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|"Successful" Flash sites|
Know of any?
There tend to be some rather heated debates around here WRT the merits of Flash, should it be used, how should the engines deal with it, etc...
We know that clients want or demand it sometimes and for some sites it can be almost a necessity, game/gambling sites, site selling Flash design services, movie trailers, and sometimes as an accent or special feature like a desgn your own home, car, outfit, etc....
With the exception of the types of sites mentioned above, does anybody know of a "successful" site designed completely or primarily with Flash. By successful, I mean one that generates a positive ROI, has better than average (say 1.5%) conversion rates and/or accomplishes other real business objectives as opposed to just stroking the ego of the site owner? A site that really works when it comes to the bottom line.
|With the exception of the types of sites mentioned above, does anybody know of a "successful" site designed completely or primarily with Flash. By successful, I mean one that generates a positive ROI, has better than average (say 1.5%) conversion rates and/or accomplishes other real business objectives as opposed to just stroking the ego of the site owner? A site that really works when it comes to the bottom line. |
I think the wrong question has been put forward.
There are substantial merits for using Flash (or Shockwave as I do) but also substantial pitfalls.
I would say that designing a total site in flash would be likened to sending someone the software jewel case without the CD-ROM inside. It makes little sense since the jewel case does not demonstrate anything.
Flash by itself is terrible for developing awareness, and interest which is primarily what you get from a search engine.
Flash is a very powerful tool for motivating, demonstrating and educating someone but without that initial "awareness & interest" you indeed have a difficult time generating web site activity without cross channel or integrated marketing.
Static HTML on the other hand have enormous power for delivering "awareness & interest" and although may lack the dynamic abilities of Flash - these are search engines primary top ranked web sites and tend to make the markets live with "less capable" heavily static text, picture, graphics.
The compromise is obvious - both will work sustantially better then either or.
Therefore building Flash in chunks and within the normally static HTML enviroment is a far superior web site.
In retrospect - building a web sites navigation and usability features within Flash is not good optimal design in practice (thus the title question).
If Googlebot (or any other bot) cannot parse the link structure your web site is a single page and pretty much orphaned on the web - and google hates orphans (they have no outward visable theme and therefore less chance of every being an authority to a topical subject (from the bots perspective anyway). Placing a single standalone HTML web page pretty much produces the same results.
Your sites link hierarchy must be visably to googlebot and moreso - there is no benefit what-so-ever to having your link structure in flash - it adds nothing to the visitors experience (e.g. clicking on a button (flash or not) to turn a page is not: awe inspiring, thought provoking, there's no added value, no educational awareness - it's really not a "big event" where many designers pretend it is.
Case-in-point -- pick up an ordinary book - turn from page 1 to page 2 & page 2 to page 3 -- "was it mind-boggling"?
Using flash to demonstrate "mundane tasks" serves little purpose.
Using flash to demonstrate product/service value, product/service features, informative or educational value or research understanding makes your site successful, in more ways than one.
[edited by: fathom at 9:19 am (utc) on Feb. 3, 2003]
To me, Flash is the most wonderful piece of software in the world, and it can do things for your site and your business that you could never do without it. But unless your business is entertainment, creating a site entirely in Flash one of the dumbest things any designer could do. I don't have a single example of succesful Flash-only sites that did not have to do with entertainment or Flash design services...
Grand Hyatt Tokyo... I know the Bellagio in Vegas has a Flash site. just a couple off the top of my head, I'm sure if I did some digging I would find some more top notch sites from top notch companies.
Many mainstream band sites are completely Flash and they perform better than a static page would. To find successful Flash sites you need to find the audience that will warrant its use. The Entertainment industry is one of the largest.
I think Flash would be a obsticle for a lot of industry's sites. I wouldn't want to use an all Flash site for information and research topics.
I used to do web sites for a company that would use html sites for the search engines I would build flash sites to use with PPC.
I know for us the flash sites created more ROI on the PPC circuit then if a html site was used. But I agree with Fathom in moderation it can be the icing on the cake and many people have no idea how powerful flash and shockwave movies can really be.
