Craig Francis

Splash Screens

Designed to impress the website visitors, the splash screen or intro movie is usually added to make a website appear to be professional.

What most splash screens actually do is slow down the visitor who is trying to access the content on the website. When a "skip intro" link is provided, most visitors will use it instead of waiting for the intro to finish.

Really the visitor has already decided to type in the website URL or followed a link to the website, they are already semi-committed to using the website, the only thing that a splash screen will do is turn them away, purely because its not what they are looking for.

When people arrive at your site it's because they've made a commitment. They've clicked a link or an ad and now they are at your site so you don't have to try to seduce them. Let them in your site.

Source: Vincent Flanders.

Finding the website

One of the main source of potential visitors is though a search engine, even if they do it by typing in the domain name as a search query.

For the website to appear on the results page, the search engines spider must have been able to index the website. Taking that the spider only has the domain name (no deep links into the website), and it manages to get past the intro page (might not happen for small websites), then the true homepage will most likely be the top result when doing a search, as the intro page will not have any content to index. So visitors using a search engine will either not find the site, or will link directly to the true homepage, as that is usually considered to be more relevant.

Although, if deep linking does occur, then it further reduces the value of the splash page as the visitors are going straight to the content they probably want to see, without wasting time being introduced to the website.

Repeat visitors

Taking the visitor does decide to return to the website for a second time, perhaps its because they found what they were looking for last time. Would they really want to see the splash screen again? how about a third, forth or even fiftieth time?

Website authors should keep in mind that splash screens are unlikely to change (a maintenance issue), so any repeat visitors are likely to get more board and frustrated with it each time they visit the website.

Fortunately though, if a visitor regularly uses the site, then they will most likely bookmark the real homepage so they don't have to type out the URL and go though the splash screen each time.


Who are website authors trying to impress with splash screens, the site owner or the visitors?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, I don't include comments due to the admin time required, but if you email me, I will reply and make appropriate updates. Also, if you would like to take a copy of this article, please read the terms this article is released under. This article was originally written Wednesday 6th December 2006.