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    matthewdoucette.com
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    Business website design (flash or no flash?)


    Recently I have begun to develop some business websites and I notice that a lot of my local competition uses flash for their designs. Some of their sites are nothing more than loading one flash .swf. I do not agree with this for various reasons...

    Anyway, although I do not think one exists, can anyone show me a major business website (asside from computer-graphic-related companies, such as video game companies, multi-media companies, etc.) that extensively uses flash?

    All opinions on the topic welcome.
    Last edited by Doucette; August 27th, 2003 at 09:05 AM.
    Matthew Doucette / Xona.com
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    i don't know if you would consider this extensive but it's deffenitly not computer related


    http://www.savoy-group.co.uk/

    my bad, it's not a major buisness and they don't use flash throughtout their site.. sorry .was thinking something else.
    Last edited by lunatic; August 27th, 2003 at 09:56 AM.
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    If you build your site for flash, you block a certain % of web users. Now granted Flash is probably in use by 99% of the active community you still have to deal with outdated software, slow computers, slow net connections, etc.

    IF you want your page viewable to the largest audience stick with html 3 or 4

    In reality though, I recommend either going ALL flash (and offering an html alternative) or just using flash for your header.
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    It all depends on your target clients. If they are selling something that is more cutting edge or just straight up fun like a Gaming site, than flash is fine! But if you are a traditional business I would stay away from the flash for the important part's of the website.

    If you still wish to do flash just make sure you do it in things that are not needed. If you did a menu some users would be confused as how to navigate.
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    If the business is going to be selling anything from their website, stay the hell away from flash. End users want speed and clean design with easy navigation.

    Now if they a product they want to demo, then using flash for that part of the site or if its more of an "Online Brocshure" you can proably get away with it.
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    Flash is pretty much just as common these days as html. The following link are companies who appeal to the masses.

    http://www.nissanusa.com
    http://nike.com/
    http://www.pepsi.com
    http://burgerking.com/
    http://cocacola.com
    http://www.chevrolet.com/
    http://budweiser.com/
    http://www.mazdausa.com
    http://www.us.levi.com

    Just to name a few.....
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    Originally posted by kfickert
    If the business is going to be selling anything from their website, stay the hell away from flash. End users want speed and clean design with easy navigation.

    Now if they a product they want to demo, then using flash for that part of the site or if its more of an "Online Brocshure" you can proably get away with it.
    I completely agree.

    Originally posted by dkaspian
    Flash is pretty much just as common these days as html. The following link are companies who appeal to the masses.

    http://www.nissanusa.com
    http://nike.com/
    http://www.pepsi.com
    http://burgerking.com/
    http://cocacola.com
    http://www.chevrolet.com/
    http://budweiser.com/
    http://www.mazdausa.com
    http://www.us.levi.com

    Just to name a few.....
    Most of these companies promote products that sell on emotion and impulse buying. They require images to sell. It's not like they are selling books or computers. Thanks for pointing out these sites to me. I'm trying to draw a line where flash is beneficial and where it is most definitely not.
    Matthew Doucette / Xona.com
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    Personally, I don't think extensive use of Flash is a good idea. It limits SEO, isn't viewable by all, and is all too often an excuse to try out gimmicks, rather than being for the purpose of delivering something essential. Few sites (if any) need Flash.

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    I guess it depends on what type of company you are trying to be. I think that all flash sites, are a no no unless your site doesnt sell anything. If you are selling products, having flash images or flash advertising is a good idea. it catches the eye.
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    There are usability issues with Flash, especially if you're basing your entire page off of a flash animation, as opposed to augmenting an HTML/text page w/ a Flash image or animation.

    1. Navigation buttons are rendered useless
    2. Text-to-speech applications - for those users who are absorbing web content with senses other than their eyes - are rendered useless
    3. Sites using Flash as the basis for their content are not readable by text-only browsers, such as Lynx
    4. Short of capturing the screen, saving the image in a photo editing software application and printing it, there is no method for printing HTML pages w/ Flash
    5. You cannot search a Flash page for a specific string of text w/ your browser
    6. Search engines cannot parse or catalog content w/in your Flash file, meaning you miss out on any search engine benefit

    Those are just for starters... not to mention that some users simply do not install flash.
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    matthewdoucette.com
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    Top 10 sites english sites according to alexa:

    www.yahoo.com
    www.msn.com
    www.google.com
    www.passport.net
    www.microsoft.com
    www.ebay.com
    www.amazon.com
    www.go.com
    www.hotmail.com
    www.aol.com

    ...and I do not see any Flash usage (except one advert I saw on one of them, which I think is completely fine.)
    Matthew Doucette / Xona.com
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    Measuring popularity is not itself a guarantee of quality, nor can it be construed as a measurement of best practices. As an example, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is currently employed by over 90% of all web users, yet Mozilla and Mozilla Firebird are clearly better designed web browsers - closer to standards, smaller in size, faster in loading, and they provide more user-friendly options (such as ad and popup blocking) than MSIE. Still, MSIE prevails.

    Flash has uses - it just happens that those uses are best suited for advertisements, not the bulk of a website's display, content or navigation functionality.



    Originally posted by Doucette
    Top 10 sites english sites according to alexa:

    www.yahoo.com
    www.msn.com
    www.google.com
    www.passport.net
    www.microsoft.com
    www.ebay.com
    www.amazon.com
    www.go.com
    www.hotmail.com
    www.aol.com

    ...and I do not see any Flash usage (except one advert I saw on one of them, which I think is completely fine.)
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    Originally posted by drgroove
    Measuring popularity is not itself a guarantee of quality, nor can it be construed as a measurement of best practices.
    Very true, and I agree. However, you will never see a site with the traffic of these most-popular website having horrible and major flaws in their designs. Perhaps there are some websites with less traffic that make better use of each visitor, that are more optimized, but the popularity and the money put into these high-traffic websites guarantees they are closer to perfection than just your average website built by your average developer. That's all I was getting at.
    Matthew Doucette / Xona.com
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    Just choosing flash bcoz your competitors are having is not right way! See websites are meant for business, businesses not for websites! There are more advanced functionality which can give even better effect than flash! Better one should give emphasis on the customer needs, their reaction, visibility. (Do you know a well known search engine does not like flash- Google). So ask your designer to ensure usability of your customers, leave how your competitors have done it.
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    Some designers in sites used Flash quite a bit but I have also done a good amount of just HTML / CSS / Javascript sites too.
    There are just some things that canít be done without Flash. You can try to mimic animations or rollovers with Javascript or CSS but with Flash it just gives you an ability to create more of a experience for the user. Without Flash many sites start to look the same such as the whole web 2.0 phase.

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