I came across this little gem today while doing some research for something else (isn’t that how it always goes?) and couldn’t resist the opportunity to share.
In case you are wondering, I’m not against the use of all things Flash. I love Flash for moving things, galleries, adding the ‘wow’ factor, etc – but not for entire sites. In fact, I get a little ticked off sometimes when I see a site entirely built in Flash that could easily be rendered in HTML/CSS with little or no loss of …well…flash-i-ness.
You can read the entire (short) article that holds as true today as when it was written in 2006. In fact, you can see in the comments that it has continually shown up in conversations over the years, because people are still asking the question.
The simple bottom line is that plug-ins, such as Flash, require the user to actually have the plug-in before they view your site – how rude!
Some people prefer to browse the web without plug-ins or with plug-ins disabled to avoid the longer download time or the annoying moving graphics that distract them from the real content on the site.
Others are using devices on which plug-ins have been disabled (think iPhone…) or blocked.
Whatever the reason, consider the user of your site when planning your platform. Unless the majority of your site’s users are going to be creative-types (we love Flash and always have it enabled because it does such cool stuff!), think about dialing it back a bit.
Update April 6/10 – I was reading a blog called Nine by Blue where I read a great example of why a website shouldn’t be built entirely in Flash. Here’s the tell-all paragraph:
The individual pages don’t have corresponding unique URLs. All content loads on a single URL — www.heartlandcafeseattle.com. This means that search engines can’t index the content as they don’t have URLs to associate with that content. In addition, the content can’t be shared on social media. The site has an events calendar, but if I saw a cool event there and I wanted to post on Facebook about it and invite my friends, I’d have to tell them to go to the home page, then click events in the sidebar, then click… Why is this? Well, the site is entirely in Flash. It absolutely doesn’t need to be in Flash. The site could keep the exact look and feel it currently has and be in HTML.
(from Nine By Blue “Should Restaurants Care About Local Search, accessed April 6, 2010)
Hopefully the restaurant in question sees the blog and changes the site, but if nothing else, it is a great example for the rest of us of what happens when you choose ‘flashy’ over ‘web-savvy’.