The Disappearance Of Flash Websites Essay

1754 words - 7 pages

If you need a website that "goes big" visually alongside complex interactions and delivers a rich experience to a vast range of browsers, Flash is the only way to go. Right?

Nope.

With the widespread adoption and advancements in both newer browsers and JavaScript Libraries, using Flash (or any other plug-in technology) makes little sense for MOST situations but can have its place on the web, given considerations for progressively enhanced content.

In the current landscape of technology and accessibility to the Internet through net-enabled devices like picture frames, netbooks, cell phones, and televisions, the benefits of using Web Standards are outweighing the benefits of using Flash, especially when you're delivering content to a very broad audience on varying devices.

As more and more designers and developers realize the benefits of using Web Standards, and that we can start using some of the features of HTML5 & CSS3 today, we’ll see fewer Flash driven websites.

The great Flash vs. Web Standards debate

Web Standards advocates have evangelized their use for 10+ years. The debate among developers and designers often gets as heated as a discussion on same-sex marriage - causing uncomfortable divisions among some of the smartest people in our field.

With the recent announcement of the iPad's lack of Flash support, and the continued lack of it on the iPhone, this debate has reached beyond the development community to include Adobe and Apple themselves.

With Apple's anti-Flash stance, it has become too hard to argue the development of a completely Flash-based site when doing so would leave out a potentially large audience.

Eventually, Flash will make it to mobile devices, but that's really only a small part of this debate and one of the better arguments that Web Standards advocates have. What's really at the heart of the matter, is how to deliver a great experience to users no matter their technology or platform.

"HTML5 vs. Flash" is the wrong discussion. "Accessible rich media" is the right one
- Jeffrey Zeldman (via twitter)

In the end, we're all just trying to create sites that can be accessed and used, no matter what tools we use to deliver them.
Healthy competition
In the early days of the web, Flash was pretty much the only way to deliver a rich experience across different browsers and platforms. CSS and JavaScript were very inconsistently supported between browsers and relying on them was hardly worth the trouble.

Flash saw great success early on and pushed forward at an accelerated speed - the small app that mainly made animations quickly became a very worthy development environment in its own right. Developers and designers alike made a choice to concentrate their efforts in that arena, often segregating themselves from the open web and backing the proprietary technology. Flash sites took over and dominated the web, and Web Standards had a hard time creating the experiences that users were...

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