To Flash or Not

Yeah, I know I promised to talk about Kinley McGregor’s book in the next post, but while surfing the web Monday, I came across Sybil’s post on Flash ads and decided to pick up on where she left off.

You see, one of my key projects this year involve rolling out the new corporate design for our region’s websites. Of course, being part of the project management team, we’re already privy to the many improvements of this new site vs current ones. The use of rich media elements (virtual tours, videos, flash enhanced photo gallery), flash enhanced page designs as well as social media features are some of the new tools that a girl in my position can only dream of working with.

I recall some 3 to 4 years back, a lot of companies were shunning flash citing search engine friendliness as a key factor that’s made them decided against using flash in their sites. There were even some industry players who removed their flash movies for this reason. And in a bid to become more SE optimized, they traded sexiness for functionality and traffic ranking. Not anymore. Recent advancements have made marrying the two possible.

Fast forward to 2006, flash is making a revival amongst corporate websites. With more users getting on to broadband, online branding has never been more important than before as surfers are now smarter when it comes to searching. Having a well optimised website is no longer enough. When it comes to branding, nothing conveys this more eloquently than imagery and engaging your site audience through rich media becomes crucial to a company’s survival on the online branding game. Hence, to answer her question, flash is making a comeback as the favourite design language.

Sybil also observed that the sites I’ve picked more often than not for my webwatch posts are those with great designs. It is true as I was looking at them more from a branding POV and judging a site on its ability to engage my interest, make me want to read the words, even though some are small.

When it comes to flashing, there is a fine line between tackiness and tastefulness. Having blinkies don’t always work well. It really depends on how the entire package is put together. For example, this little countdown flash on LeakyNews is very tastefully done, and quite easy to read:

WebWatch: Ode to HP Fans

While you’re over at this fansite, take a look at how the scrolling text and the animated banners on top are done. After that, stroll over to MuggleNet for a look at some of their creatives, although some readers may find the black background makes the words hard to read.Done? Now shimmy over to LouisVuitton’s catalogue page. I find their clean layout classy yet easy to read and they have flash too. More professional sites should be done like that, I say!

To Flash or NotTo Flash or Not

And Sharon Long can certainly ask her media company to learn from LV … the video loading time can be a pain. There is such a thing called embedded flash video. If I were consulting for her project, I would have recommended a treatment like VW on their homepage, or even Mercedes Benz on their brandworld starting page.

To Flash or Not To Flash or Not

I’ll stop at these for now before my occupational disease takes over and I start writing a whole paper out of it.  I’m already resisting bringing out the studies and stats etc. so I’d better leave off while I’m able.

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