Wow...so many responses. I'm thinking about doing a quick flash intro (a few seconds long at the most) and offering an HTML and flash version. I have a web designer who's interested in working with me. Her portfolio is http://templates.image808.com/search...umber=&x=0&y=0
(i think you can just click that)
I don't want to lose customers who have dial-up, which is why I'd offer an HTML version in the current state the website is in.
I'm also thinking about putting music on the site...something jazzy. Not poppy, not classical...jazz. Everyone loves Jazz, right?
From the moment your flash-thingie features a skip link, it's worthless... even though it may well be appealing. Don't use it in that way.
Don't do Java, I hate it for being so slow. (I really hate please wait and loading stuff). Hereby I apologyse for using flash in my own B/W-picture site.
Not only KISS is a very good practice, but also degrading gracefully is a good standard to adhere to.
Get nice and interesting usefull features for the latest browsers, but don't forget there are still users browsing the web with IE4, NS3 or worse (read: older)
I have a cable hookup so I like flash but can see where people on slower modems would just go away. When I visit a site which happens to be running slow I just go away. As been shown I'm not the most patient person around. Dave seems to have experience here and you don't want to lose half your visitors. I might shy away from flash for now or I would at least make it real quick loading or offer visitors a choice before going deeper in to the site.
"When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
I still want to know why? Not a dumb, argumentative question: I really do question the reason for these Intro splash screens, Flash or otherwise. What conceivable advantage do they confer? Why make people click on a useless page to get to the actual site? It really does smack of the triumph of design over function (but then, I am an engineer by education, training & temperament...). However fast you make it load, why is it there in the first place?
As far as I am aware, there is no practical way of knowing if the user that connects to your web server is on dial-up without running a script that will take at least as long to run as loading the Flash script anyway. Oh, guess what? No music either please Not a problem for me as I have the speakers switched off anyway for that very reason: music on web sites = yuk!
Just because you technically can do something, does not mean that you should do it...
I guess the reason to do it is the same as the reason that books have a title page instead of having the title and author's name simply centered at the top of the first page of text, but if the title page made the book 50% heavier and you had to use a special tool to turn the title page, then no one would want a title page.
I checked out one of the templates on the page you linked to and it took far too long on my very fast cable connection. Stay away from that stuff! It doesn't help anything and doesn't make you look any better!
Here is an article from the usability expert Jakob Nielsen. It is a bit old, but the kind of problems that he discusses and still very real with flash. (Just so you don't think this is all about a bunch of web site luddite elitists!) http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html