Wow - I don't think we've ever published anything that got such fervent, lengthy, opinioned responses as this week's article, '80% of Consumers Hate Flash Intros' (link below.)
Some people thought the survey that generated the data was slanted or improperly created. Some felt that Flash is the greatest thing since sliced bread. And, many expressed joy that the Flash intro bubble was "popped."
While I don't think the survey was absolutely perfect, I also donít think its imperfections skewed results so profoundly that a different version would have had opposite results. (You can judge for yourself, we included a link to the original survey in the article below.)
I was also very surprised at the number of Flash intro supporters who wrote in. The fact that most Web users dislike intros is hardly new, or even big, news.
So, I contacted Macromedia - the makers of Flash - to see if they had any formal best practices or advice on Flash intros. Suzy Ramirez in the PR department sent me a link to a white paper called, "Flash: a New Hope for Web Applications" (link below.)
Despite the promo-sounding name, it's actually a fabulous paper with lots of useful screenshots and examples of how you can use Flash to make people love your site and your brand. I heartily recommend you download it.
But, it didn't have a specific rule about intros - so I called up the co-author of the paper, Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering, to ask, "Flash intros - good or bad?"
Jared said, "When we have clients who are thinking about Flash splash pages, we tell them to go to their local supermarket and bring a mime with them. Have the mime stand in front of the supermarket, and, as each customer tries to enter, do a little show that lasts two minutes, welcoming them to the supermarket and trying to explain the bread is on aisle six and milk is on sale today.
"Then stand back and count how many people watch the mime, how many people get past the mime as quickly as possible, and how many people punch the mime out.
"That should give you a good idea as to how well their splash page will be received. That's the crux of it."
However, Jared did add, if 100% of your site visitors are coming to learn one thing and one thing only from you, then a splash page might work. His example, "Michael Jackson's home page today could say 'I'm innocent of all charges,' and that would be it."
So, you heard it from a usuability expert that Macromedia themselves recommend. Flash intros are not wonderful.
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