In this chapter you have learned how to create several different types of animation and add them to your Web pages. Should you? When you decide to use animation in a Web page, you tread the very thin line between making your site attractive and making it gaudy.
A splash page is an introductory page that functions somewhat like a book cover. It tends to be artistic in nature and then gives way to the site's main or index page. Many splash pages use sophisticated animation to act as a welcome mat to the Web site. However, because nearly 50 percent of Internet access is still done through slow, dialup modems, you might want to think twice before making your visitors wait for an artistic splash page to load.
There are certain givens about human beings. One of them is that people tend to be irritated by things that repeat endlessly. Think of that dripping faucet in the kitchen or the too-loud ticking of the clock on your wall. How about a neon light right outside your bedroom window, blinking on and off all night? What about your neighbor’s dog, which has been barking incessantly since two in the morning? Do you get the idea?
There is nothing more irritating than visiting a Web site that is loaded down with images that are constantly blinking, flashing, changing colors, or scooting about the page. It’s like trying to read a book with 20 people shouting in your face. Eventually you say, “Enough already. I’m outta here.”
That’s generally what visitors will say to a Web site whose designer is in love with animation. There’s nothing wrong with animation—just keep the irritation factor in mind when you use it. You can do that by remembering some of these principles:
Limit your use of animation. The purpose of animation is to attract the visitor’s attention. If you have 10 or 15 different animated GIFs on each page, all you’ll succeed in doing is driving your visitor crazy.
Don’t allow animations to loop endlessly. When you create them, set them to run about four, maybe five, times. That should be enough to draw a Web surfer’s attention.
If you create Flash animations, make sure that they are not so large that your visitors have to wait a long time for them to download.
If you want to use <marquee>, use it with the slide value. That will allow your text to slide onto the page, making a nice entrance without making people feel as if they’re staring at a theater marquee.
Please, please don’t use the <blink> element.