To see a great example of what a flash site can do I'll see if I can get away with dropping a url. http*//www.whoswe.com
I am not affiliated with these guys in any wat - infact I know the guy from another forum and he is pretty full of himself. But some pretty amazing stuff none the less.
[edited by: korkus2000 at 3:29 am (utc) on Feb. 4, 2003]
[edit reason] delinked site [/edit]
|and they perform better than a static page would. |
In the context of being found and indexed by a search engine, unless you have WB,EMI,Virgin linking to you, you might as well build your site in a black hole.
Perhaps that's a repeat of what fathom already said, and said very well. Flash has it's place, no question.
I like John Coltrane's site. It's a pretty cool demonstration of multimedia integration that serves a purpose.
|With the exception of the types of sites mentioned above, does anybody know of a "successful" site designed completely or primarily with Flash |
A simple answer off the top of my head is "disney.com".
I don't think anyone's mentioned that one yet.
animgirl I think the site has a nice concept but it has real usability problems. Color contrast between text and background are to close. On top of that the text is way to small. I have excellent vision and it hurt to try and read it. I couldn't really get far because of that fact. I guess it looks successful because of the page rank. Maybe their clientel are just looking for stuff flying around and not real substance.
<added>Welcome to WebmasterWorld animgirl</added>
skibum I think that KevinC’s example demonstrated why more clients don't demand Flash!
KevinC said ... example of what a flash site can do I'll see if I can get away with dropping a url. http*//www.whoswe.com ...
Cigar intro page (with no instructions?). OK so we go up the IT literate ladder to the next step – Oh my mouse changed I must be able to click…
The design don’t work on a standard 800 * 600 screen I guess if you aren’t on broadband the site doesn’t even load, hey I guess the site only realises 15-20% of the intended traffic, blar, blar, blar. Ok it’s harsh but unless you are in the industry that site is just full of every mistake that “turns off” the average client.
Sorry mods hope these are allowed
IN 1999/2000 were a couple of companies whose work was exceptional and who (for the most part) really understand the end users perspective i.e. they produce exceptional work that “works” for even the most IT illiterate end user.
BTW I haven’t seen any of their work for a couple of years but today after checking their sites it was interesting to see that their main sites have gone from full blown (well thought out) flash interfaces to HTML with examples…
That said, I love Flash, used well in the right places for the right audience it’s a wonderful tool. Using it increasingly for standalone exes for demos, presentations… rather than on the web.
the 2advanced site:
"Color contrast between text and background are too close. On top of that the text is way to small."
I agree on that. But, that's veering off the subject. We're not talking color choices. Bad color choices are made on any type of site, and isn't relevant to the use of flash.
"I guess it looks successful because of the page rank."
I didn't see the page rank...
"Maybe their clientel are just looking for stuff flying around and not real substance."
You really don't like this site, do you? :^)
I'm thinking their clientel are looking for something to catch the user's eye, something new, different and original. Personally, when I visit this site, it grabs my attention better than any other HTML site I've seen. The interactivity is simple, but very catching.
I think the porfolio shows someone must be doing something right.
"I guess it looks successful because of the page rank."
The reason I said this is because I have never heard of them so I can't comment on success except for values I can see. It has good page rank so I assume it is successful.
Like I said in my original post I think it has a nice concept. I won't argue that at all. Its not that I don't like it, I just want to be able to move through the site easily. If the text were bigger, that alone would make the site so much stronger. I could use and read it much easier.
I agree it is very eye catching. I think thats what type of clients they are looking for, but it shows me only superficial web site design. I would not stay at the site if I was looking for web application design. It is a graphic designers dream site, but I don't see an overall implementation for the web. It is pretty though, just not very usable to me.
Yeah, I can agree with that.
"It is a graphic designers dream site"
Exactly both 2advanced and whoswe have HUGE cult followings of thousands of graphic designers. I know the guy who did 2advanced has appeared in many flash books and speaks at many conferences regarding the subject.
Though its highly unlikely that either will rank well in the SE's they do have their niche I believe. The simple fact that their site is even being discussed on one of the largest webmaster boards is probaly proof that they have a succesful site.
I am very sure that both of these companies have more work then a lot of web design companies and probaly get paid a lot more for an average job then most.
