Flash web design secrets

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We get a lot of requests for flash websites, and it’s not surprising. With our track record it is obvious that we’re a first choice for many clients. We’re able to do the whole lot: requirements capture, design, development, coding… we’re pretty good really! Now I’m going to surprise you, most Flash websites are a waste of time and money. Especially if your website is for a carpet shop.

When not to use Flash.
Customers want to have Flash on their website for so many reasons, but very rarely is it because it’s actually a good idea. Generally it’s because they want to host a game (which their customers will hate) or to show a ridiculous menu (which is slow, cumbersome and confusing), or to provide some music (which will make their customers leave the site – customers can’t be bothered to look for a mute).

Hosting a game
It’s generally a bad idea to host a game. If you’re a carpet shop, why have a carpet based game? Do you honestly believe people will think your “flying carpet” game is better than Guitar Hero? Well it’s not. Don’t do it.

Ridiculous Menu
It’s generally a very bad idea to make a Flash menu. What’s so special about your carpet shop website that you need to run your menu in Flash? Think about it – if the big media companies can manage without a Flash menu, what makes you so sure your carpet shop needs one?

Don’t subject your customers to your tastes. Just do some quick stats. How many of your actual friends like your music tastes? 1 in 4? And they’re from your own background and you share common interests. So what are the chances of your customers also liking your music? Waaaay less than 1 in 4 – I can tell you that. Unless you’ve got a music website about your band, then I can see no reason for music on your site. Especially if you’re a carpet shop. There’s no need for any music on a carpet shop website.

Some good uses of Flash
There are times when a little Flash is a good thing – even for carpet shop owners. How about a Flash demo where you can chose the colors of your walls and match them with a carpet? Or how about some video showing how your team of carpet shop fitters can tame a stair carpet? Yes, there are some really good uses. Before and after shots are great in a Flash based gallery too – this is the point where I become hesitant about the use of Flash though. As soon as something becomes possible without the use of Flash, I start to question the need, and so should you.

Ask an expert
At Charlotte Web Design, we’ll write any old Flash game or application you want, if you commission us to do so, but why not ask our opinion too? We’ve seen a lot of tat that just won’t work and we’ve got opinions too. Talk about your ideas and ask us what might work well for your site. We’ll consider the sort of business you provide and we’ll think of ways to make your website work well for you. And we definitely won’t suggest adding music to your website unless it’s there’s a very good reason.

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