Your Client Insists On Flash - What Do You Do?
Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:25 AM
Commonly, FLASH is used for splash page intros, or on home pages to preview products, or used to flash marketing messages (sometimes near the logo)...
As an SEO responsible for page indexing, how to advise your clients?
Are there "best practices"? Do you ask for an outright ban on FLASH?
Other solutions or experiences?
Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:41 AM
With that said, I'm of the opinion that just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should - i.e. gratuitous Flash. If, however, it can help meet some strategic objective for the site without compromising other objectives, then by all means.
Edited by Respree, 10 November 2007 - 11:44 AM.
Posted 10 November 2007 - 01:25 PM
at all. One such website is the Rijksmuseum website in Amsterdam. What you think?
One of the most negative aspects of flash is that even with a quick connection it is inevitably very slow. Just stumble and make a note how many times you move on when you realize it is a flash site.
Posted 10 November 2007 - 02:18 PM
Posted 10 November 2007 - 02:22 PM
For some institutions, "impression" is much more important than "rankings".
See if you can convince the client to attack both.
(I might place the Rijksmuseum in the impression over rankings category - most will search for them by name or by "amsterdam museum" --- but I think that they are a bit over the top with the sound - and poorly maintained with two of the feature links not working. Really a let down after their impressive opening inspired me to look at art.)
Posted 10 November 2007 - 03:54 PM
Last Spring a potential client said he wanted "a zen-like Flash site." He had in mind something that looked like a site he admired. If not for gratuitous Flash awfulness - the "click here to enter our flash site" link and using images in place of text - the site could have been done with CSS quite elegantly. He couldn't wrap his mind around that and I lost him.
If I had suggested using *some* Flash, just because he said so, instead of telling him he didn't need it, he probably would have been happy to have "a Flash site" that was a site with Flash touches, and I would have been happy that he didn't have the baggage of the site he admired.
I think there's room for flexibility. They may not be prepared for the idea that it's not all or nothing.
Posted 10 November 2007 - 05:27 PM
Posted 11 November 2007 - 01:26 AM
If you know what you are doing you should be able to sit down with a client and explain exactly WHY going completely flash will not only hurt their business and lose them customers, but will also lose them MONEY. When you put it like that, they tend to take a step back.
They are paying YOU to do the best possible job for them. Even if your job is just the design, IMHO, you still have a responsibility in some small way to the success of their business.
If you hire a contractor to put a new roof on your house, do you want the latest fancy coloured roof that the Jones' have or do you want the contractor to explain to you that you shouldn't go for that roof because in two years, it will leak and will cost you money because it is impossible to insulate correctly in the winter?
Posted 11 November 2007 - 03:38 AM
First of all, I don't see a real problem in using *some* Flash on a site, so long as it doesn't interfere with site visitors reading the content, or at least not in important areas. For instance, when they're reading the product info and are about to click the Add to Cart button, that's not the time to distract them.
For product previews, sometimes nothing works as well as *showing* them how something works or displaying the product in its best possible environment. Walls of text (and I'm a writer) will help to support it, but a Flash movie (with voiceover?) can get the point across like nothing else can. Of course, you could do this other ways — QuickTime, etc., but it's kind of hassle to have to determine what plugins visitors have, etc.; actually, I've never done that but assume that it can be done, but then you'd have to provide the same content in a variety of plugin formats. In such a case, you could do a lot with a Flash movie. How is this worse for SEO than having images? Since the site is not all Flash, there *are* no SEO issues so long as you actually optimize the site.
However, an all-Flash home page or a splash page for the home page that contains only a Flash movie (which, at least, gives offers a slightly better optimization scenario) may not be the best use of visitor attention. Thing is, anyone who's studied server logs for a few minutes will immediately notice that website visitors don't all enter on the home page. Of those entering an internal page, how many then go to the home page to view the spectacular Flash announcement that they don't know is there? And, of those entering through the home page, how many times do you want to force them to see that same movie? What if they've got Flash disabled and nothing displays on the home page?
