April 17th, 2012 by admin
I’ll never forget my first Flash video. It was terrible.
I cannot remember all of the details, but there were definitely some stick figures, talk bubbles containing Comic Sans, and a few amateurly-made cartoon dogs. And of course, a Flash video is never complete without obnoxious, jarring sound effects and a haunting digital melody.
I’m sure you are familiar with Flash … it’s that annoying thing that on your computer that needs updated every 5 minutes. It also never works on any of your Apple mobile devices, so you cannot view Flash-powered videos or unnecessarily complicated websites like www.jimcarrey.com.
I actually kind of like Jim Carrey’s website, but that’s beside the point.
Flash is steadily phasing out of the web development world. As impressive as it can be when it’s done well, there are too many downsides to creating a website in Flash. Most of which only concern us nerdy developers, but I’m going to name them all anyway.
Search engines no like-y the Flash. Search engines have these little minions called “spiders” that crawl all over the world wide web to find the best websites based on a search query. Now, I’m going to ask you a question that has become somewhat of a cliché in the word of search engine optimization: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? … No, no. Don’t say yes. No, I don’t care about the impact of solid matter and sound wave speed. Geez is your name Sheldon?
The point is, if nobody is around to hear it, it might as well not make a sound. Because nobody cares!
That is kind of how it is if a website cannot be found in the search engines. It’s a site that people cannot see because they cannot find it, so what’s the point? Flash cannot be crawled by search engine spiders. However, certain Flash websites can eventually be found if they are very popular and a whole lot of people are linking to them. Take for instance our favorite – www.jimcarrey.com. It’s a Flash site, but it can still be found because… well… he was Ace Ventura. Come on.
Flash sites are slow, and we don’t got all day. Not all of us have access to extravagant, lightning-speed, pie-in-the-sky internet like you do. Most of us have to wait 10 seconds or more for the average Flash site to open. I know, that doesn’t sound like much… but if you are a frequent web user you know how long even one second can be! Add the seconds wasted navigating through the areas of the site, and you’ve got about an hour cleared out of your day looking for someone’s contact information.
This wasn’t just a stubborn refusal to use Flash. You see, Flash often requires a mouse pointer to move through their sites. This poses a problem for user experience on mobile devices – your finger is not a mouse. Without a mouse pointer, it is pointless (ha-ha) to view most Flash sites on your device. They won’t work. And the solutions developers have come up with aren’t great. Apple would rather disallow Flash all together than frustrate their customers with “buggy” websites.
And hey, look what happened! Flash is phasing out. Steve Jobs is still winning from beyond the grave. That guy is good.
Flash websites take FOREVER to build. Here at Pitt Bull, we can give you a pretty elaborate site between 2 to 6 weeks, depending on how much it entails. Request that your site be made in Flash and people will be growing beards until its done. OK, I may be exaggerating. But it’s no joke that Flash requires a bucket load of time and attention on something that could have been done just as well (or better) in HTML5.
“OK… so… where do I click?” Although Flash sites can be pretty, or even beautiful, navigation is often unconventional and therefore confusing for the user. And sometimes annoying, especially if there are sound effects. How am I suppose to know that clicking on that picture of an octopus will take me to the Prices page? And what does a coffee mug have to do with testimonials? Did that About button just honk like a tug boat? That’s bothersome.
Flash will not necessarily go away forever, per se. Plenty of people use it to play videos and offer other interactive features on their websites. We just think developers will be using it less, for the above reasons and more. Unless something happens that suddenly makes it more appealing than HTML5, my guess is it’s going to continue its decline.
So with great “sadness” I hereby bid my premature farewell to Flash. I don’t know when you will be completely gone, but when that day comes I will be “sorry” to see you go. Jim Carrey, Pitt Bull is available for your re-design.
Goodbye, Flash … *tear*.