What’s wrong with the Flash intro?

It’s been 10 years since the Flash Intro was born and much to my disappointment, it’s still alive and kicking in some parts of the web. While I long to see the day when this blight upon humanity is finally and fully eradicated, every now and then we get requests from our clients to build a Flash Intro for their website. If you or your client is toying with the idea, here’s why the Flash Intro should dead and buried.

Before we begin, let’s take the time machine back to 2001… [cue flashback music]. Flash is the coolest thing around, everyone wants a Flash website and a Flash intro. Instead of walls of static text and graphics, websites now come with fancy animations and snazzy background music. Welcome to the world of ‘Rich Media’. It was a great time for web designers and Flash animators/programmers (like myself).

Now let’s go back to 2010. In the era of AJAX, iPhones, WordPress, Facebook and Twitter, Flash sounds like a relic from the past. But it has done very well to remain relevant, and in my opinion, nothing delivers rich, slick, animated websites like Flash can. I have no problem with that. My grouse here is with the Flash Intro. Why?

The Flash Intro is outdated. If you use it, it means YOU are outdated.
Like I said, it’s a relic from the past. Nothing says how out of touch you are like asking for a Flash Intro (that and a web counter, but that’s another story for another day).

The Flash Intro is getting in the way of key information
Who wants to sit through a 10 second Flash Intro animation about how “dynamic” and “modern” your company is? I don’t even want sit through a single second. Me and 99% of other users will hit the “Skip Intro” button (if it is there to begin with). Users want information FAST and that Flash Intro is getting in their way.

The Flash Intro is poor value
Think about it, you have or your client has spent considerable amount of resources on a Flash Intro that no one ever bothers seeing. Is that value for money?

The Flash Intro is not cross-platform compatible
More and more people are accessing the Internet from smartphones, and Singapore is no exception. Across the sites we run, iPhones account for a good 10-15% of traffic. Flash does not run at all on iPhones. And even if they do, the large file size of the Flash Intro will increase loading time and result in poor user experience.

So think again
Really, the Flash Intro belongs to the Internet wastebasket. I cannot believe I’m still writing an article about it in this day and age. You would think that people are more literate by now.

Next time your client asks for a Flash Intro, tell him or her why it’s a bad idea. Better still, share this article with them.