But what if you're introducing a blockbuster movie? Or a band that, after eons, is on tour right now?
How about a site that's geared to sell item(s) for which there's an infomercial? They've seen the infomercial and are now visiting the site. A salesman will tell you it's time to get them while they're interested. Show them the item, in action, with bits of the infomercial. Why not? That's what attracted them in the first place.
I'm hardly against Flash, but I think these things need to be thought out, in terms of what is pertinent. Theme from Rocky blaring while you're displaying your logo spinning around the globe? Not so great. Blockbuster movie or infomercial product? Maybe. Even probably.
See, there are always "what if" scenarios, rather than a firm rule that must not be broken. And it demands fluidity of thought.
Posted 11 November 2007 - 09:08 AM
1) client is unhappy because you can't effectively optimize a flash website. They've already paid for their webdesign and leave unhappy.
2) They scale back the flash and replace many of the textual components with html. This is quite costly and usually only the larger companies can absorb this additional design cost. Typically they had a great ranking html site and the reason they're approaching an seo is because after the new and improved flash site, organic traffic is down.
Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:43 AM
What do you do if they think they've got to have it?
Whether Flash is valuable depends so completely on context that I can't make a wide open, broad-spectrum decision. If they think they need it, they're probably wrong --- it's rare that Flash is "necessary" --- but if they want it, there may be a perfectly good reason to implement Flash on their site in some way or another. It may not be the way THEY imagine it, of course.
One thing I absolutely won't do is advise on or build a completely Flash-based site. This is nothing against Flash; but I don't have anything even approaching the skill or knowledge about Flash to make that accessible.
Having some Flash, though? Yeah, OK. As long as it's sensibly implemented, there's really no reason to avoid it completely. Just don't use it in stupid ways!
Posted 11 November 2007 - 03:54 PM
That said SE bot and human visitor accessibility issues are not necessarily identical. And which of what might be best practice depends on how Flash is to be integrated into the individual page.
With every part of a site there can be multiple options and it is best that both designer and client discuss the pluses and minuses of each from the perspective of that unique site and its objectives.
From a purely SEO perspective, i.e. getting a URL that is wholely or partially implimented in Flash (1) indexed and (2) well ranked for targeted terms, I would stipulate what needs to be done. The client wants Flash, fine. The client agrees to SEO requirements, fine. The client does not agree to those requirements and retains Flash, his choice, his responsibility. If you neglect getting client to sign off on decisions (and their consequences) that is very much your problem - stop being so silly.
Posted 12 November 2007 - 01:44 PM
Is there a difference between optimizing something like a FLASH presentation made up of images (like travel sites do with rotating images of sites to see, or hotels showing different shots of a facility) and FLASH video, such as Webpronews video (I think they're an example of this, but PLEASE correct me or provide a better example.)
Are the workarounds and solutions the same or similar?
Posted 12 November 2007 - 09:19 PM
I know google can index some text within a flash presentation, but not very well. So typically I would just treat it like an image and work in some text around it. One of the flash videos I saw on a client's site had some really nice content, which was a message from the CEO. I recommended they link to a page containing the transcript of the video... not sure if they ever went through with it before I left.
Just checked... they didn't... oh well.
Posted 19 November 2007 - 04:16 AM
I'm wondering if the SEs have an allowance for some keywords which lend themselves to be better explained visually?
Anyway, I guess I've just noticed it doesn't matter for some industries, depends on the keywords you're trying to optimise for.
Posted 19 November 2007 - 01:39 PM
Posted 26 November 2007 - 04:32 AM
What would you do?
What would you do to convince the client at least to use HMTL/CSS/images/AJAX for the beauty/exotic functions?
How can you tell the customer that he'll be losing money? What if you don't have enough data in the client's industry to make a valid claim?
P.S. Kim, where's the article? I'd like to read it.
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