Some people need a station wagon some people need a race car.
I have a customer that has flash on their site, but not too much else gets listed other than the home page partly due to flash. It has its place, but none that I can pull off of the top of my head. Most of the sites suggested in this thread are slow loading, small text, annoying navigation, and its generally designed by someone who does not know what the customer needs. I dont see too many flash sites on google there are some but not as many as some would like.
Well to say that the guy who designed 2advanced doesn't know what he's doing is very bold. This is one of the most celebrated flash designers out there(although I can't remember his name). I don't think Bacardi would hire him if he didn't know what he was doing ;)
Sure he probaly doesn't know much about SEO - but then again he probaly doesn't need to. Most his work probaly comes from referals not from search engines - like most designers. I'm sure he couldn't care less what his Page ranks is. Even though if you look he has over 800 back links in google.
Different strokes for different folks ;) We all don't have the same needs.
|Most of the sites suggested in this thread ..designed by someone who does not know what the customer needs. |
It's one thing to disagree about the usability issues with Flash, but it's apparent that these particular designers, IMHO, are very aware of what the customers need.
Hillman Curtis, Eric Jordan, Brendan Dawes and Joshua Davis are all aware of what customers need. That would explain why they have designed for some of the largest companies in the world.
I guess it all depends on what the particular project requires and using the right tools to complete it. In many cases the right tool is Flash.
<aside> My contribution for "clever" flash use would be choppingblock.com </aside>
I think the point being made here is that what a customer wants and needs are usually two different things. I know many sites that get the traffic of these big Flash sites because the big brand doesn't rank well. Large corps are usually too arrogent to think people don't just know the brand and type it in directly.
I don't think these designers are not good at what they do, but all sites and designs can be made stronger. It is always good no matter who you are to reevaluate your design and marketing. I think a lot of these sites could be made stronger using a mix of technology and some usability testing.
I have designed sites for some fortune 500 companies. Does that make my choice of technology have anymore weight? All it says is that the salesmen were good. If all the graphic designers praise a site so what. I think what matters is ROI. Can these sites, except designers sites, proove that they had an increase in revenue for adding the site. I say with a Flash HTML mixed, usable, accessable, and SE freindly site will destroy an all Flash site in revenue generation any day. Of course this is all my humble opinion. :)
I like the choppingblock site, but again the words need to be bigger.
|I say with a Flash HTML mixed, usable, accessable, and SE freindly site will destroy an all Flash site in revenue generation any day |
<aside2> Nike.com is another good example </aside2>
Imho, unless you have a broadband connection (most ordinary folks don't) flash is too slow-loading. I always hit the "skip intro" button, because I want to get on with my life.
|you have a broadband connection (most ordinary folks don't) flash is too slow-loading. I always hit the "skip intro" button, because I want to get on with my life. |
If you group "all" Internet users together - this is correct, but "all" Internet users are not your target markets. Your most profitable customers tend to be those with larger disposable income, thus more likely broadband. Regardless research into your specific markets - is manditory for success.
"Flash navigation", and "Flash coolness" (or the moving crosshairs that zero in on an appearing piece of text or image -- does not signify "success".
To a web designer promoting Flash - this may indeed significantly increase "your sales" since you are appealing to the potential clients preceived needs. But the clients realistic needs are that of their markets - therefore Flash is not a given to designing for this specific person.
If you design - and you don't research the clients markets - you are designing for yourself -- not for the client.
The client: I need to sell widgets!
Designer: look what we can do with Flash!
The client: That'soooo cool! I want it!
Designer: that will be $....
The client: Great -- I'm going to make some big $$$$'s now!
And the client's markets:
I want to buy a widget.
I want to see, some features,
I want to know the benefits of buying this particular one,
I need some questions answered before I buy,
I want to know that if I have trouble the merchant is there for me,
I what to know the merchant will not share my personal information with anyone without my premission, etc., etc., etc.
If the client's client isn't looking for "Flash design" and the main features, and the primary benefit of the client's site is Flash...
You may indeed make a killing (and therefore successful)... but the client gets a lemon... and the client's markets go elsewhere.
