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The Pros & Cons Of Splash Pages

It may be 2013 but the discussions regarding splash pages / intro pages is still raging due to pockets of resistance. They were quite common in the 90’s and you will still see them around. So what’s all the fuss about and why do so many people loathe them?

What Are Splash Pages / Screens?

A splash page is a website page that sits in front of your main site. They often contain an introduction to the site, possibly in the medium of a flash animation though there’s always variations. Even though they’re considered to be pretty bad form for a number of reasons, they still crop up and I’ve had people request them, though I always advise against.

I’ve tried to be objective, but I’m definitely part of the anti-splash screen mob. I’ve really struggled to come up with many pros. You can see the lists below.

A Brief Summary

So do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? I’d definitely say ‘no’ and that is the general consensus. The benefits should be created in the main site e.g. good design will lead the eyes of your visitors to the areas of the web page you want to draw attention to.

Ultimately, there’s nothing that a splash page can do, that can’t be achieved either to the same effect or better by inclusion into the main body the site.

The verdict: Dont’s Use Splash Pages

Splash Pages: Pros

  • They can be used to grab the users attention and getting them to focus on one thing, such as a video or other content
  • Options can be presented to your visitor e.g. picking their country or choosing a version of your site that is suitable for the technology that they’re using
  • Important news / updates etc. can be addressed before the user enters the site
  • Legal notices can be displayed, for example, age confirmations for sites which contain adult material

Splash Pages: Cons

  • Splash pages are very poor for usability and may use technologies that users either have turned-off or not have installed on their machines
  • They delay the speed at which users can access your site
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that site owners can experience bounce* rates increase by 25%
  • Many users find them annoying. The vast majority that do continue past the splash screen use the ‘skip’ button to get past it
  • They deter repeat visitors as they won’t want to see it each time they visit your site
  • Search engines don’t like splash pages and this will damage your page rank

*Bounce rates refer to the number of visitors who arrive at the first page and then leave without visiting any other page.

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