Flash technology is regarded by many as the ultimate tool in website design.
It can certainly add interactivity and spectacular graphics to any given website. If you’re in the process of creating a website and require pixel-perfect control over your design and font specifications, then Flash is probably the application that’s best suited for your needs. However, not everything in the garden is completely rosey – there’s a strong argument suggesting that the use of Flash can actually have a detrimental effect on the performance and ranking of many commercial websites. So what appears to be the problem?
Information in embedded in Flash can be invisible to search engines
Most internet browsers start their sessions through a search engine like Google or Bing. In order to create or maintain visibility on the web it’s imperative for a company to maximise its profile. Search engines function by scanning the information on the web and processing the best match for each user enquiry. The search is predominantly based around text processing.
Graphic format information like Flash can be almost impossible to find and process: even Google struggles to extract the textual information buried in Flash objects. Websites constructed entirely in Flash offer little if any textual information. Even if a search engines manages to extract some information, the site still tends to rank poorly.
Website reporting on Flash navigation can be a problem
Web Analytics systems are a tool that helps marketing professionals evaluate website visitor behaviour. The information gathered from this can b used to help and improve a website’s business performance. Whilst it is possible to run similar analytical tools for Flash, it is a far more convoluted process and requires considerable time and effort. Any statistics that are gathered are not as comprehensive and therefore are not as useful.
Flash does not abide by usual web standards
Visitors to Flash-based websites often get frustrated by the inability to carry out certain guaranteed functions common to all html and css sites. The back button doesn’t work, it’s impossible to highlight and paste contact information into Outlook, increasing font size is not possible and bookmarking any particular page will not work.
Lack of consistent cross platform support
One of the cornerstones of the internet is the basic understanding that any website should function on any browser. This universality is what’s made the internet so powerful. Not all users have Flash installed on their systems, and even those that do occasionally find that they have the wrong version. If you own an iPhone, you’ll already have noticed that you can’t navigate Flash-based websites.
Flash-based websites need continual updating
All successful websites share one characteristic – they continually update their pages with new and interesting content to reflect the latest company news and industry trends. This is what keeps them right at the top of the listings. Flash navigation sites need the input of a Flash designer every time new information has to be incorporated into an existing site. If your company does not employ one, it will expensive and time-consuming to outsource the work.
Flash won’t allow search engine site previews
Some search engines allow the user to preview option to view the contents of a site before visiting. This is useful as it helps the user is able to verify whether the site in question will provide the information they are searching for, thus cutting down on unnecessary site visits. Unfortunately Flash does not allow his function.