Digital Marketing Flash

Flash in the future

People are starting to steer away from using flash in their websites and I think this is STUPID. We’re in the middle of an information revolution and Flash is one of our more advanced tools for making this happen. I think websites should use flash, as long as they do it right.

First off, people believe that flash is SEO unfriendly. Let me clarify, it’s flash developers who make their flash SEO unfriendly. Their are multiple ways to make entire websites in flash and Search engines can and will index them accordingly. One way of doing this is by using Geoff Stearns’ swfObject javascript. You just link to the main javascript file in the page head, and then call the function at the point on the page where you want your Flash movie to replace the default content. It makes it so users who don’t have Flash never even have to know that they’re missing something. Of course you have to make sure you have the content both on your site and in the flash movie.

Another method is by just loading the content from a separate XML. Voila, now Google can index your site.

So here is my extra two cents about the future of flash. I believe developers need to start using flash to its full interactive capabilities. By engaging the user you are more likely to entertain their presence on your site for longer and increase the productivity of your site. This can be done with interactive calendars, appointment booking systems, forums and blogging tools, Content Management Systems and whatever else your mind can conceive. The idea is to take everyday tools in life or software on your desktop and make them accessible online from anywhere via your website.

Another method of engagement, and sometimes a little harder to pull off, is personalization. Maybe a non intrusive way of using flash to make the website “Theirs”. This is is being used more and more in the marketing world and can open many doors to client/company relations. For example you can display text dynamically in your flash movie according to the date/time, the users location, or even their name. You could take it farther if somehow you could get information about the user before they even came to your site. Maybe you had them fill out a discrete form on one page to access private content, then on another page the possibilities are endless.

I guess people have been doing these things for awhile i just believe they haven’t been done right or creative enough. Engage your user and give your site functionality. Surprise them with what your site can do that others cant. PUSH FLASH TO ITS LIMITS. I don’t mean kill the users CPU. I mean be clever. Their was a pretty cool book put out awhile ago by O-Reilly called Flash Hacks that kind of gave me a glimpse into how flash can be manipulated to do cooler things. If you haven’t already, also look into AMFPHP, SWFObject and SWFAddress. All will make your flash experience 10 times better. One more thing you should remember. Flash or no flash your site should be accessible. Check out What The Law Says About Accessibility of a website and go for it.

So that’s all i have to say about that for now. Ill be the guy with the personalized flash logo.

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