Why We Don’t Use Flash

Flash is having a bit of a hard time of it recently.

What with apple’s crusade to publicly humiliate the company responsible for perhaps one of the most installed suite of software on apple computers, Adobe, Microsoft’s attempt at a  competitor in Silverlight and the upsurge in people proclaiming HTML5 is here (it isn’t by the way but that is another blog post), Adobe flash is slowly falling out of favour.

Now it is Google’s turn to stick a knife in with the recent launch of Instant Previews (link: http://www.google.com/landing/instantpreviews/ text: http://www.google.com/landing/instantpreviews/)

While the idea isn’t new (there have been plugins for blog software and Bing already did something very similar) this will probably be the first introduction most web users will have to the idea.

(link: https://www.superdream.co.uk/wp-content/oldblogs/2010/11/instantpreview.png text:
(image: https://www.superdream.co.uk/wp-content/oldblogs/2010/11/instantpreview-300×212.png alt: instantpreview)

In operation it is very simple. Simply click the magnifying glass or hit the down cursor and you will see a small image pop up giving you an instant preview of the site you are interested in.

This is all very well until you come to a site using flash. Because the google bot doesn’t really have a flash player installed you see the following.

(link: https://www.superdream.co.uk/wp-content/oldblogs/2010/11/instant-preview-with-flash.png text:
(image: https://www.superdream.co.uk/wp-content/oldblogs/2010/11/instant-preview-with-flash-300×212.png alt: instant-preview-with-flash)

A blank grey image. This will obviously not look good to potential visitors and could lead to them skipping right over your site.

While we would never recommend producing a website fully in flash, there are still times when it should still be used, such as for videos and areas where lots of animation is called for.

So what should I do if my website uses flash?

Our recommendation would in most cases be, replace the flash! Modern web development techniques coupled with better and faster web browsers mean that we can do most of what Flash enables you to do, but in a more accessible, search engine friendly way.

What about your website?

The bird & co website currently uses flash for the images carousel  on our front page which is displayed as a grey box to potential visitors using google instant. We are currently developing a new version of our site and to address this problem we are going to update the front page to use a javascript image banner. This will have other benefits as well. Users who don’t have flash installed will be able to see the images, visitors who use screen readers will be able to navigate more easily and understand what the images are about, and search engines will also be able to read what is in the images via “alt tags”.

Free Website Audit

For more information or advice on Flash, modern flash replacements, Search Engine Optimisation and usability, feel free to contact Bird & Co and talk to one of our team. After carrying out a free website assessment, we can suggest where improvements can be made.

To claim your free Website Marketing Audit assessment, fill in your details on our (link: https://www.superdream.co.uk/web/contact-us text: contact form).