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« Web Site - Browser Testing | Main | "The Most Fun You Can Have with Your Clothes On" »

Flash is Growing Up ...

It is nice to see that Flash has finally grown up.  One of the biggest advantages that came with Flash  was the enhanced ability to do video.  YouTube.com delivers hundreds of millions of videos with Flash.  A number of top news sites deliver streaming video with Flash.

Being a proud pundit of web usability, I always encourage some restraint with clients who "need" Flash on their web site. Recently, a client requested Flash on their site.  We tried to tactfully talk them out of the idea, but were unsuccessful.  They spent over 30% of their web budget on a cool Flash masthead.  It looks great.  Was it worth the investment?  In my professional opinion, I would say "No." We presented the option of using Javascript to accomplish a similar outcome, with little or no additional cost, but they insisted on Flash.  The client invested a significant amount of money that won't bring them an appreciable ROI. 

Being cool with your web site isn't always desirable. After a few visits, the novelty of a cool web site starts to wear off.  Look at web sites that don't have all the bells and whistles.  There is nothing cool about Google, Yahoo, or any of the top news sites.  Yet, they are the most popular sites on the Internet. Top Internet sites provide high quality content, mostly in HTML text.  Always remember, users seek content, not cool.  If you want to be cool, strike a balance with useful.   

My issues with Flash is how people use (abuse) it.  If you are going to use Flash, use it in moderation.  A few video files or online presentations are a nice addition to any site.  I don't recommend designing significant parts of your site's architecture around Flash, especially navigation.  Make sure you have plenty of HTML text.  Search engine spiders eat up HTML text.  The same spiders don't do well with Flash.  The lack of HTML text makes it very difficult for them to interpret Flash.

Flash definitely isn't going away, so if you are going to use it, use it wisely.

Additional Resource:
Flash: 99% Bad

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