Splash Pages: Pros and Cons

There are more cons

Have you ever been to a website and instead of seeing the homepage of the site as expected, you are greeted with a full-screen introductory page, perhaps with some animation, video, or just a giant photo? This is what is known as a "splash screen" and it has had an up and down history with web design.

What is a Splash Page?

Like any form of design, web design is subject to trends. One web design trend that has been popular at different points in the short history of the industry is splash pages.

As already mentioned, splash pages are the full-screen, introductory pages that greet visitors on certain websites. Instead of diving right into the content of a site, this splash page acts as a "welcome" screen to that website and they typically offer one or more of the following features:

  • Eye-catching graphics and/or company logo
  • Important initial message
  • Animation or Flash movie (Older sites may have used Flash, but that technology ls outdated and largely gone from more modern websites who are now using video in place of the older Flash tech) 
  • Choice of how to enter the site (Flash/no-Flash, mobile version, etc. - Responsive design has rendered this option obsolete)
  • Technical requirements (browser, version, etc. - Also, largely obsolete)

There have been periods of web design when Splash pages were very popular. Designers loved these pages at one point since they offered a way to showcase animation skills in a really eye-catching way with over-the-top Flash animations or really powerful graphics. Even today, with Flash having gone the way of the dodo bird, these pages can make a dramatic first impression on visitors and offer really powerful visuals. 

Big impressions notwithstanding, splash pages also have some very serious downsides that you must consider if you are looking to use one on your website. Let's look at both the pros and the cons of this approach so you can make an informed decision as to what makes sense for your company and site.

Pros to Splash Pages

  • Splash pages can be fast loading since they have very little information on them. This allows you to get the most important information you want visitors to see up quickly on the first page without requiring them to scroll.
  • They are a great way to show off your best work, as a portfolio, and really wow visitors with a powerful first impression
  • Splash pages allow your readers to choose the site technology that fits them (this is for sites that use a splash page to self-segment users based on their choices)
  • You can then use your server logs to see what the breakdown is of your actual customer and which versions are most popular.

Cons to Splash Pages

  • The usability of a splash page is completely flawed. Your readers come to your site to enter it and a splash page prevents that. Instead of getting them right into your content, you stop their progress with a glorified ad. Imagine walking into a store and having someone prevent your access before you get inside by singing you a song and performing a little dance. This is essentially what a splash screen does - it prevents access to the site in place of a song and dance.
  • Many readers don't like splash pages. In fact, in some studies, 25% of visitors left a site right after seeing a splash page instead of heading into the website itself. That is a large number of people who have just abandoned your company because you wanted to "wow" them with a splash page, but instead, you pushed them away.
  • Splash pages are typically not very search engine friendly. Since many splash pages only include a Flash animation or giant graphic, there isn't a lot of content for a search engine to optimize or focus on. 
  • A splash page animation can be repetitive and annoying to return visitors. Readers who have seen your opening page animation don't often want to sit through it again, but if you forget to include a "skip" option, they will have to. Even if you do have a "skip" option, you are forcing them to take action to avoid that annoying animation rather than allowing them into the site. This can be mitigated by using cookies to identify return visitors and have them automatically skip the splash, but the honest truth is that very few companies ever take this step.
  • While the Flash movie or fancy animation you are including on your page may look really nice, the impression they often make may be one of pretentiousness rather than detailing your skills.
  • If you submit your splash page to a search engine, the JavaScript codes that move customers to the next page may prevent the search engine from adding any page on the site.

Bottom Line

Splash pages are outdated on today's web. Most people find them annoying. Yes, there are some benefits to a splash page, but they are vastly outweighed by the negatives, including the simple truth that if you use a splash or "welcome" page on today's web or in a new website redesign, you are dating your site and causing it to look like a relic from a bygone era.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Kyrnin, Jennifer. "Splash Pages: Pros and Cons." ThoughtCo, Sep. 3, 2021, thoughtco.com/splash-pages-pros-cons-3469116. Kyrnin, Jennifer. (2021, September 3). Splash Pages: Pros and Cons. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/splash-pages-pros-cons-3469116 Kyrnin, Jennifer. "Splash Pages: Pros and Cons." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/splash-pages-pros-cons-3469116 (accessed March 27, 2023).