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Why You Should Never Use Flash





simplyw00x
(This tutorial by Carl van Tonder <simplyw00x> August 2005. All rights reserved)

I mentioned in Making Your Website Look Professional that you should never use Flash in your website, and I felt that it deserved more explaination, as it seems pretty radom to tell people not to use a wonderful tool that everyone else is using without reason. So, reason:

1. Flash is not a website design tool
Why is a table-based layout bad? Because that's not what tables are for. Why is a Flash website bad? That's not what Flash is for. It lacks many features (more later), including any proper integration with any browser. It's great for hilarious short clips, interactive animated movies or even small games. However, you don't see companies using to produce fully-fledged commercial games, nor do you see entire movies made in Flash. This is because that's not what it's for. It may well work (badly, see below) as a nav bar, but that doesn't mean it works as an entire website.

2. Flash is seperate
If you're gunning for the 'n00b' market, i.e. you're a large business whose primary user is using IE with all the defaults, then it's going to maen that a fair proportion of your users may have to download and install Flash just for your website. In addition, slightly more tech-savvy users may be wary of installing anything a website tells them to, and they won't be able to see your website at all. In addition, large Flash intros or Flash websites with no alternative will drive away many 56k users, or users who are multitasking on their connection.

Yet another reason Flash is poor for a website is that it would require users who can just about navigate normal websites (back, forward, etc.) to learn how to view your website. This may not be so bad (thinks you), but in my experience people who know little about computers do so because they hate learning about computers, and what's more, learning how to view your website is utterly useless for the future (unless someone else makes one exactly trhe same).

3. Flash lacks necessary website features
The great thing about HTML is that just by typing <a href="foo">bar</a>, you not only create a link, but you also allow that link to be saved, bookmarked, opened in a new tab (or a new window), copied, inspected, and a whole host of other features. Just by making an HTML page you automatically give users Back, Forward, Refresh, bookmarks, saving the page and whatever else they may have browser-side.
The problem is that if you use Flash, you need to build all this functionality in directly to your Flash, for every website, for every page. Even then, you won't have replicated all the functionality, and all that code will have slowed down the loading time anyway.
No matter how slick your Flash website is, it'll never have all the functionality of an HTML website.

In addition, a Flash nav bar is just a waste of space. Any kewl graphical effects can be achieved through GIFs (if you really have to), but by choosing Flash for the nav you nuke all but the basic 'left click' functionality of the links, certain to piss off several users.

4. Flash is difficult
It's true. No matter how many kewl tutorials get posted on it, it will always be a bitch for webdesign because that's not what it's for. Site builder tools are a quick way out, but leave your website soul-less and difficult (if possible) to customise. Building in any features traditionally expected of websites will require some truly 1337 actionscript skillz, which in turn require lots of time and effort, which, as stated above, is ultimately not worth it.

5. Misc.
Flash is rubbish in terms of accesibility, as it doesn't use standard Windows API for forms and stuff, and offers no text alternative by default.
Flash also deals poorly with people on low resolutions, skewed resolutions (smartphones etc.) and black-and-white displays, being non-resizable and often relying on colour.




Bottom line:
  • Never have an entire website made in Flash
  • Never use Flash for navigation
  • Always provide a 'normal' alternative in case of either of the above
  • Never have background music (it's annoying), or always have it off by default
  • There should be a point to every element in the Flash. Don't waste bandwidth with kewl sky graphics and flashy things.
charliehk
For some tasks, Flash couldn't do well; but for some tasks, Flash could do better. And for certain effect, using Flash could save a lot of effort.

Also, Flash could download and play simultaneously, so speed may not be a major problem with careful design.

It should not be the single tool for website building. It may not be the best tool for certain tasks. But it is an alternative.
simplyw00x
Quote:
For some tasks, Flash couldn't do well; but for some tasks, Flash could do better. And for certain effect, using Flash could save a lot of effort.

