|Better banners to reduce the page size|
My website is too big, our space is advertising-heavy and despite valiant attempts to hold the line our advertisers want animation. At this point my page is 235K!
There is a long-held resistance in my firm to Flash, which is one way I know of to reduce the page size. The resistance is based on the perception that many of our users can't view Flash ads.
Is this true? Pro-flash people tell me that if you make Flash that is compatible with Flash 3 or 4, that this is not a problem, because the vast majority of users have browsers capable of viewing without upgrade. He says that the people who recieve the errors about Flash are viewing Flash 6 product and merely need to *upgrade* their browsers.
This is strictly for simple banners, no interactivity, no pop-ups, no huge intros.
The questions are:
Would I have a smaller site if I used Flash instead of .jpg?
Am I going to lose a lot of visitors if I switched to Flash?
Is there another way to reduce my overall page size. We work hard to optimize the files and everything.
P.S. Some incompetent searching of both this site and the Web for info on the accessiblity of Flash and using Flash to reduce your file size has turned up nada. Any stickys pointing to good info about this would be appreciated.
I am not sure what exactly you have on your page to make it 235K but from my experience:
-more than 98% surfers has some flash pluging installed
-using flash for JPG images does not decrease overall file size.
If you use animated Gifs for your banners, switching to flash can bring significant reductions.
One more note unlike GIF or JPG, flash streams data so it starts displaying when data for couple of first frames is downloaded - that can minimise initial data download.
Well, not only can many of your visitors not view the ads, but your visitors who don't have flash installed or who have manually uninstalled flash (as I have in the past) will get a console asking if they want to install Flash every single time they visit your site. That gets old real fast. I wish the websites that DO use Flash ads would set them to not loop forever. It's pretty annoying to be trying to read an article and out of the corner of your eye is this animation that never stops. My $.02. I might not be typical.
lukasz: the sobering truth of the matter is that the 235K is almost all advertising. Our customers are accustomed to competing with each other in the same venue, both in person and in print for a relatively small pool of customers placing big orders, so the tendency runs very much to flashy, attention getting ads.
Much like one would suspect, our own site data shows us that text ads are easily the most effective, but only a few customers believe what our numbers tell us, the rest are adamant that banners are the way to go.
This is not a bad problem to have :) but we really are caught in a situation where we would love to reduce the page size but trying to change by policy the page size (reducing the amount of banners or restricting the size further) would in all likelihood take some revenue out of the system permanently. This is not going to be approved, even if it is wise to do so--I think there's something to the argument that even if the large page size cripples the site, we are quite successful with this formula right now and attempt to change it should be viewed with suspicion.
Hugh: Although I don't blame your stance on Flash, I am not particularly worried about customers who have manually uninstalled it. I think that's a small number. What I am trying to figure out is the situation on PC's. I have a Flash proponent telling me that almost all PC's will browse Flash 4 or Flash 3 created graphics without a need for upgrade. My own tech support experience says I have to install Flash almost immediately on every browser that I install on a desktop. But 1) I'm on a Mac and 2) the proponent says that's because people are viewing graphics created with Flash 6 and so it needs a new plug-in.
That's a good question and, honestly, I'm not sure. I was researching it myself out of curiosity and found something that might further complicate your problem (do a google news search for +"Flash" +"Internet Explorer" and read the Forbes article about the recent Eolas ruling).
I don't know who your target audience is for your site. If it's the general public, the majority are still on dialups with the exception of Korea. For them, 235K per page is way too large.
I'm not a flash programmer but the majority of visitors who come to my site do have the plugin. Probably most browsers do. If you start up ads that flash and jump around though, I think it will make people leave or turn off the plugin. I've done that myself. Animated ads make it hard to read and are so '90'ish.
>>Would I have a smaller site if I used Flash instead of .jpg?
Well designed Flash, yes!
>>Am I going to lose a lot of visitors if I switched to Flash?
As long as you do not use the latest plug in, probably not! Your stats package may tell you.
However, the reservation I have is, that Flash is processor hungry and once you ad 5+ flash banners you may find the end user machines start to grind to a halt.
|>>Would I have a smaller site if I used Flash instead of .jpg? |
Well designed Flash, yes!
Could you please elaborate a bit about that.
If the Home Page in your profile is the problem then the cause is "Extravagance".
Animated gifs are repeated on the page but by using different file names each time is responsible for about 30% of your wastage. Also your html file at 46k is over large and could be drasticaly reduced by the use of css introducing classes instead of font tags etc and positional css could eliminate most of your <table> <tr> and <td> tags. Plus simple image optimisation could also contribute more savings.
You could go a long way towards more economic page design by visiting nicks css forum.
I think given a couple of hours I could cut your 235k in half or better.