What is with clients and Splash Pages/Flash Intros?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by torndownunit, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #1
    It's a Rhetorical question I guess, but just thought it would be an interesting discussion.

    A lot of my less web savvy clients seem fascinated with having the Splash Pages or Flash Intros. Which I think are just about the most useless thing ever. Beyond that there are plenty of technical reasons I read on this site not to use them to really hammer the point home.

    It's usually fairly easy to talk them out of it. I just ask "Have you ever watched one of those intros, or do you hit the skip button?" . I think I have only ever had one person say they watch them. For me, I can't find the skip button fast enough in most cases.

    I am just always curious what the fascination is.

    To anyone who DOES like to implement them on sites, what do you think the benefits are? Or in a lot of cases, is it a clients request for you as well?
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #2
    No benefit except for wasting bandwidth or people's time.

    People usually think "features" instead of "usability".
     
  3. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #3
    I agree, as I think nearly any web developer would, that they're utterly useless, and in most cases for a commercial site highly counterproductive--you're more likely to lose customers than gain them.

    I think the fascination comes from the idea of "sizzle" (ie they are imagining a magazine full-page ad or a TV commercial) and/or the concept of a sort of captive audience. That is, they've got a concept (store, whatever) that they want to sell to viewers, and having a splash/flash intro page makes them feel like the viewer is going to get the "full experience" as intended. The time to take in the spiel of how cool their idea is, basically.

    I don't think it occurs to them that people usually fast forward past commercials and the only person who's going to think it's cool is the one who already likes the company and idea; the vast majority of viewers want to see content, right now.
     
  4. amoun macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    #4
    When i get these sort of requests i do them but i usually try to convince the client to let me set a cookie so the visitor only needs to see it once at their first visit. This usually is ok with them. I also try to recommend that there is some sort of function to the page. ie set language or whatever seems appropriate.

    But i hate them too.
     
  5. MacSociology macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    Battleground Europe?!
    #5
    Well, I usually just hit the back button instead. The website has to be something special to make me want to go further if meet a splash page.

    PS: I will also usually hit the back button if the webside is a flash site.
     
  6. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #6
    Yep, I can't be doing with those either. 99% of the time they are badly designed and just look good. They have no real functionality at all.
     
  7. torndownunit thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #7
    Ya that is another good point. I pretty much leave the site as soon as I see anything on the screen with a Flash "% load time" dialog.
     
  8. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #8
    Flash + low end computer = choppy video. I disable flash because it just is annoying. AD's, 100% CPU usage shortened battery life is all the reasons to disable flash. YouTube is the only site flash is not disabled on. I hate flash.
     
  9. NXTMIKE macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    Hmmm, my site is flash based and had a simple splash page up until last week, the splash page has been removed. The reason I had the splash page is to warn people of having Flash installed and a couple quick links to other parts of my site, but I have deemed it useless, just like I should of from the beginning.

    The reason why my site isn't entirely html or css is because at the time I had little to no knowledge of coding, and even though I have learned some more basic coding, web development is not my interest.

    But so far, the Flash site is serving me and others well, to my knowledge.
     
  10. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #10
    I too look for a Skip button if the site gives me an intro. Sites that play music without asking get the Back button treatment, and sites that play video ads are even worse, particularly when using a tethered cellphone connection that's charged by the MB!
     
  11. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #11
    I look for a self destruct button. Unfortunately, I never find one on such sites.
     
  12. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #12
    Wow, web developers are such close minded people.

    Lets look at this from a marketing stand point.

    1. Splash pages can be made to display sales or clearance items.
    2. Also for training sites it gives people a way to place a trainer on the front page people can identify with.
    3. If made correctly they are great source of entertainment and can drive traffic to the site.

    When asking these questions you are getting a hand full of answers from people in the web development business. Look at it from a marketing stand point and you will see the advantages.

    Web developers are normally very different people.
     
  13. MacSociology macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    Battleground Europe?!
    #13
    Do you have any statistics that would confirm these claims?
     
  14. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    Here's a nice write-up of why not to use splash pages, but also covers some times its fine to use them. I especially found this reason to use one comical:
    Here's another write up that covers a lot of the same from above, but pretty well written.
     
  15. torndownunit thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #15
    Again, ask a typical web viewer if they view these pages though. As mentioned, though my clients first inclination is to put them on their site If you ask them if they ever view those pages they say no. If you ask them if they usually skip them as quick as they can, they do. As much as a 95% average of people I have dealt with say the same. Not only are they not developers, for a lot of them their only computer 'skill' is browsing web sites and checking their email.

    I just don't agree that it's a designer bias. I am sure a lot of them end up being used for designers to 'show off' rather than customer request in fact.

    All the points you made above can still apply to a home page with the normal site navigation on it. It doesn't need to be setup as a Splash page, except for maybe point 3. And as the thread points out, there are very valid reasons NOT to use point 3.
     
  16. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #16
    Splash screens are probably the single worst marketing method available to website owners / ecommerce stores.
     
  17. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #17
    www.disney.com starts with a splash page and it's one of the largest carts in the world and the company is worth 600 billion

    www.ilm.com the largest video fx company in the world. Owned by George Lucas. Worth Billions

    www.skysound.com the Largest Sound fx company in the world. Owned by George Lucas. Worth Billions

    http://www.dreamworks.com/ Major motion picture distributor and post production company owned by Steven Speilberg

    Pixelmagicfx.com large post production for movies like 300, fantastic four, Live free or die hard.

    http://www.seaworld.com/ americas largest aquatic animal theme parks!!!

