Part 1: Flash

There are two major ways to code a website, which can affect the design: Flash and HTML.

Flash is an animation program that can be used to create websites.
Pros of using Flash:

  • Flash has fewer graphical constraints than HTML does – you don’t have to base your designs on a table. This gives you greater design flexibility.
  • Flash-based sites can move and have other animation. This can make your site more visually interesting and engaging, but if you over-use it, it can be confusing and distracting to visitors.
  • Flash is considered more of a “cutting-edge” technology than plain HTML. If your brand is based on being up-to-date with new technologies, then it might reinforce your brand to put some Flash on your site.

Cons of using Flash:

  • There’s no easy way to make edits or site changes. In order to make even simple text changes, a designer would have to go back into the main Flash source file, make the change, and re-export the file into a web format. So, if you’re planning to make a lot of updates or edits to your site, Flash is not the way to go.
  • Search Engines don’t index all of the content in Flash-based sites. Your text content is the most valuable tool that the search engines use to determine what your website is about so that they can rank you appropriately. But, because of the way that Flash files are encoded, it’s difficult for the Search Engines to read all of the text content.
  • Website visitors need to have special software installed on their computer – beyond just a web browser – to be able to see sites coded in Flash. Not everyone keeps these software packages up-to-date, and if a visitor doesn’t have the software they need to view your site installed, it would be an inconvenience for them to have to go and download and install the new software. Some visitors may be too busy or hurried to go and do that, and they may just pass your site by once they see that as a requirement.
  • Flash files are larger than most HTML files and take longer to load.
  • Not all website designers and programmers know how to work in Flash. So, if you choose Flash, you may have a harder time finding a site designer/programmer to work with, or to update your site for you down the line.
  • It’s a harder program for entrepreneurs to learn – so you’re less likely to be able to make changes yourself.
  • Flash has a bad reputation. A lot of Flash intros and cartoons are pretty pointless – they don’t add value or meaning to the site that they’re on. They’re just there to look cool, to show off technically, or to provide amusement. Many website visitors have become disenchanted with this type of website animation. If you do choose to use Flash, make sure that your animation has a purpose and a meaning, instead of being “just pretty”.