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Is Flash Bad For Your Website?

Flash has made website design more interactive for the viewer, making it easier to view animations, videos, music, and other mediums. Flash helps viewer’s browsing experience more entertaining. Alternatively, viewers may also see it as an unnecessary distraction. Although using this Flash in websites have become more popular and common, making a full website in Flash can be difficult to be ranked high in search engines. So, depending on the type of content of your website, the use of Flash should really be used effectively and only when necessary. Outlined below are a set of advantages and disadvantages of using this tool for your website.

ADVANTAGES:

  • Flash is cross-compatible and will be viewed in almost all web browsers, such as Firefox, IE, and Safari, guaranteeing that it will be viewed the way you intend it to be viewed.
  • Flash is an excellent tool for creating animations, and a convenient solution for compressing these animations for quick web viewing.
  • Video hosting websites such as YouTube and Google Video use Flash to stream videos quickly and conveniently, proving that it has become the best solution to show videos rather than using OS-dependent plugins like QuickTime and Media Player.
  • If a web-design requires a special font to be used, Flash can embed the specific font into the Flash file, encoding it as an image and viewers will be able to view text in the desired font. This application cannot be guaranteed with HTML coding, for it requires the viewer to have the font installed in their system.
  • Flash is not just a flashy graphic tool, but can also perform most of the same tasks as server-side scripts.

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Flash applications and websites are time consuming and require the viewer to be patient while the file downloads. Even with pre-loader tools and Flash optimization, the viewer may be frustrated and not willing to wait to receive information from your website.
  • Viewers needing to go the previous page do not have this application available on a Flash site. The ‘back’ button does not apply to Flash files and therefore, inconvenient for the viewer who must re-navigate their way through your website again.
  • Flash is also accessibility impaired, and does not provide viewers with alternative text. So those who need to view text larger will have a harder browsing experience.
  • Flash websites and applications have text and links embedded as Flash images, and therefore search engines will not read it. The result of this disadvantage is that the website will not be able to rank high in search engines.
  • Although having Flash may be a more convenient solution as opposed to QuickTime or Media Player, it still requires the viewer to download and constantly update the Flash plug-in in order for the Flash file to show up on screen.

So when is it most effective to use the Flash application? Consider the content of your website and alternative methods of showcasing it. If you require interactivity with the viewer, with video, music or games, then Flash can be used effectively. However, there are certain aspects of your website that should stay away from Flash, such as the navigation of your website. If there is an error in your navigation, viewers won’t have access to the website at all. If you do decide to include Flash in your website, make sure there are alternative means of viewing it, whether it be making a mirrored website coded in HTML, or combining both HTML and Flash.

For more information on the best way to optimize your Flash website for SEO, click here .

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