Why "Skip Intro" buttons exist on flash-animated website homepages.

  Why -Skip Intro- buttons exist
  About the author:
   Tim Horton-Brown, HKR is the Chief Technical Officer for VectorInter.Net.
   His first website design was for
www.Dancing Elephants in Pink TuTus.com.
This is one of several reasons why the art department, and not engineers, make the design decisions about client websites.
   This addition to the VectorInter.Net newsletter archive is from a longer keynote "Welcome" given during a industry conference in the Late '90's.
   Further questions about this article can be sent to CTO@VectorInter.Net.
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This newsletter was originally delivered as part of a web site developers conference in 1994 and 1995, again in 1996, then -1997.... We noticed a pattern. Every time any new technology, graphics, visual effects or animation comes along, it is over-used by early adoptors. This page is a reminder to web developers and designers that "Less is More"

    Good Morning and Welcome.[edit]..so before we get started, Let me mention a discomforting trend I see.... the trend of "websites with too much". You know what I mean. Too much color, too much animation, too many moving GIF images, just too much. I collectively call these effects "dancing elephants in pink tutus, in dis-honor of a website that thankfully no longer exist. The point I want to stress here today is "Use restraint"  !!!    Less really is more in your website designs. Iím told that these points are repeated, and repeated in art design classes. Well, too many students were skipping class! Some web designers must be paid on "per animated GIF" basis. Others think that they must use every trick they know, on every page they write.
      Are you annoyed with the animation on this page yet?
The web site www.Dancing-Elephants-in-pink-tutus.com really did exist in the early-1990's as new web browser technology began to allow for the introduction of "plug-ins". These new developments started us on the road to "multi-media" web sites. This obviously, stupid web site was created in a futile attempt to demonstrate why "too much" animation was undesirable. Unfortunately no one "got the joke", and the web site became popular !!   There is no accounting for taste. My friend Graham, lives "down under" and works for Vector/Australia. He said -Don't forget the Aussieís-, so the -hopping Ďroo- is for him. Contrary to rumor, There are no plans for www.Hopping-'Roos-in-pink-tutus.com

    I want to encourage you to stand up for "simple", "clean " and "elegant" web page designs. Be the design professional that helps educate clients about the downsides that come with embracing the dancing elephants in pink tutuís. I understand your situation. I really do. A new client sees a "cool" effect on another websites and feels overwhelmingly compelled to have you add "something just like that" to their site. Most frequently, the "something like that" is an elaborate animated "flash intro" page. Those things really set me off. Who is the genius that thought these time-wasters were a good idea?   Did someone hold a meeting and decide ......"and when our customer visits the website, lets require them to waste 20 or 30 seconds to show that our website designer is the next Fellini or Louie B Mayer." Itís almost like an Email virus. This trend spread from website to website, each web site designer trying to outdo the others. Do you want to sit through the same old intro EVERY time you visit your favorite website? NO ! If you donít want to see it over and over and over, then donít do it to your clients customers. Yes, I know that most sites have a skip intro button. Thatís the headline of my speech today. The reason skip intro buttons were created is that nobody wants to sit thru these exercises in your design ego. 

    At the minimum, donít we as the "Internet experts" and graphic designers have it backwards? If clients really insist on these mini-movie ego boosters, shouldn't we make them optional? We use the "opt-in" rules in e-mail newsletters. Customers make a decision to give us their E-dress, in exchange for the newsletter information. Why not make your animated intro a choice or option on the home page. Put a button on the home page that says "Click here to see our really neat and informative animation." The problem then becomes making the animation interesting, informative or worth the effort to watch it. These "intros" should have been designed this way from the start..... or never included in the design plan.

    Being repetitive and annoying, is the least of the problems that you create for your clients with the indiscriminant use of these specialized programming tools. I'm both a hardware and a software engineer. Let me give you an embarassing practical reason why you should be careful with cutting edge design tools. In the earliest days of Macromediaís "Flash" software, there was a high percentage of browsers that couldnít display the animation at all. It was as high as 85% for a while, but has fallen dramatically with the wide spread adoption of faster computers connected to DSL/cable modems in the home. There are still a significant number of browsers in use that still donít support it, especially outside North America. These are customers your clients want to do business with...... and they canít display the website on their computer. That statistic should scare you. Even today, One in 20 computers in the USA canít view a "Flash site" at all. The statistics get worse elsewhere. One in 12 Australian computers, 10% of the computers in the EU and one in eight in the rest of the world can't see these animations. Macromedia's "Flash" isnít the only high-tech offender. Itís just the most common and easily recognizable example. The use of ActiveX, Java applets, dHTML, XML and other useful web page building software can turn away your client's customers, frustrated, because they are un-able to see what you have promised them. 

    If you have a valid reason to use animation tools, I encourage you to go ahead. These programs can be wonderfully helpful in communicating information, just don't over do it. Be thoughtful and purposeful in the use of any new or leading edge software. Any program requiring a software download or a browser plug-in modules will drive a percentage of your web site traffic away. Ask your client or web site development team if the reward is going to compensate for the risk of losing some viewers.

[edit]... so before we hear from our 1st speaker,[edit]. That's all I have for now. When I started today, I ask you to stand up for "simple", "clean" and "elegant" web page designs. You must do a better job of explaining to your clients why "less is more". That's my message to start your day. Thank you for your time. Now, Let me introduce......

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