Rich User Experiences in a Text-indexed World

We find that many of our clients are looking for rich brand and user experiences typcially afforded by Flash – but also absolutely require text-based search engine optimized pages.

Until search engines can reliably read and extract the semantic meaning from images and flash movies this will always be a conflict. But with some skill, we find that you can have both.

We recently worked with SearchMe Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer John Holland to quickly design and code their Stacks mini gallery site. (I covered the launch of SearchMe’s Stacks and their other features in a previous post visual browsing with SearchMe and PicLens.)

While most (all) of SearchMe is Flash-based, we produced this site in HTML to allow for better web indexation and SEO. We wanted to make sure that stacks get good visibility in web search results.

At the same time, it was very important to maintain the interaction model established in the flash app, where users are provided engaging, rewarding feedback for mousing over objects on the page.

Using the mootools javascript framework, we engineered the page so that a mousover on the spotlighted stacks triggered a smooth reveal of additional information that feels rich and rewarding. The information itself is pure HTML text – the kind search engine web crawlers find rich and rewarding.

UPDATE:

A few searches on Google show how our work is paying off: a search for Best of 80s stack returns the stack details page we created as the 1st result! The same goes for:

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