A lot of people ask me for my opinion on the use of flash on one’s website. They ask me “Should I use a flash animation on my home page?” and “What do you think about the use of flash for a brief product demo?”
Flash banners on your home page hurt from an SEO standpoint because the search engines can’t read flash. Neither can the iphone and ipad. For these two reasons, we recommend using jquery instead for home page animated banners. The end user will never know the difference as the functionality looks the same.
Here are several things to consider when making your decision about whether to employ jquery animation on your home page:
- Do you target multiple markets?
- How many different roles/titles are involved in the decision making process for your product/solution?
- Do you have multiple products and/or lines of business?
- Does each market, title, product and/or line of business require a different message?
- Do you have a particular product or solution that you want to prominently display?
If you target multiple markets, you could employ an animation in a prominent location on your home page. Think of it as a billboard. The animation could have a rotating panel for each market. Each panel could have messaging and imagery specific to that market. To make it real easy for this target market to venture into your site, you could have a “learn more” link in the panel that takes the visitor directly to that market’s page within your website.
I think animation works real well in this scenario because it delivers a professional look and feel, a key component of usability. In addition, it will result in better visits to your website, meaning a lower exit rate from your home page, because if visitors quickly obtain a clear understand what you do and for whom, they’re more likely to dive deeper into your site. If visitors can’t obtain this understanding quickly from your home page, they’ll immediately leave your site.
The same scenario would apply to companies (1) whose products require multiple roles/titles in the decision making process, and (2) who have multiple products and/or lines of business.
In terms of the use of flash for a brief product demo, ask yourself:
- Is your product or solution difficult to describe in words?
For a product demo, flash is an effective tool if you sell products or solutions that are difficult to describe in words, particularly describing the ease of use and the benefits of the product. Think of it this way – “A picture says a thousand words”. You could get a lot of uses out of employing flash in this fashion, including:
- Use it as an offer on your website. Entice people to view it with language such as “See how this hospital’s orthopedic surgery department has successfully deployed our product in (name the setting).” Or “See how easy it is to set up our product and begin (name the business benefit)”. Once the flash concludes, you could have a “speak to a product professional” link to encourage and make it easy for the viewer to convert into a qualified opportunity.
- Use it as a rolling demo in your trade show booth.
- Use it as a fulfillment piece to a sales rep’s conversation with a prospect.