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To Splash or Not To Splash

There are a growing number of voices on the internet saying that a splash screen is a bad idea and it is better to get right to the site rather than prime them with some awsome multimedia.

I looked around at the 'Best of the Web' sites and I'd say that only about 30% have splashes.

Any opinions on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

When it comes to the web, I think splash screens are a stupid idea. One of the worst aspects of the web is waiting to get to content. This is built in, even with broadband. If you throw up a splash screen, no matter how awesome it is, you're just delaying the content even more.

Splash screens for desktop applications give you something nice to look at while the app loads. Of course, there are people who insist on putting a delay behind the splash screen because their application doesn't actually need one, and that pisses me off. Again, being made to wait for no reason other than vanity.

Geoff Bennett
Friday, May 30, 2003

Thanks for the reply Geoff, yep that's what I'm hearing. Search engines aren't crazy about them and people go to the web to get information not watch a splash.

You can sort of give an animated rundown on what the site is about and that might keep'em at the site a little longer but the wait!

Maybe I should use a cookie so they only have to see it the first time they come to the site.

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

I hate spash screens, and no sites I regularly visit use them.

Though I do think that by asking that question on this forum, you will get a biased answer.  Most of us here are developers and (in my experience) browse the web for content, not pretty pictures.  Most of the consumer public I think uses the web for entertainment like TV, and thus might not mind the splash screens as much...

Andrew Hurst
Friday, May 30, 2003

IMNSHO, you'd be better off using the intro animation as a link from the main page, if you're thinking about a tour style clip. Nice big button towards the top of the page.

Allow *me* to decide whether or not I want to sit through it. I might not be a silly as you think and may be able to figure out what's on your site without much hard work, so I don't want to be burdened with the extra download and waiting for the animation to finish - even once.

Newer users may get something out of it as far as a tour is concerned, so they can click the button and get the tour.

Geoff Bennett
Friday, May 30, 2003

Helluvan idea Geoff. That's what I'm going to do. Put a 'What we're all about [requires Flash]' button on the main page and skip the flash. Macs don't like Flash 6 anyways.

You know, you just saved me probably 2 days work.

The Ford Motor Company got so much negative feedback about their Flash splash they they not only killed that but took ALL the flash of the home page and at the same time Macromedia is spouting off about how even Ford is using flash.. haha, wonder if they know?

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

I have always feeled that these 'splash screens' (didn't know they were called like in the web as well) had the ego
of the designer in mind.

I always press [skip intro] if available.

Here Th. Ere (e-Very where)
Friday, May 30, 2003

Excellent feedback I've gotten on this in only about 30 minutes. Actually constructive critisizm.. It's great.

I have to tone it down, that's surely a problem with my web programming, I approach every site like I have to blow all the others away.

So that sort of hits where it hurts but.. I HEAR YOU

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

Designers have a  natural impulse to put in a splash screen as if to say, "this is the beginning." But  the Web is non-linear and thus a good site design is one that allows a surfer to enter any page on a site and find out immediately where they are in the navigation, where they can go, and possibly where they've been.

Chi Lambda
Friday, May 30, 2003

I second what the others have said.

Skip the splash. Like Geoff said, if you have some really cool flash you want to show the world, have an "intro to the site link"

I too always skip the splash screens. That and all flash sites are a big no no for me. Totally unintuitive most of the time, and you are never quite sure where to click.

Some folk like them though.... Java applets with ripples anyone?? aaarrrggghhh!!

tapiwa
Friday, May 30, 2003

>> "Java applets with ripples"

The horror. The horror. :)

Chi Lambda
Friday, May 30, 2003

Splash screen SUCK on the web.

They SUCK very, very much!

There should be a SPLASH-Screen Killer software, like there is popup killer software!

Splash Hater 666 - Death to Splash Screens!
Friday, May 30, 2003

Splash in web sites could be both good and bad.
It depends on site content.
You could set cookie to show splash only to first-time visitors.

In applications it is very bad if they are "stay on top". I could run several apps same time and starting app blocks access to already opened app until it loads :(

Mozilla made it well - it has splash, but i could switch to other app and splash will go to background.

Nekto
Friday, May 30, 2003

Since you may be getting a slightly biased developer's opinion here (I also think "splash screens" are a bad thing on websites, and I immediately look for the "Skip Intro" link when I encounter one), here is an opinion from a usability authority.


From Jakob Nielsen's Website http://www.useit.com in responses to one of his "Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes" articles:

Mike Garrison writes:
I think that splash pages may not be one of the top-10 web mistakes, but they are probably the top useless web fashion of the past year or two.
Why?
- No one wants to have to access it every time, so getting to it really annoys anyone who is not a first time user.
- But for the first time user, it adds a useless step between them and whatever brought them to the site in the first place. So it really annoys them too.
- Most new users will come via a search engine anyway, so they'll probably miss the splash page.
- If you make it the default highest page in the server (eg. http://www.useit.com/ ) then when people try to find your home page by chopping off a URL, they get the useless splash page instead.
- They ruin the back button. (Your #1 new mistake.)

