Splash Pages: Pros and Cons

What is a Splash Page and Should You Use One

Should I still use Adobe Flash on my website?
Should I still use Adobe Flash on my website?. Jeremy Girard

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.

What is a Splash Page?

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 graphic and/or company logo
  • important initial message
  • animation or Flash movie (note - older sites may have used Flash, but that technology ls outdated and largely gone from more modern websites) 
  • choice of how to enter the site (Flash/no-Flash, mobile version, etc.)
  • technical requirements (browser, version, etc.)

There have been period 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. These pages can make a dramatic first impression on site visitors, but they also have some very serious downsides that you must consider if you are looking to use a splash page.

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, like a portfolio, and really wow visitors.
  • Splash pages allow your readers to choose the site technology that fits them.
  • You can then use your server logs to see what the breakdown is of your actual customers.

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.
  • Many readers don't like splash pages - and 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.
  • 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 an action to avoid that annoying animation rather than allowing them into the site.
  • 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.

    My Opinion of Splash Pages

    Splash pages are outdated on today's Web. Personally, I find them annoying and I have seen how sites who insist on using them suffer. 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 of website design.

    Original article by Jennifer Krynin. Edited by Jeremy Girard on 10/20/16