For a site, I do not like flash to be seen anywhere but in flash games, or video/music players. Flash Banners etc are things I try to avoid.
Flash content increases load times, and the point of my site is to keep images and load times down to a minimum for those users who are on slower connections, plus the fact to keep things XHTML 1.1 CSS 2.0 (3.0?) complient, along with accessability Level 2 or 3 complient - with Flash, making things complient, especially accessability, is not an easy task!
Splash pages are bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as you don't really add in a lot of content into a splash page, and a Flash one is even worse! Search engines like Google crawl pages and look at lots of things to determine its ranking on the search engine, from metadata including author, keywords etc. and also the page title, and content within the page. I don't use splash pages at all.
Music, well, music on websites bugs me, mainly because I am playing my own music, and if it auto starts, which the majority does, then I have to stop looking at what ever I came onto the site for, pause the music then go back to what I was doing, doesn't take long, but its a pain, I thought I got rid of that along with animated .gifs back in 1999!
To talk about the site you linked to...
Impact, hm... - I'm sure the animation for the images etc on the splash is a stock one within Adobe Flash (or w/e its called now). The animation actually stops at the end rather than a smooth loop.
On the main page, more flash, and the layout doesn't seem to have much structure to it...things seems to be just floating about the place, random gaps, and things arn't spaced out evenly. The music is also in my way as I was just listening to Daft Punk, then Fall Out Boy, but I've had to stop that in order to figure out what the purpose of the music was...in my case it does nothing for the site, nor does it even loop or go onto another track, if you are going to have music playing, it must do one of those 2 things.
As for resources, I know a few people who do stuff from ASP.net to PHP to AJAX, so If i need some spice here or there, or help making a CMS, I got it
Flash is being replaced, largely in the interactive way, by AJAX and DOM, a good example of which is Flickr - it isn't pushing it to its limits, but instead of using flash which could have worked, it just makes things load quicker and run faster using AJAX for certain things. There are AJAX audio players that work fine, although Video players are not so good yet, but I don't have a problem with the vast majority of Flash video players.
Bob I understand that for most web users flash is a good way to go, its easy to navigate and its nice and colourful with lots of images, but there are pitfalls in using flash.
It might not be installed, and in the days of viruses and spyware, people may be weary to install "Adobe Flash" as most will have no idea who Adobe are or what Flash is. It can crash browsers even before you install it, and I've seen this on a few systems. Even when its apparently installed, no flash content is displayed as it still says its not installed. Load times are sometimes an issue depending on content. Some types of flash, especially those which are not database backed (And even those that are) can be a pain to update.
Just a few downsides to flash - it has its place but I'm personally not a massive fan of it being used in websites as the main structural element.
I do however like the submenus, those a very good touch, and help visitors find related information, or information that they may find interesting - I have considered using submenus (AJAX for main navigation ones) on tech helpers since technology covers a pretty darn big array of things, and it helps split up the information so that users can find things quickly, like the site you pointed me to, but doing as a scroll over on the main navigation, and as a click though on other things like side navigation or related topics.
I hope you understand its hard to put across things like rollovers in a static image like a jpg, but as I finalise the deisgn I do add in the design elements for what the rollovers should look like for certain elements, so that I know what things should be like when I code them.
I also take a lot of care into making sure that things are set exactly to the pixel, often zooming in to 1600% just to make sure a line isn't 1px over were it shouldn't be, so that no sloppy design elements get through.
I will do a few different layouts in order to get a feel for which one I should go for, or perhaps a mixture of two or more!
The text has still to be decided but the Tech Helpers logo is almost set in stone, perhaps the shade of blue can be changed but thats about it for now, the logo was supposed to be simple for version 1, and hopefully by the time version 2 comes along i'll make a more interesting logo.
I am constrained by time a lot of the...well time lol, but this can be a good thing, looking back at my work from either a few hours ago or a few weeks ago, I notice flaws everywhere that I didn't notice in my euphoric daze whilst designing! An example, as I designed the navigation, I didn't take into account the amount of information that the user would need access to, using just 4 buttons - a miricle if it were so simple, but a more intricit (Spelling?) system will be needed - and like you showed me Bob, a submenu system would be a very viable solution to this problem, along with perhaps an extra button! (4 seems lonely anyway)
Rob I also agree, to much text on the homepage, not a good way to start with those who don't understand much about computers, and you are also right when saying those people will just go else where, and this also ties into my dislike of flash.
- FACT - If it takes over 3 seconds for a page to load, the average internet user will be annoyed and try refreshing the page (if they know how to), if this fails, they will then leave the site in search of another site with the same information as they were looking for. (This is however NOT TRUE when they are visiting a site on a regular basis, in which case they will wait for a substantially longer amount of time for the page to load)
I will be adding in more colourful graphics, although not to many as to make the more cultured internet user think that it is simply a waste of his/her time as they will want more information as opposed to fancy graphics and images.
Anyway, taking this all into consideration I shall post an update tomorrow night of my progress.
Thanks so far for the comments