Most companies these days have a web presence, but can you honestly say you’ve done everything you can to make your website as enticing to potential customers as you possibly can? Roger Taylor, Creative Director at Montpellier Creative looks at the pros and cons of animation used in web design and questions whether it really adds to the ‘stickiness’ of a site.

Your company website can offer a range of opportunities, the most important of which is the potential of hooking new clients. First impressions, as we’ve discussed in an earlier column, really do count – but once you have a ‘browser’ on your site how can you get them to stay and ultimately make that all-important contact with your company?

One great advantage of developing a website is the potential of offering browsers a more interactive experience with your company than traditional printed marketing material provides. With your audience and the message you wish to convey established, the design of the site can begin. Colour, graphics and content are all important, but what about the bells and whistles? How far should you take the extras?

Flash animation has, over the years, received a very mixed response. Largely due to designers using it just for the sake of it, the damage done to the software’s reputation, in many people’s eyes, is irreversible with the death knell being the lack of support on Tablet PCs and mobile devices for Flash content. For some, no website is complete without it, for others it’s nothing more than a pain. Understandably, no one wants to sit through a five minute, self-indulgent introduction to a site, but if it adds value to the experience and message it is the tool to be used.

Providing movement, sound and valuable interactivity, many argue that flash animation can breath essential life into an otherwise static and boring html site. Whether designing a new website or revamping an existing one, companies are able to entice and persuade browsers to find out more about their company with very sophisticated effects.

Initially the argument against flash was that people need a ‘plug-in’ to be able to view it. These days the number of people unable to view flash is minimal. Another disadvantage is that search engines are unable to pick up the text within a flash animation, but to be honest any key messages you are conveying can be echoed else where in the site.

As with anything, there are arguments for and against this rather dynamic method of communication, which allows you to shout about the benefits of your company in a phenomenally short space of time.

The development of animation has come a long way since flash and consequently its use should now be considered along with your target audience, key messages and use of other graphics that together will create the most dynamic site possible for your company.