Flash in this sense... doesn't make sense except to the designer.
I wan't to experience this widgit from 5000 miles away. I want to see this widget in 3 dimensions, I want to hear the sound this widget makes when I put it back into the widget bin. I want to know more about this widget than text and 2d pictures or even 3d still can show me. I am the kind of person who learns better by seeing, feeling, and manipulating an object. I am also a person who likes when a voice explains the widget to me while am manipulating it.
I want a richer experience than text offers me.
Noting the URL above...
|I wan't to experience this widgit from 5000 miles away. |
A picture in Flash that moves is the same as a static picture that doesn't.
|I want to see this widget in 3 dimensions |
The dimension may be important in some cases, but not all cases. A tube of lipstick is the same on all sides, and rarely are people interested in the bottom.
|I want to hear the sound this widget makes when I put it back into the widget bin. |
Oh really... and we all go to a "real" store to do the same thing. In reality this is design ego.
|I want to know more about this widget than text and 2d pictures or even 3d still can show me. |
I totally agree... but most Flash designs are more about "flashy", "cool", "eye-popping" gimmicks and alot less about building awareness and brand trust.
|I am the kind of person who learns better by seeing, feeling, and manipulating an object. I am also a person who likes when a voice explains the widget to me while am manipulating it. |
Sure I agree, me too, but when I am interested in a product or service I care less about the design features of the web site and more about the product/services features and benefits.
|I want a richer experience than text offers me. |
Not quite... the web site isn't normally about experience. People don't go to stores, simply to experience the store... they go the fill a need.
Products and services fill the need... not gimmicks.
Don't get me wrong, I design in Shockwave... both are fantastic tools to help reach and motive a market. But Flash/Shockwave designing is not marketing. Without specific knowledge to address a client's need (which is their market need) many designs are just flashy gimmicks.
[edited by: fathom at 7:10 am (utc) on Feb. 28, 2003]
You're making sweeping generalizations about people and applying it to a technology. You've been shown effective and interesting uses of flash and still maintain that it's snake oil that's only purpose is to make designers rich. Many people enjoy an "interactive television" like experience on the web. I do, you don't, no generalization is appropriate here. Your definition of what the web should be doesn't match with my definition. OK I get it, but you seem to discount that which isn't in alignment with your experiences and expectations. I'm not saying that occasionally flash is misused. Occasionally cars are misused, I don't discount their usefulness to certain segments of society.
It's a big web out there. Both of our visions can coexist, I promise.
|You're making sweeping generalizations about people and applying it to a technology. |
My last comment was a "sweeping generalization"... and agree. I apologize for the comment, and as such removed it.
Overall... Technology cannot replace the real thing... "just like being there"... is not "being there". Thus each time that we (including me) attempt to trivalize the act of shopping, (by adding "clank" (sorry :)- into the shopping cart), where the real person can not actually touch, feel the texture, smell, taste and totally examine the product (at face value) the perception is often mis-interpreted.
A monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse, in conjunction with an applet, that is... just an applet is no less and no more than text and images.
An applet can show more clarity, but it's not better at selling.
I have seen Flash movies embedded in car's detail pages that allowed me to change color and options and view it in different views. I wish I remembered the site. This was very effective. Since cars are such a high price item, people use the web to research the purchase.
I think it depends on the product, like I said way up this thread. Entertainment is the number one product that can benifit from Flash, but yes there are other products that can benifit. When I worked for the DSL division of the phone company I had to create a Flash app that let people find out if they were able to get DSL, and the integrity of the line compared to distance. It work very well using Flash because of the amount of screens that could be loaded once instead of click load, click load.
I don't think we need to look at lipstick from all sides, but then again I don't buy lipstick. I can't really judge what the common lipstick buyer wants. I think we have to let the requirements drive the technology and not the designer. I am a designer, and I like really slick sites, but it is not about what I like, but what is needed to complete the projects requirements. I can tell you that there are many requirements online where Flash is the best fit. The problem is there are also many cases where Flash has been used and it is contrary to the requirements.
You want a really bad site, try the [boeing.com...] site. I tried to convey to the person in charge what a bad user interface choice that was.
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