Flash Site Intros

I read a blog today that completely bashes the use of Flash animated website introductions. I would link it, but the language would offend too many people. In short, the blogger created a decision chart for when to use a Flash intro which ultimately lead to no. On the excessive use of Flash intros, I have to agree with the blogger. On the whole I find them annoying and waste of time. If a site is kind enough to have a skip intro link or button I am keen to click it.

Flash intros, to me, are much like the FBI warnings on DVDs that you have to suffer through every time you watch them. No one I know of reads the warning but they all either leave the couch to get something to eat or drink or sigh/grunt/moan at the screen. The same is true for Flash intros, and especially true for sites with Flash intros that do not have skip options or show every time you visit the site.

A certain favorite band of mine used to have a Flash based website that could only be navigated via the Flash interface. No mater what link you visited on the site, you would be redirected to the intro page and forced to watch a non-skippable Flash intro. It was no wonder a fan site popped up that contained the majority of the official site’s content (and more!) in HTML format that exceeded the official site in number of unique visitors per month by nearly triple.

But, bureaucracies being what they are, and website content often driven by the nontechnical visions of upper management, I know having these on sites will be unavoidable. In light of that, I’d like to offer some constructive criticism on the use of Flash Intros to the poor web developers being forced to implement them.

Rules to Follow when Implementing Flash Intros

  • Always offer an HTML based skip link as well as a flash based skip option.
  • Use cookies to determine if the user has visited the flash intro before and if they have, redirect them to the home page.
  • Make the Flash intro short and sweet. A majority of people will skip it, so spare expenses on the creation of the Flash intro. In addition, if it is short enough it will catch their attention before they can skip to the home page instead of forcing them to watch the intro again.
  • After the intro has finished running, automatically redirect the user to the home page. Requiring a button press is not necessary and annoying.
  • Do not redirect fresh site visits to the Flash intro. This will decrease the likelyhood that other sites will link to content on your site and ultimately hurt visitor flow.
  • Limit the size of the Flash intro in both screen size and memory size. Not everyone has 1GB or more of RAM in their PC and not everyone has high-resolution, large monitors. Alienating your visitors is not wise in any site endeavour, but fatal on the intro page.
  • Set the default sound setting to muted. If you have sound to go along with the animation, then create a button to play the sounds. Sites that play unsolicited sounds alienate office workers and personally annoy me.
  • Avoid having one if at all possible. Try convincing management to drop the flash intro at least once.

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2 Responses to “Flash Site Intros”

  1. [...] hate Flash. I don’t know if that was clear in my flash intro blog, but if it wasn’t, let me make it clear here. I really hate flash. So many popular and wonderful [...]

  2. Mark Kraus says:

    Unfortunately, since the original source has a large amount of profanity, our policy prevents me from linking to it. :( But, I bet if you google flash intro and the “F” word you will find it.

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