Website Development – Six Reasons to avoid Flash

Recently one of my reader commented on my Post Web Standards and described how some Company in his knowledge suffered due to fully Flash Website.

Flash is a great interactive tool and really has changed Web Contents but in my view, it is not a good choice for most commercial web sites. Its great to use Flash as part of website, but in no way a prudent choice for full website. Flash being a proprietary technology breaks most web standards and conventions.

Here are six reasons, why we should avoid to use Flash.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Problems:

Although recently Google has announced that with collaboration of Adobe, now they are able to read through Flash contents but still Information embedded in Flash is often invisible to many other large search engines like MSN.

Search engines scan information on a web site, process and retrieving the best match for each user query. Robots (Small Software, used by Search Engines to scan a website) usually cannot process text embedded in Flash and graphic files. Sites designed completely in Flash often offer very little textual information completely ignoring different type of SEO Basics and fully contravene with most of rules given in Google Web Master Guide.

Tip: From SEO point of view, don’t use fancy flash buttons and navigation bars. Search engines track and love text links.

2. Statistics; An Important feature of Today’s Web; is missing

Web Statistics helps to evaluate website success and provide important information about visitor’s behavior, that help professional Web Developers, Designers and Marketer to come with more better and user oriented web solutions.

Some of important questions, web statistics answers are: Visitors came from, the pages visited and from where visitors left a site. Web Statistics are able to track when a Flash object, typically a swf file, is viewed. They are not able to track navigation within a Flash object – so if a site is composed of one Flash object which contains multiple site sections, the web analytic system will see a swf download, but will have no idea which parts of the site a visitor viewed nor where the visitor left the site.

3. Flash breaks web usability standards

Flash Breaks some of most important Web Usability Standards. Few examples are:

Browser Back Button do not work.
You cannot copy-paste important information like contact information.
Important Accessibility Features of browsers like Zoom In, Zoom our and Font Size change are not available.
You can’t book mark some page form site for future review. (As Flash Site has only one page as per Browser Eye)
4. Lack of consistent cross platform support

One of the keystones of the web is that a website should work in any browser on any computer – it is openness and standardization which has made the Internet universal. Flash breaks the basic tenets of website design. While most Internet users have Flash installed – they don’t necessarily have the right version installed. Indeed version 8 wasn’t even released for the Linux platform, locking those users out of sites developed for Flash 8 and 9 (Flash 9 for Linux has finally been released, months after the Windows version).

5. Some users disable Flash to avoid flash based advertising.

Savvier web users have learned to disable Flash in web pages to avoid animated advertising and / or to improve page-loading times on dial-up connections.

6. Website updates continually require Flash skills
Although now Flash based photo galleries and some other content management features are available but either that higly expensive or have limited features. Usually for sites developed in flash need high level flash skills for updation. (Khuram)


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