In short the answer is NO!
A splash page (sometimes referred to as a splash screen) is an introductory page to a web site which usually contains animation, video, music and/or graphics that are supposed to make you fall in love with the site. Really?
In the past two weeks, I’ve come across three sites that were still using “old” splash pages (something that should have been done away with 10 years ago)…and one newly designed site with video that didn’t load correctly – ugh.
I feel the only time you might consider using a splash page is when you have different versions of the site – say a Spanish or English version or a multi-country option. For example the Fed-Ex site offers a map of the world and a chance to choose your country.
Ikea also offers a country selection option.
The difference between the above examples and my problem with most “splash pages” is that FedEx and Ikea actually provide interaction and purpose with their pages. FedEx and Ikea are not trying to impress their visitors with cutesy music and animation – they are trying to get their users to the right place on their site. That’s a reasonable use! When I go to Ikea’s site, I’d be lost if I ended up on the Turkish version.
Websites should be designed for the user and not the designer. This doesn’t mean that you can’t provide fun, clever and creative content, you just have to make sure you don’t annoy your user in the process. When I go to a site, it’s usually for a purpose. For example, I was trying to get to a local restaurant’s menu, so I Googled it and found the site, but when I clicked on the link late at night after everyone was asleep, LOUD music started playing and a photo slide show intro came up – ugh! All I wanted was to look at what the restaurant had to eat and see what time it opened on Sunday! If you have to place the words “Skip Intro” on your splash page, YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE IT THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! In spite of the bad intro page, this is a great restaurant (Mi Tierra) and if you are ever in San Antonio you should try it.
Remember, in today’s busy world, people are in a hurry and they want to get their information quickly and without a lot of hassle. Most splash pages keep users from getting to what they came to your site for – hours of operation, directions, reservations, recipes, advice, etc. Don’t stand in their way.
And if you think you have a “splash page” that is so fun and amazing and that your users have to see it, create a link to it off of your main site and give your users the option to view it after they’ve gotten what they came to your site for in the first place.