Coolness Has its Price

By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur magazine|May 1, 2010

There’s no doubt about it: Websites designed in Flash are cool. They’re animated, interactive, multimedia eye candy. You see it, and you want it. Unfortunately, coolness has a price, and if a web designer sells you on Flash, you will be paying that price from Day One and for every second your site is live.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs of incorporating Flash in your website design and user interface:

Development cost. Flash development is highly specialized and costs significantly more than standard website development. (As a rule of thumb, Flash will end up costing you 50 percent to 100 percent more than HTML or JavaScript programming on an hourly basis.) In addition, any content updates require a call to the Flash developer, who may not be readily available at the time.

Speed. Flash sites are s-l-o-w. Just visit one to see for yourself. Typically, a Flash site takes about two to 10 times longer to load than a comparable standard website. Even worse, users must wait for the intro to fully load. Waiting runs counter to the on-demand expectations of web users.

Accessibility. Many web users have no access to the Flash plugin. Build a site entirely in Flash, and you instantly block access to smartphones, web TV users and some corporate users accessing the web from behind a firewall.

Usability. Users who do not have the Flash plugin or disable Flash in their browsers cannot navigate the site.

Perception of relevance. Flash sites are often perceived to be…

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