The pros of Flash design are easy to see from a human point of view. If a site loads as a whole entity then it’s quick and simple to get around. That said, a browser often thinks that the Flash site is a single page no matter how many levels into the site you’ve gone: so if you hit the back button on your browser when you are several “pages” into a Flash site you end up going back to the site you were at before you loaded the Flash one.
Flash design is extremely good for animation and interactivity – adding, in other words, “flash” to your site design. In the right situation this can give your site an element of class that it would not have had without the Flash.
When Flash designers know when to use Flash, and when not to, the finished site will always work as it should given its purpose. One of the major problems with Flash design is not the Flash itself, but the people who use it. Because it is difficult to learn, and because its effects are so jazzy, some Flash developers fall into the trap of making everything in Flash even when they don’t need to.
There are well publicised problems with Flash and search engine compatibility. This problem is slowly being resolved by Google, which has added the ability for its spiders to recognise the text inside an swf file – so Flash developers are now able to optimise their animations by using keywords in the Flash text. Even this is not really satisfactory, mind: the web spider is not yet able to view the swf as part of a bigger web page and has to see it as a separate page in its own right.
This problem can be taken care of by making a duplicate HTML site: but that begs the question, why not just make an HTML site in the first place?
The web as a whole is evolving to a place where the relevance of everything in a web site to a customer or user’s informational experience is the be all and end all: both of a successful website and of a good SEO position. It seems sensible then to use Flash where it is genuinely appropriate – to add games, animations and video where those things really work. Just remember never to use it for navigation or the web spiders won’t have a clue what your site is about.
Nilanjan is an Website Designer at TemplateKingdom, He is a regular blogger of the Templatekingdom.com where he writes about web design inspiration, photography and Internet Marketing.