Create and prosper


Splash pages are extinct.

This is your splash page

This is your splash page

For most cases, they shouldn't even exist in the first place.

The exceptions are obvious:

  • When you don't really have any other content to display, and the splash page IS your website.
  • When you are legally required to confirm the user's identity, age, purpose of visit, etc., e.g. over 18 sites.
  • When you have one very important message to get across, and the rest of your website is of diminished importance, i.e. business closing notices.

You get the idea: splash pages have very specific purposes. However, for the most part, people have them for absurd reasons:

  • Some artists and creative types believe it is the best way to display their creativity - this is kind of reasonable and sort of okay.
  • Many believe splash pages are impressive, especially the Flash animated ones - this is not an okay reason to have a splash page.
  • Even more believe splash pages will make the user want to engage the website even more - this is simply not true.

You are actively stopping the user from accessing your website

Forget engaging the user - splash pages actually disengage any interested parties. An unnecessary splash page is one extra step that the user has to go through to view your main content:

  • It slows the user down by xseconds:
    • Where x = y + z
    • y is the time it takes for the user's browser to download the splash page - often lengthy, given the size of some impressive-looking, animated splash pages and the lack of speedy internet connection in the developing countries. It can get even longer for the sites that FORCE you to sit through a certain animation or movie before
    • And z is the time it takes for the user to figure out what to do after the splash page loads. If you've seen those splash pages with links that took you half a minute to locate, you'd understand that z is a pretty significant variable.
    • Oh, and don't forget the additional time that would be necessary to download the appropriate plugins before your splash page can be displayed.
  • People just don't have time to go through the above exercise to find out what exactly your site has for them. When was the last time you looked at just one website and waited patiently for it to load? Most people will switch to other websites and forget yours while it is taking its own sweet time loading.
  • Since splash pages don't have any content, search engines tend to not index them. This either means they will link directly to your content pages, making your splash page irrelevant, or, worse, if they cannot "reach" the content pages from your fancy all-Flash splash page, they will not link to you at all, making your entire website ineffective.

You can fix your splash page

Splash pages as you know it just don't work - especially if you have no clear reason as to why you have one in the first place. However, there are ways to incorporate one into your site:

  • If you HAVE to have a splash page, make it short, succinct, and clear:
    • Keep the directions clear, e.g. have a "Click here to enter" link instead of having the user guess where to click to proceed
    • Keep the bulk down - both in terms of download size and length. Give users the option of skipping ahead if you have to have an animated sequence on your splash page.
    • If you are using Flash / Silverlight / other eye candy technology, offer an accessible alternative, so those without plug-ins (or those on mobile) can still access whatever information your website provides beyond the splash page.
  • Splash pages are not the only way to display your creativity: you can feature a highlighted creative while still offering the user the rest of your website, for example by adding navigation. Apple does a good job at this hybrid front page model.

Keep in mind that an impressive website does not comprise of an impressive splash page only. In fact, your impressive website is more likely to be appreciated and read when it is not hidden out of reach behind that impressive, but pointless, splash page.

References and further reading:
Sink the Splash Pages
Splash Pages: Do We Really Need Them?
Splash Pages: Pros and Cons
Splash Pages May Drown Your Site

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Comments (2) Trackbacks (1)
  1. I use a splash page to redirect from my personal domain to the more cryptic URL that linked in gives for example. Although LinkedIn’s URL is not too bad. Anyway another use of Splash pages đŸ™‚

  2. I think that falls under the first category use, which makes it valid đŸ™‚


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