The Proper Use of Flash Headers

Flash will usually decrease your conversion rates

Executives love their sites to have flash headers. It looks cool. It looks like marketing is doing something. The problem is, a flash header can hurt engagement and conversion more than it helps.

The Triple Threat of Flash Headers

Flash banners are usually no more than cool images with “poser” slogans riding on top of them. They tend to focus on what’s good about the company and very little on solving the visitors’ problems.

Flash does draw the eye, and will be looked at by visitors. But, if the meat of your message is in the body of the page, this actually draws the reader away from the important stuff.

Tall flash banners also push your body content down, obscuring much of it below the fold.

This is the triple threat: irrelevance, distraction and obfuscation.

Proper Use of Flash

Flash is a great tool for communicating your message in seconds. It will appeal to short-attention-span visitors such as your Spontaneous and Competitive visitors. Images can reinforce brands quickly.

If you’re going to use flash on a page, it basically has to do the work of the whole page. This means you need to spend considerable time making sure that it will:

  • Explain your value to the visitor efficiently and completely
  • Provide a way to take action
  • Support the brand image that the rest of the site presents

Flash that Works

I’ve seen few flash headers that do this well. The Tumri home page is an exception. The motion in the flash presentation draws the eye. With just a few moments of watching, you get how their offering works at a high level. To the right of the “action” is a button enticing you to “Learn More.” This is a weak call to action, but at least it’s there. The flash presentation is tasteful and probably highlights products sold by Tumri’s target customers.

The proper use of flash headers

Tumri Flash Header.

Yes, their flash header pushes down the content, but there’s not much there of value to visitors below, just brochure copy, self-promoting icons and news about the company. In short, if it wasn’t for the flash header, this page would be an engagement disaster.

It takes time to use Flash as the super-communicating tool it can be. Don’t use it for “effect” or “image building.” When you do, you unleash the triple threat that will make Flash work against you.

Brian Massey
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