FlashBang: Or how to hide from search engines

FlashBang is probably going to become one of the popular extensions to Dreamweaver MX, it allows for adding navigation elements (menus, buttons, pause/play controls etc). to web pages, but it could also become a tool to hide from search engines. An effect I doubt the creators either thought of or intended and I know a lot of its users will be equally ignorant to the problems and invisibility it will bring upon them.

Now, Dreamweaver MX already has the evil of Flash menus and text implemented, and allows for generation of SWF for your web site. How that can be misused has been discussed in detail on Flazoom.com, case in point was the use of Dreamweaver MXs “Flash text” feature in a site map over at Time Warner Cables corporate site.

It might be that eye-candy and other such “subtleties” is necessary to sell software to the general public, but I still think that it should be required to add big warning messages to stupid evil functions such as the Flash menu/text in Dreamweaver MX, and programs such as FlashBang.

So why the need for warnings and why is it evil to add a little Flash to a site? Well, as I have already mentioned – the regular Joe/Jane Schmo don’t understand that putting all your navigation in Flash leads to two rather serious problems:

  1. Search engines will have a harder time following your links, and indexing his/her site. Which in turn leads to less traffic to the site, and making it harder for any possibly usable information to propogate to the search engines.
  2. Users without Flash won’t have access to your site. Case in point, the FlashBang web site, which – without Flash, doesn’t allow any possible customers access to the order page without Flash. (Yes, I know its a bad example, since most of the people coming there probably will be Flashers on their way to get a cool new toy).

[Via JD on MX]

6 thoughts on “FlashBang: Or how to hide from search engines”

  1. they all will be getting their comeuppance. rubbish flash-gimmicks will not come into engines indices – and thererfore such sites will die the death of loneliness.

  2. Was something I noticed before when I had a Flash Tree with all of my links to articles that I had written, and sites that I frequented. Noone seem to see that I linked to anyone, as a result of the engines not seeing me linked to others.

    One day perhaps, Search Engine Flash Friendliness will come to the rescue here :) (though how I do not even want to speculate yet)

  3. Actually, as one of the developers of FlashBang!, we are aware of the issue with search engines as well as other accessibility concerns. On my to-do list is an article on design considerations when using FlashBang! or other Flash navigation. One of my recommendations is to maintain alternative text links in keeping with Section 508 as well as search engine compatibility. What else would you recommend?

  4. Dreamweaver is mostly used by beginners. It’s the easiest way to get an own Homepage. Fine!!

    But these users don’t care about usability of there websites. First priority, the site has to be good looking! … So it’s dangerous to provide a tool for a functionality which should be used with care!

    > Search engines will have a harder time following your links

    It’s more! Search engines are not able to follow flash-links.

    And, I want to add one expected problem:

    3.) Users with slow connections may be annoyed because of loading times… and may cancel the loading, if it needs to much time (and may never come back)!

  5. couldnt agree more, flash is an amazing tool, it has revolutionised the web, those of you that dont think so simply dont know what you are on about. take a look at http://www.2advanced.com, then come back.

    accesibility is an issue and it is one which has been taken on board by flash, if not fully by developers….

    the main problem that search engines will have to encounter over the next few years is all the crappy websites that are databases of information hence becoming crappy search engines themselves, with endless links to crap.

    anyway, flash is here to stay, get onboard, learn how to implement it into your sites, learn how it can be used with php, coldfusion, asp, etc etc, and when you have exhausted its endless possibilities come back and moan.

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