Friday, June 27, 2008

Lets Splash with Flash

As the web evolved over the years, we have seen a number of innovations and gimmicks that have come and gone. One such marvel is splash pages made in Flash. Splash pages in Flash were originally envisioned to be akin to digital book covers – aiming to provide a feel and set the mood for the site to come, helping spark off the anticipation.

The question for the modern day interactive marketer is when to use a Flash splash page and whether it is truly effective. With the average click attention spans pegged at about 3 clicks use of a Flash Splash needs to be carefully evaluated. For a repeat user having a splash page doesn’t provide any value to the visit as he is most likely to skip the intro, having seen it previously, in such a scenario it is merely an obstacle to where he wants to get to.

From an SEO perspective, Flash pages are not considered a boon due to the absence of keywords and the fact that these pages usually have one link (leading into the site) and are rarely cross-linked. The fact that Flash Splash pages have redirects make it even more less likely that the page will be listed by a search engine. Some search engines crawl through only the first three levels of a site and a splash page is effectively the first level. This is yet another way in which a Flash Splash affects the SEO chances of a site.

Taking into consideration the drawbacks of using a Flash Splash, one option is to provide the user with a skip intro option. This however insinuates that the content of the intro is not of primary importance, leading to the issue of credibility. The splash also detracts viewers from the homepage. If a viewer gets frustrated with the load-times, he encounters for an intro animation he might just head elsewhere, even landing on a competitors site! Thus, the splash page acts as a barrier to the site’s primary offerings. Bailout rates for splash pages have been found to range from 16% to 71% for splash screens (Nielsen 1998, Sullivan 1997, Marlatt 1999).

No comments:

Post a Comment