Jakob's reply: I agree: splash pages are useless and annoying. In general, every time you see a splash page, the reaction is "oh no, here comes a site that will be slow and difficult to use and that doesn't respect my time." Splash pages are a sure sign of bad Web design.

Philip Dickerson
Friday, May 30, 2003

As an alternative to a "splash screen" that you need to wait for before getting to the actual content, consider designing the site with a visually "splashy" primary/home page that has content and links plus visuals. See for example http://www.msnbc.com or http://slate.msn.com (or even http://www.disney.com if that's your style)

Philip Dickerson
Friday, May 30, 2003

While you're at it - you may want to keep your web site's navigation elements around your "What we're all about" intro.  The reason I hate intros so much is that I'm only given 2 choices, watch or skip to the site.  Give me real choices =)

GiorgioG
Friday, May 30, 2003

If you are one of the believers in content. Then you shouldn't have to worry too much about what your portal or main page is saying (or not saying). Keep it simple. Get a little flashy if you have to. But make sure the gut of it all--the real site behind the portal--amounts to something that will bring back your audience. If google or netizen links are referring lots of people to some of your hidden away pages, who cares about your portal? What really matters is you optimize what people do look at, not what you think they look at. By checking your web logs you'll discover that some pages gets all the attention--and probably aren't getting most of your attention.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, May 30, 2003

I think splash screens were always considered bad. Chief among their crimes is arrogance. The user came to your site for a variety of reasons. The probability of one of those reasons being to admire some artists 1337 flash sk1lz is pretty low.

Richard
Friday, May 30, 2003

kent, if you want to "blow all the others away" then make your homepage a simple, elegant, central point from which you can reach any essential information in one click.

I reference
http://www.marktaw.com/
http://www.nextstepcommerce.com/
http://www.audi.com/  <- flashy sales site, but still quick and easy to navigate

BTW, don't forget that a lot of people are still on dialup, and your splash screen is going to be a *real* time-waster for them...

Philo

Philo
Friday, May 30, 2003

That's what I'm thinking, tone it down.

Okay, time for a good laugh, and I know you will all tell me everything I've done is wrong but this is what I've learned.

My first attempt at site to blow them away was www.webartcentral.com where I got nothing but positive feedback on the (now I see too long) splash.

I also used my own design for navigation which noone could understand so I put a Flash animation on the first page to teach people.

It uses frames but I found a really neet way to frame up stray pages and it got listed in several engines. I'm killing the frames idea too. Again too complex.

Although the site looks good I don't like it.. Too complex.
I'm disabling it over the weekend. Time for something simpler.

I didn't like the name either because it sounds like a site that's trying to sell something. (Cheeezy name eh?)

I'm designing another one now and plan on implementing the best suggestions I can get to see what it looks like at the end.

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

Phil - Thanks!

I will have to point you to a fan page I made for an old video game that does use a splash page:

http://othala.pair.com/~markzill/ar/

The splash page looks like a screen cap from the game, and I think anyone who visits the page would get a kick out of it. The next page also looks like a screen cap from the game, but from inside one of the shops.

But there's no animation to load, you can click through at any time.

I was worried about the click through instructions falling below the fold, and do realize the occasional visitor will just stare at the screen waiting for something to happen, but I really wanted to give it a clean look. I'll probably add a 10 second redirect for those people.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, May 30, 2003

Re: MarkTAW.com

Too much text on the page. Lighten up.
The headers don't stand out against the body well enough to quickly scan the page to find areas of interest.

Too text intense.
Sections need distinct gaps..
Use white space effectively to draw attention

A good rule of thumb is that a web page should have at most 60%-80% of the text that a printed page would have.

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

On no Mark.. You can't be serious..

Makes me want to pull out my Commodore 64 or have a game of pong.

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

Does the game require a 3D accellerator Hahaha..

Might want to consider tweaking the resolution on that Commodore 64 of yours.

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

Kent:
Shoe.Foot(Switch)

*The green in your menu links is hard to read.
*I *hate* "Contact Us" forms. Use an email address.
*You harp on Mark for "too much text", yet look at your site - I got bored reading after the second sentence. Mark's page has a lot of text, but they're bulleted ideas - bite-size memes that are quickly scanned and assimilated. Your page could just lapse into Lorem ipsum after the second paragraph and I'll bet you'd never get a single email about it.
*Assuming there are people who want to read all that, the animation at the top makes it difficult to do so - it keeps pulling your eyes away from the text.
*I'll assume this is a work in progress, so I won't comment on the empty framework at the bottom.
*Not sure why you have both top and left side nav bars - just put the two links from the left at the top.
*Purely subjective - your graphic says to me "old money", like a bank or accounting firm, not web design & hosting.

HTH,
Philo  :-)

Philo
Friday, May 30, 2003

Mark,
        I like the game site. Neat.

