The use of special effects on web pages has literally exploded. Special effects are used either to draw potential client’s attention to a web site or to show off technical expertise. However, many web site designers, graphic designers, and programmers, or HTML “newbie’s” often use special effects without considering how their target audience will react to them. Ultimately, using advanced technology can alienate the very customers designers are trying to attract because they want their web site to look “cool.”
BEFORE you add any special effects to your web site, especially your home page, is your site easy to read, easy to navigate, easy to find, consistent/coherent in design, and quick to download? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then adding special effects to your web site can be a good idea.
Special effects add to a web site’s download time, and you don’t want potential customers clicking off your site before viewing its content because you wanted “cool” effects on your web pages.
Some special effects require a plug-in. Here’s a typical scenario. Let’s say that some of your visitors do not have the plug-in required to hear the sound. Again, before they see the content of your site, they’re probably going to see a pop-up asking them if they want to download the plug-in. Do you want your potential customers to see that pop-up right away? Or do you want them to see your products and/or services that they are searching for? If visiting your site means potential clients will have to download a plug-in first in order to view your site, products and/or services, they will probably continue to navigate your site. It means that you were thinking more of your corporate image than of your potential customers.
Some special effects, such as animation and music, might be cute and impressive at first. However, after the initial impact, it can become irritating. So irritating, in fact, that some people actually unplug the speakers to their computers.
To show design, technical, or programming talent, we recommend dividing your site into individual pages that showcase one particular talent per page. Doing this can greatly increase your pages’ download speed, and your visitors will know what to expect when they go to a special effects page. An added bonus to this layout is that you can code (meta-tag, descriptive titles, etc.) and promote each talent page differently (i.e. emphasis on different keywords), possibly resulting in better, targeted traffic to your site.