Heal Your Church WebSite


Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Flashination : a pre-intro

Flashination is a term I give to (church) websites that seem to be overly fascinated with Macromedia Flash. It’s a toned-down version of a slightly-more ‘R’ rated term Vincent Flanders offers for said practice.

Regardless of what name this stinky petunia goes by, what many church web servants fail to realize is that “.. fancy media on websites typically fails user testing …” at least according to Jakob Nielsen’s recent AlertBox entitled “Low-End Media for User Empowerment.”

It’s not that Macromedia Flash itself is inherently evil, but that people, especially church people, seem to get carried away with shiney objects and flashing lights … which manifests itself on their church website in the form of useless splash pages, mystery meat navigation (MMN) and sin of all sins, replacing HTML altogether with Flash-only sites.

Or as the previously mentioned ‘Father Flanders’ put it in a recent compendium that includes some dastardly Flash implementations:

Using Flash as a replacement for HTML is like putting a Ferrari on the back of a flatbed truck and driving the truck. I don’t see much that wouldn’t be better with HTML.

I realize ’tis the season for youth ministry summer interns to turn your page into a multi-media extraveganza, but don’t do this. As Nielsen reminds us:

Simple text and clear photos not only communicate better with users, they also enhance users’ feeling of control and thus support the Web’s mission as an instant gratification environment.

Expect me to post some church web sites here in the near future where “Flashination ” is a problem.

3 Comments

  1. Those dasterdly youth interns! Always meddling!!!!

  2. Hey Dean, it would also be great if you could post up some sites that do have good examples of Flash usage. I’m sure that people would appreciate knowing what might constitute an acceptable level of integration into their site if they are to use it.

  3. It may not be a church site, explicitly, but I think Tooth & Nail do an exceptional job of combining HTML and Flash: http://toothandnail.com/. The only complaint, though, is that their nav bar is Flash and they don’t provide text links. This is an accessibility no-no. Some simple text links at the bottom of the page would make the site more accessible.