    I guess all these major corporations worth billions of dollars are wrong!!!!

    hmmmmm Enough Said
     
  18. torndownunit thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    #18
    Disney opens up a front page with navigation. Dreamworks has an intro page to their 2 different divisions. I don't really count those as a 'Splash Page'. I haven't looked through the others, but I think you definition of a Slash Page differs from mine. I am talking about a media show or image with no navigation, or no content. Just something that wastes your time getting to the content. Neither of those 2 links really do that.
     
  19. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #19
    Let's be clear, when there is nowhere else to go, and the company hosting the site is large enough and as well known, users will endure such things as a splash page. That does NOT justify the usage.

    We all know designers create fancy opening splash pages for movie promotion, plus the others you mentioned. However, they are well established businesses where name recognition allows users to type in the company name as domain name or find the top hit via a simple keyword (like "disney", "ilm", "skysound", "dreamworks", "pixelmagic" or "seaworld") so there are no real issues with search engine optimization (SEO) - the number one technical reason NOT to implement a splash page. We could spend hours debating other points raised, but SEO is not philosophical so I want to veer this entire topic back to why good DEVELOPERS know better, from our perspective.

    For not as well known sites, as I've said many times, SEO is greatly diminished because search engines no longer index on just the meta sequences such as keywords, description etc., but actual content. And as we know, it doesn't work well with Flash, isn't efficient for graphics even with the alt tag, and splash pages with alot of text are NOT called splash pages so the usual "promotion" oriented splash page isn't indexed as well as a content rich home page.

    Let me say that again - the usual "promotion" oriented splash page isn't indexed as comprehensively as a content rich home page. If anyone dare start listing exceptions, such as comprehensive pages listing tons of content such as sales items, lists, detailed features and includes ANY navigation beyond "skip this" or "HTML version" or "Enable Audio" etc. --- is NOT a splash page and nobody here is complaining about that.

    Definition of a splash page from whatis.com:

    We're NOT talking about #2 here, my whole previous paragraph was to distinguish that key point.

    Now let's put this issue to rest - traditional splash pages are not recommended if you want to promote your site and you're not one of the big companies where name recognition supercedes their own web presence. JEEESH.

    -jim
     
  20. lindsayanng macrumors 68000

    lindsayanng

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    East Haven, CT
    #20
    I just refuse to it to when a client asks, and i ALWAYS tell them exactly why.. i do NOT do all flash websites and I have never created a website with a splash page.. and I have never had a client INSIST on it after I explained Search Engine Optimization to them.

    Once you tell them that they will have to do a BUTT LOAD of work in order to get to the top of google for their target keywords (lots and LOTS of quality backlinks and TIME) they usually say "OK.. forget it"

    HOWEVER, you can still give them the flash WOW that they want when the visitor enters a site.. just.. PUT IT ON THE MAIN PAGE.. create your little flash move and plop it right there in the dead center of the main page. SImple as that!

    This way the customer gets the fancy BANG that they want, and you get to avoid using a splash page..

    Same goes for flash websites. I don't do them, and when i explain why, they are all for it.. instead I use other things to make it LOOK like it could be flash.. theres lots you can do with javascript and CSS that make it LOOK fancy without loosing the SEO. obviously its not AS fluid as flash, but you can still put flash ELEMENTS in your website to maintain the feeling people want.

    If you word your reasons properly, and explain to them EXACTLY why, and tell them off the bat that you just DONT do them, they WILL understand. I have never had someone insist once i tell them the other options and why its bad.
     
  21. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #21
    Part II of my last response - stats, you asked for 'em

    Found some statistics, too...

    "...in some studies 25% of visitors left a site right after seeing a splash page." SOURCE

    "Some sites that have tried splash pages found that more than 25% of their visitors left the site immediately. These statistics have lead many organizations to ban them." SOURCE

    "This is just a fraction of SPLASH page problems ... Have you looked at the latest stats showing the over 80% of users use search engines (specific keywords) to find what they are looking for (even if they know the url)? How many times have you Googled a wesite whose URL is familiar to you?" SOURCE

    Finally, the W3C's accessibility draft guidelines 2.0 states in section 3.2 (Emphasizing Structure) that splash pages are examples of presentations that are classified as "non-normative". This means non-typical, not ideal and does not follow the standard model. It's an important distinction, right off the bat. This is not a stat, but clearly lets developers know they are not following standard models of presentation of content in accessibility situations which developers need to account for and should not be dismissed from this conversation. Oh, for those not familiar with the W3C, this is the top level organization that creates the web standards used by developers for their craft. One should not simply "dismiss" - it's probably the #1 reason not to do a splash page right there. We've already discussed the "why" ad nauseum.

    -jim
     
  22. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #22
    That's not a splash page that is stupidity on the developers side.
     
  23. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #23
    Actually that is exactly what a splash screen is and is evident from some of the examples you yourself posted.

    Or are you saying that some of the examples you posted to show how splash screens are a good idea are really just an example of developers stupidity?
     
  24. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    Then you're using a different definition (though not a wrong definition) of a splash page than the rest of the people here, which is what some people were trying to get across.
     
  25. techfreak85 macrumors 68040

    techfreak85

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Places
    #25
    well im glad im not the only one that is bugged by them. :D
    they seriously make me not wanna go to their sites anymore.:rolleyes:
     

Share This Page