Are Flash Websites Good for Restaurants?

Adobe Flash’s days as a platform for websites are nearly over, which is good news for restaurants. When we say Flash, we are referring to Adobe’s multimedia creation (which does video, music and animation) for websites that can work inside a page or be the entire page.

Website Made From Flash: Number Days

Websites made entirely of Flash were never a good fit for restaurants. They are slow to load. The fancy animations that come before you get to the website frustrate restaurant customers. It isn’t SEO-friendly as all the text appears in images and not in the coding. Therefore, Google cannot read the text and this hurts a restaurant’s search results. But more importantly, Flash is now becoming even less and less desirable as more options are available in website design.

At this point, a designer who advocates a Flash website is looking to charge you more or has no sense of the online marketing situation of restaurants. It is harder to build a Flash website and takes a more advanced sense of design (both coding and visual), but that does not make it better (or even worthwhile).  Sure, animations look nice but customers come to restaurant websites for information (like menus, hours, directions, images) or to do something (make a reservation, place an online order). I don’t want 10 seconds of load time. And I want to be able to use my mobile phone without a hassle.

Flash Inside HTML websites: Uncertain Future

We are fans of Flash inside HTML websites. Flash is great for slideshows (which don’t take much time to load). When Flash is in the background of an HTML site, it normally does not get in the way of the content nearly as much. One click and a customer can get to the reservation. One click and the customer can get directions or see a Map. Also, the links are not buried in pictures.

In the future, Flash may not be even necessary for slide shows, etc. HTML 5 (the partially complete HTML of the future) is catching up daily in providing some functions (such as basic animations) associated with Flash. HTML 5 is much more compatible with different platforms (iPhone and Android) and drains less resources. However, an HTML 5 site isn’t permission to make something fancy.

HTML has always been the preferred format for restaurants. If you took HTML of 2008 and compared it to current Flash, HTML would still be superior for restaurant websites. It is easier to code in HTML, but HTML, like Flash, needs to be put in the right designer’s hands to make it attractive and easy-to-use. And HTML can achieve the same level of branding.

Restaurant owners, understandably, are proud of their business and want their website to be impressive. But real business is based on customers getting to the right information fast. You may have to compromise the lavishness, but you can create a fantastic website Flash-free without compromising your brand and business.