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Of course, Flash can be used as a way to present content—words, both printed and recorded, and pictures that actually illustrate something. But more often, it is used to impress. And most often, it ends up annoying. Who wants to spend better part of a minute waiting for a rotation of generic pictures of smiling models?
Special Effect that Bombs Number 2: Splash Screens
You type in duracell.com expecting information on batteries—which you will find, if you have patience not to hit “back” button while site shows a picture of a battery revolving painfully slowly.
On http://www.mcdonalds.com you're met with pictures of happy children playing with Ronald McDonald and a menu to select what country you're from.
Johnson's and Johnson's web site shows a logo before automatically redirecting you to main page—that is if it doesn't crash your browser first (which happened when author tried to access page on May 2, 2004 ).
Another way big consumer corporations' web sites from Schick to Mercedes-Benz to Thomas Cooke waste your time with splash pages is by making you choose what country you're visiting from. This could have been detected automatically, or at least, useful worldwide content could have been placed on homepage, with an option to choose a country prominently displayed.
Splash pages are internet equivalent of making patrons wait in line out front before letting them inside. Unless a site belongs to a night club or a professional services firm with too much business, keeping people outside can't be a good idea.
Special Effect that Bombs Number 3: Overbuilt or Badly Built “Dynamic” Functionality
Every web surfer has a story about a shopping cart that malfunctioned just when they were about to click “purchase” on something they really wanted. Or a detailed form that lost all information after “submit” button was pressed.
Sometimes, malfunctioning dynamic content can distort way an entire site presents itself. If dynamic content is so complex that it presents problems for many users, it is unlikely dynamic content is worth it. When I visited disney.com in May 2004, my first greeting was a message that your computer is sufficiently up-to-date (or not) to handle site.
In short, you may want your small or medium-sized business to get as big as Coca Cola or Disney, but you'll never get there if your website looks like theirs do.
[Formatting: for web, please use "website content writer" as the link's anchor text (visible link text)] Joel Walsh's business, UpMarket Content, lets him partner with web designers and other creative people, as a website content writer: http://UpMarketContent.com