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Using Flash to Enhance The Web Experience

More and more web sites are popping up with fancy Flash animation. Flash can be a powerful tool to enhance the web experience. Beyond simply making your site more “flashy,” there are less obvious reasons for adding Flash to your site.Internet viewers are becoming more savvy and expect a certain level of sophistication in their web experience. Flash can add striking or subtle visual and audio elements to your site’s presentation, giving the viewer easy insight into your company or services.

Flash elements can draw the eye to highlight a specific part of your page.

Flash image galleries allow users a unique interactive experience. They can view multiple images without having to open multiple pages.

A clear and engaging Flash animation on your page can present the viewer with information about your company with very little effort on their part.

Flash allows you to easily embed video and audio into your site without relying on media players.

Flash is compatible across all platforms and browsers (except for iphone and other mobile operating systems). The animation will work in IE, Firefox, Chrome etc.

But before you get too excited and run out and create your entire site in Flash, there are a few things to keep in mind. Flash is an amazing tool when used effectively and in moderation, but it’s not for every site. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or where to add Flash to your site;

Your Audience – If your viewers are not members of a particularly technologically savvy demographic they may be intimidated by a lot of animation.

Possible Distractions – If your site is one that viewers go to for quick and easy access to specific information, the bells and whistles of animation may be distracting. Use it only when the animation will contribute to usability, not simply for “wow” factor.

First Impressions – Visitors to a site can be turned off by delays in loading time. Flash animation file sizes can be kept fairly small, but you need to test it at various bandwidths.

Search Engines – The content in Flash is not searchable by all search engines.

Navigation – Many people rely on the “back button” for navigation, but for pages built in Flash the “back button” does not work.

Compatibility – Although this is less of an issue today some computers still do not have the Flash plug-in necessary to view Flash animation. Overall people do not react positively to having to download programs. If your main demographic is likely to have outdated computer equipment, Flash may hinder your site’s usability.

Is Flash For You? Below are a few questions to ask yourself when contemplating adding Flash to your site.

Will the user experience benefit from Flash on your site?

Will your demographic appreciate – and possibly even expect – sophisticated animation?

Does your site call for a dynamic and interesting way to present images or information to the viewer?

Are you looking for a way to make your site more engaging – for it to stand out in the sea of your competition?

If used appropriately, Flash can be an exciting tool to get the most out of your viewers’ visits. Anchor has effectively incorporated Flash animation into award winning sites including WildDelight.com and ValleyDairy.com. Let us help you create an innovative web site that not only looks good, but performs as a powerful tool for your business