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To Flash or Not to Flash

Should you use Flash animation on your company's website? That question has been hotly debated ever since Flash hit the market. Find out what Flash animation is, what its advantages and disadvantages are, and how to put it to good work for your business.

What is Flash Animation?

Flash is a programming technique developed by Macromedia which allows websites to display animated graphics, games, advertisements, product demos, and more. One of the compelling reasons to use Flash is that it is platform-independent, meaning that it runs just as well on Windows machines as on Macs, and as well on the Internet Explorer browser as on Firefox. Many other animation techniques cannot function without a platform-dependent plug-in like the Real Player or QuickTime.

Additional Flash Advantages:

  • Allows you to make an impressive visual presentation on your website.
  • Lets you add interactive features like games, quizzes, and tutorials.
  • When used for navigation, Flash looks showy and professional.
  • Can be used to customize fonts on websites, without requiring that those fonts be installed on the viewers’ computers.
  • Flash ads can be more compelling and engaging for your viewers.

Why is there Controversy?

With all of these advantages, why wouldn't you use Flash on your website? Unfortunately, there are some downsides to using Flash, as well.


Disadvantages of Flash:

  • Pages load more slowly, increasing the chance that viewers will leave your site.
  • Viewers still need to have Flash installed.
  • Flash can distract users from the information they want.
  • Flash is ignored or disfavoured by search engines, hurting your website's visibility.
  • Flash can become outdated, requiring you to update your website frequently.

The Bottom Line

Flash is a powerful tool, but it's not the only one at your disposal. Here are some guidelines to follow when considering whether or not to use Flash on your company's website:


  • Use Flash when it provides a real benefit to your readers. An easy, step-by-step tutorial that shows how to utilise your product is a great use of Flash, but a large, processor-intensive animation that does nothing but look pretty will only frustrate your site visitors.
  • Don't go overboard; use Flash for subtle animations and small ads. Limit the amount of Flash you offer on any single page.
  • Provide alternatives for people with older computers and slower internet connections.

By following these simple rules, you can use Flash to enhance your website without alienating your viewers. If you would like a no-obligation consultation to explore how using Flash technology could improve your marketing message, please call 08452 579606.