trend develops and how it influences collective behavior of masses; this time around it is about a bulk of techies from web design.

How does Flash design affect user’s experience and accessibility of your web site?

Undoubtedly, Flash design makes a web site look great. However, what just follows this so great component of the web site is annoying user experience. In cases where Flash has been used in extremes in a creative endeavor, user experience turns out to be profoundly terrible.

Apart form beautification aspect, Flash just does not value add to the user experience. Flash web sites take considerable time to load, and hence put users patience to put. The condition is further aggravated with the fact that still most of the users have slow Internet connection. As is pretty clear up to this point that Flash is not at all bandwidth friendly.

Worse still, since Flash files might contain not only moving images but moving text, and not all browsers are compatible to read Flash files. This is not all. This fact can also not be overlooked that not many people have got Flash player installed on their PCs.

One interesting observation on the human behavior is that the same folks who feel wow on the visual appeal of web site do not feel the same once they are there on the net as users and seeks certain information. They no longer cherish the beauty of web site, and loading time begins to be disgusting for them. Interesting enough, they switch to another web site or wish to hop off to other web site where they not are subjected to the tyranny of wait and watch.

Moreover, Flash is fundamentally used to bring in pleasing visual effects in web site. What web folks forget to realize that there is a considerable number of people who are visually disabled, and therefore, can not relish such beauty. They are annoyed by slowing down of their machines due to Flash web sites; certainly this is something web designer can take a lesson or two.

In short, Flash generated hiccups together make user experience on the Internet time consuming and a little unwholesome for information retrieval.

Flash: An enabling web tool vs. designer’s obsession

Flash web sites are a matter of excessive use of a particular technology and technology per se cannot be blamed on any counts. Like other web related tools, Flash is definitely an enabling tool where it is used in the right context and in the right measure needed.

The instances where Flash has been used with impunity smell of designer’s obsession to prove his mettle in domain of design specifics. These web sites are really wonderful in design perspective but unfortunately Flash takes a heavy toll of usability and accessibility of such sites.

Probably those who designed such sites forgot to realize that the purpose of a web site is much, much beyond mere visual pleasure. Web sites have got informative and commercial values. Mindless use of Flash renders the system slow; and given the short attention and patience span of online users, users hardly bother to tolerate waiting period, which might be irritating or even frustrating to them.

How to use Flash to your optimal advantage

It has been often seen that people tend to use Flash with a view to conceal the lack of content on their web sites. This is some thing that is based on false premises because people come to web sites looking for content or information. What’s more, this is content which pursues users to come back again to the web sites.

That is probably the reason why there is a plethora of beautiful web sites which are not faring well in terms of user retention and business statistics. Remember this inference has nothing to do with such web sites where Flash happens to be content and it is a case more of a necessity than over use of it. Say for instance, web sites which thrive on online games, jokes, maps, graphs etc.

However, this does not necessarily mean that use of Flash is solely beneficial for sites heavily dealing with games, jokes, maps, graphs etc. Its use transcends over such sites and is really helpful provided it is used in moderation and in strategic consideration.

Let’s have an idea how Flash can be used in strategic consideration so as not to hamper usability and accessibility of your web site.

  • Don’t be tempted to design your web site in Flash alone. Use a good mix of HTML and Flash in a user friendly way to tap maximum traffic.
  • Keep it etched in your memory that Flash can never be a substitute for the content on your site. Use Flash only to enhance the value of your content, not at all to replace it.
  • Information retrieval could be a disturbing experience for your users if you display content in Flash files. Do change such practice in favor of your users.
  • Optimize your Flash files to an extent which helps you serve your users better rather than drive them away unpleasantly.

A lesson in Flash

Make sure on your part that you use Flash in proportionate amounts to enliven your web site and hence Flash does not take toll of meaningful information retrieval.

Last Updated ( Friday, 26 November 2010 09:56 )

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