Philo,
        The audi site seems awful to me. I can only get the home page to half load in Netscape presumably because of  the trick of having the bottom right jump to the top right when you reach 1024 x 768 resolution. It still doesn't look that good then, and a 1280 x 1024 looks positively awful.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 30, 2003

Kent,
        The dual approach of splash screen followed by wordy home page doesn't work.

        And forget the flash animation. The animation itself takes your attention, and you quite forget what it is talking about. More importantly, if you are worried about people navigating your way change it. Nobody wants to learn something new to navigate your site.

 

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 30, 2003

Thanks Steven and Philo, the WebArtCentral's getting scrapped. I'm changing the other one right now.

Kent Design4Effect
Friday, May 30, 2003

Kent - I'm very conscious of the visual ownership of content on the page. On my site, the top section owns the rest of the page. I'm too lazy to re-program the left nav based on each section, but I would like to do that one day.

Since we're critiquing sites, on webartcentral I don't get that sense. I don't know if clicking on something in the top area will change the sidenav, or if clicking the side nav will change the top nav. What are the major categories & what are the sub categories and what is the meta information?

Here's a quickie mockup of what I think a traditional / stereotypical website layout should be:

http://www.marktaw.com/temp/ownership.gif

The dark blue box is top nav. The light blue box is left nav. The gray box is headline. The rust colored box is sidebar. The dark gray box on the bottom is site meta information.

I think the ownership cascade is obvious. The top nav visually owns the left nav, which owns the headline, which owns the sidebar. The bottom section breaks this cascade and is obviousy unrelated to the rest of the site.

If you think this is just because of the color schemes, check this out:

http://www.marktaw.com/temp/ownership2.gif

Granted this is a very western top to bottom, left to right centric site, but hey, that's where I grew up.

Re: my color scheme... I happen to like muted colors. It's not a professional / corporate site, it's a personal site, so I get to choose the colors.

Re: My game tribute site... IMHO that game was way ahead of it's time and no game yet has been it's match.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, May 31, 2003

Mark.. it's great !!!

No really,I was wondering about that arcade site but you have it. Even the hierarchy!!

Kent Design4Effect
Saturday, May 31, 2003

On muted colours

It's where the industry is going. Your not wrong, use the same colour balance and decrease the saturation.

Kent Design4Effect
Saturday, May 31, 2003

Mark... Sorry I respond to one paragraph at a time..

Get out much???

Way ahead of it's time... Man.. Don't date yourself!!

Do youplay any online 3D real time games?

Kent Design4Effect
Saturday, May 31, 2003

I don't play any online 3d realtime games. I don't play any online games... I mostly play either for 8 hours straight and beat a game, or in bits and pieces. I usually go for weeks without playing anything and then pick up a game in a store and play it until I beat it.

Alternate Reality really was ahead of it's time, and I honestly don't think any game matches it's depth & complexity.

The one feature that puts it over the top for me is that the game kept track of not only your major quest actions, but your minor interactions with others. People would react to you differently based on what you were wearing, how you treated other people in the game, what alliances you had. Just random encounters would go differently because you had treated someone poorly before, or a shopkeeper would haggle with you differently, or you could walk into a bar and expect to be fed because you'd made friends there.

The sunsets in The City have to be seen to be believed. The entire pallete of the the buildings changes slowly, subliminally. It's not like Sim City where they're proud they can represent 2 or 3 times of day, every minute, every hour the color would change until the sun set.

Then there's the Sims-like aspect where you had to balance your goals with things like hunger, and how tired you were.

And there's the plot, which was never fully realized, but involved you realizing that you're actually in a computer simulation, and you have to choose whether or not to continue living inside the simulation, or overthrow our captors. (hmmmmm...)

So now you tell me whether or not these 3d realtime games do that. Maybe those everquest type games with real working economies compete on some level, but we're talking about a game that was released in 1983 on a machine that ran something like 2.33 mhz.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, May 31, 2003

Still up eh Mark??

Checked out your site & left some good feedback.

You're on the right track... Long road isn't it?

I've changed my new site based on the feedback from this board.

Sending 25% as much graphics for a site that is a better design thanks to it's members.

TO ALL YOU GUYS ON THIS SITE..

THANKS..

  - Kent

Kent Design4Effect
Saturday, May 31, 2003

Kent - I've been a night owl my whole life.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, May 31, 2003

A site for everyone that says or thinks that standard-compliant (therefore usable by design) means ugly:

http://www.opera.com/

If your browser allows it, disable the author's style sheet. Note how the layout is 100% <table>-free, and entirely achieved through CSS, so that stupid old browsers will just display a somewhat dull site with a vertical layout, but still entirely readable

If you have an internet-enabled handeld (or the Opera browser version 7, that can emulate one), note how most of the eye-candy (the big, flashy images and the quick links on the right) magically disappear in favor of true content

These rigorousness and attention to details are what make a site truly special

KJK::Hyperion
Monday, June 02, 2003

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