Modera News

Using Flash effectively

Flash is a well-established technology, and can be very useful in certain circumstances. It’s a popular tool for big brands who want a visually rich, intensely usable site and who, because of their sheer size and brand recognition, don’t have to worry too much about SEO.

From the point of view of a small or more middleweight businesses, Flash is something to be careful with. It can look good, but it’s not necessary for a good design and can – all too easily – create SEO problems. When you are developing a new site you need to make sure that your designer is aware of the SEO problems that Flash can cause. Designers are often more concerned with the appearance of a site than its performance, and may be tempted to overlook SEO considerations in pursuit of attractive visual effects!

Even though Flash crawlability and linkability has improved over time thanks to JavaScript and XML techniques, in terms of its ability to be indexed by the search engines it is still way behind HTML. So by all means use Flash animations as “the icing on the cake” – but don’t rely on it for creating key navigation or other overarching structural elements on your site.

Hopefully we’ve also come far enough with SEO that every web designer understands that JavaScript-generated menus and pulldowns are structural failures. Search engines ignore JavaScript, meaning it has no link or SEO value. Look for HTML/CSS alternatives when trying to create JS-like effects, focussing on code that ages gracefully and can be updated easily: dropdowns made of UL lists, mouseover effects applied by defined classes, and so on.