Standing Out Among the Masses

By: Maxine Winters

Special effects aren't just for the movies anymore; we are in the midst of the Internet generation trying their best to outdo the computer language of their forefathers, HTML. Flash is now the standard for high-impact web content and animation to the monitors of computers around the globe. Anything less is considered to be sub-par.

There are basically two types of graphics- Bitmap images and Vector graphics. As a general rule of thumb, any scanned image is a Bitmap (like when you edit a photograph) while any drawing made in a computer is saved as a Vector graphic. These types of programs use a series of mathematic equations to create lines, shapes and ultimately drawings. Flash is Vector animation software, originally designed to create animations for use and display on web pages. This trait also makes the highly entertaining page load much faster than HTML, as Flash "caches" the movies so they don't need to be reloaded each time the site is visited. HTML also has this "cache" feature, but the speed and quality "lifelike" animation of Flash simply makes for no competition.

HTML served its purpose of creating the traditional "front page of a newspaper" type of website, and did a fine job for the time. Bitmap images were the photos and snapshots taken by the staff photographer, and the HTML is the plain text. As computer programs and software began to evolve along the with the growth of the Internet, it soon became pretty common knowledge that HTML's lack of excitement would become outdated.

If you're still unsure about having a Flash intro on your website, think about this: over 90% of all computers in the world have a Flash Player installed- that's up from 80% just 5 years ago. This means that the demand for such graphics and displays is here and increasing at every click of a mouse. Flash has basically no browser issues and can be used on any Mac or PC.

If there is a downside to Flash, it would have to be the fact that plain text doesn't work very well with it -that's part of the reasoning behind creating a Flash introduction to your site, leaving the pertinent text/key information to HTML. While an HTML introduction will get the attention of thousands of potential customers and clients and bring them into your site, a Flash intro will grab their attention and keep them coming back. Why? Basically, Flash is entertaining (like an X-Box) and HTML is, well, Pong.

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