So, how do you recognize a Flash website? Flash sites are the ones that make you watch a ‘Loading…’ animation, reshape your browser, start playing pulsing techno music and emanate all kinds of blips and ticks every time you roll over link. Another site describes Flash as the “blinking, animated frosting on Web sites.” Even Steve Jobs wrote a long later about how he hated Flash, saying he was determined “to leave the past behind.”
Oy. It seems no one likes annoying animations and long-loading times.
Wait, that’s your site? You’re still using Flash? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. None of our WordPress themes use Flash and if you need a push in the right direction, below are twelve reasons to make the switch. Even if you’re not a Flash-abuser yourself, use this list to convince your fellow creatives to update their websites (it’s easy!). Sometimes the best help is a little tough love.
1. Flash is a closed, proprietary system created by Adobe, which means it’s not open for anyone to examine, change and improve, and it could be withdrawn from the market. In contrast, HTML is an open standard, and HTML5 now supports many of the features Flash is able to do.
2. Flash only runs on Mac or Windows and costs a good chunk of $$$ in order to do so, whereas an HTML file is a text file and can be created on any computer in a simple text editor and no money.
3. Flash can take a loooooong time to load, while correctly built HTML sites are quick and easy to load because they are smaller downloads. Generally, you only have 8 seconds to attract a web visitors attention. Do you really want to introduce yourself with the “loading…” signal? Oh, not to mention, Flash websites are not cacheable so they have to reload every time a vistor comes, and so they have to wait… every. time.
4. You can’t use “back” and “forward” buttons on Flash sites, which is how most browsers – and people – intuitively browse the web.
5. On a Flash site, copying text and images is difficult and often impossible. On an HTML site, you can. Flash sites don’t let you do much of anything except sit back and wait, which is a frustrating experience for users on the other end.
6. Flash is far more difficult to update than regular HTML code. If you are going to be updating your site often, or are paying someone else to, it will take more work and that means a loss of time and money.
7. Flash is not accessible for people with disabilities. Enough said.
8. Flash doesn’t work on mobile devices. Flash is only viewable if your browser has the Flash plugin installed. Websites that rely on Flash present a completely inconsistent (and often unusable) experience for fast-growing percentage of the users who don’t use a desktop browser. Adobe itself has publicly neutered Flash on mobile devices. In short, you cannot view Flash on mobile devices. That means if you want your Flash website to be viewable on an iPhone or iPad or any other mobile device, you’re out of luck.
9. Flash Player is often buggy and crashes a lot. Not to mention, it requires constant security updates. If you still have Flash installed on your browsers, think how many times you’ve had to update it already this year!
10. Flash is cumbersome, and often difficult for users to navigate. Site usability is your priority, and you’d be surprised how how often a visitor will take information accessibility over a great-looking Flash one. Pretty ain’t everything.
11. Intros with Flash just annoy. Websites exist for their visitors, not the other way around. Unless your web strategy includes wasting visitor’s time, there’s no reason to have a Flash intro to your site.
12. Flash sites are HORRIBLE for SEO puposes. Content on Flash sites is not indexable by search engines (HTML sites are indexable, of course). While normal visitors might see the actual content, search engines simply see Flash embed codes. In the eyes of the search engine crawlers, any Flash content is meaningless. And if someone doesn’t have Flash installed or has it disabled, they miss out on your site just like the search engine bots do. All in all, Flash makes it extremely difficult for anyone to find and enjoy your site.
Have we overlooked any reasons to switch from Flash? Do you disagree with our criticism of Flash-powered websites? Express yourself in the comments below.