If you must use animation to convey a concept, then there are a few elegant ways that you can do that. The best choices include:

Embedding a small Flash animation in a regular HTML page. You can use the advantages of Flash to your advantage by creating a Flash animation as an inset on a web page. That way, you get all the benefits of both worlds – the Search Engine friendliness and ease of maintenance of a regular web page, and the animation capabilities of Flash, which can deepen your communication with your customers and your website’s overall effectiveness.

Just make sure that you don’t get carried away with embedding animations in your website. You don’t want to have too many moving images tucked all around your site – that would just be distracting and could make your visitors feel a little sick!

For the pros and cons of Flash and HTML, see the previous 2 posts.

Use Flash wisely – on the home page, or to explain complicated processes or products – and you’ll benefit from it.

Animated GIFs: For simple animations, I recommend using animated GIFs. You can use these to create animations with several frames of graphics, which is often enough to create an interesting and eye-catching effect, and to illustrate simple concepts.

The pros of this approach are:

  • You don’t have to resort to learning a complicated program to create them. They’re easy to create and to edit using simple graphics editing software like Photoshop and ImageReady.
  • They’re pretty easy to create – and therefore, they tend to take less time and to be less expensive. And, a good number of designers know how to
  • Animated GIFs also can be sent in HTML emails. Some HTML emailing programs and email reading programs aren’t yet advanced enough to handle Flash files. But, your animated GIFs will translate to your HTML emails just fine.

The cons of this approach are:

  • Animated GIFs aren’t as advanced as Flash. You won’t be able to create smooth fades or movement using an animated GIF. But, if your animation is not very complicated, animated GIF files can work very well.