Should You Use A Flash Introduction On Your Web Site?

By: David Risley

A "Flash intro", better known by its infamous "skip-intro" name, is a bad web design technique that should be banned like asbestos.

What Is It?: An animation accompanied by music that is at least thirty seconds to two minutes long - and the first web page shown before "entering" a web site.

The only reason anyone ever uses a skip-intro page is because they think it's "cool". There is absolutely nothing good about skip-intro web pages.

Here's how a skip-intro page usually happens:

A business owner (or even a large-scale company) wants a web site. So they hire a web designer or a web design team. The owner knows absolutely nothing about web design or usability (more on that in a moment). So the design people put together a site and then show the owner what they've made. He looks it over, and then decides it "lacks oomph". The site could be perfect in every way. It could be easy to use and a selling machine, but the owner is convinced that in order to sell his products, he must "excite" his audience.

The all-too-familiar skip-intro then rears its ugly head. Out of desperation, the designers will make one. The owner loves it and immediately gives the green light.

For small business owners, the same situation occurs. They feel (or have been fooled into believing) that a skip-intro page is "cool", when in fact they're not thinking about the customer at all.

The key thing to remember is this: If your intent is to run a business from a web site, don't think about yourself. Think about the customer. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to visit, browse and most importantly BUY whatever it is you're selling.

Major flaws with skip-intros

Sure, the skip-intro looks "cool", but only once. Every time after that it's an annoyance - and not just for you, but for every single customer and potential customer that visits your web site. Think of it this way: If you had a catalog that forced you to wait two minutes before opening it every time you wanted to, would you even bother? Of course you wouldn't. You'd go get a normal catalog from someone else!

100% flash-based intros severely decrease the search engine friendliness of your web site. If your opening web page has absolutely no text to enter the site with, the search engines will never "crawl" your site. Any hopes you ever had of getting a good "rank" are gone. Search engines read text, not Flash.

The answer is "no".

The answer to the question of whether you should use a skip-intro Flash page or not is no. If you intend to sell things, that skip-into page will do nothing but work against you.

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