There are only teo tasks Flash can do to any degree of competence:
Animated Video
Games


That's it. Not long video, not captured video, not long games, not very good games, just animated video and games.
charliehk
[quote="simplyw00x"]
Quote:
There are only teo tasks Flash can do to any degree of competence:
Animated Video
Games

That's it. Not long video, not captured video, not long games, not very good games, just animated video and games.


Agreed, but Flash is also good to capture screens to small sized video;
flash can produce quality cartoons with little space;
and flash could create interface with great interactivity.
simplyw00x
Quote:
Agreed, but Flash is also good to capture screens to small sized video;
flash can produce quality cartoons with little space;
and flash could create interface with great interactivity.

Sure, I said it was good for cartoon videos, but it's really not good for an interactive interface. Every single element of the interactivity needs to be hand-coded, and there's so much more point using JavaScript instead, as that integrates better with HTML and hence takes greater advantage of built-in browser features.
Grimboy
Why not have flash for navigation? The following should probably do (Just wrote the stuff now psdo-code quality stuff.)
Code:

--------------------
     index.php
--------------------
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
<title>Urghh... don't know if this will work</title>
</head>
<body>
   <div id="menu">
      <script type="text/javascript" src="head.js"></script>
      <map id="windows">
      <area shape="rect" coords="20,27,82,111" href="index.php?1" />
      <area shape="rect" coords="129,113,29" href="index.php?2" />
      <area shape="rect" coords="21,158,170,211" href="index.php?3" />
      </map>
      <script type="text/javascript" src="body.js"></script>
      <noscript>
         <img src="./images/sidebar.png"
         usemap="#windows" width="20%"
         height="50%" alt="A text menu" />
      </noscript>
   </div>
   <div id="content">
      var blah as string;
      blah = var $_GET['page' + ".php"
      <?php include(blah); ?>
   </div>
</body>
</html>
--------------------
      head.js
--------------------
<!--
var myWidth = 0;
var myHeight = 0;
  if( typeof( window.innerWidth ) == 'number' ) {
    //Non-IE
    myWidth = window.innerWidth;
    myHeight = window.innerHeight;
  } else if( document.documentElement &&
      ( document.documentElement.clientWidth || document.documentElement.clientHeight ) ) {
    //IE 6+ in 'standards compliant mode'
    myWidth = document.documentElement.clientWidth;
    myHeight = document.documentElement.clientHeight;
  } else if( document.body && ( document.body.clientWidth || document.body.clientHeight ) ) {
    //IE 4 compatible
    myWidth = document.body.clientWidth;
    myHeight = document.body.clientHeight;
  }
var bLoaded = false;   
   window.onload = itsokffnet;
   function itsokffnet(onload){
      bLoaded = true;
   }
   window.onresize = reevaluate;
   function reevaluate(onresize){
      if(bLoaded){
         window.location.href=window.location.href
      }
   }
// -->

--------------------
      body.js
--------------------
<!--
   var FlashWidth = parseInt(myWidth * 20 / 100);
   var FlashHeight = parseInt(myHeight * 50 / 100);
   document.write('<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash"\n');
   document.write('data="./flash/sidebar.swf" \n');
   document.write('width="' + FlashWidth + '" height="' + FlashHeight + '">\n');
   document.write('<param name="wmode" value="transparent">');
   document.write('<param name="movie" \n');
   document.write('value="./flash/sidebar.swf" />\n');
   document.write('<img src="./images/sidebar.png" \n');
   document.write('usemap="#windows" width="20%"\n');
   document.write('height="50%" alt="A text menu" />\n');
   document.write('</object>\n');
// -->



Long video can work with flash. If you have two options (stream, download) the user still has the choice. You can choose when the video should start steaming or you could give the choice to the user.

Whole sites? Why not? If you have everything running off information in databases then have your php or asp site as the index and if the browser passes a simple flash detection give the user the option to go to the flash site. If you have your database working nicely then once you've done the site you'll only have to update a database. Less than perfect but worth the effort for some.

Nice games? I agree with you there, this is due to flash not having proper idle time and being high level. Pretty solid stuff can be made if the effort is put in. (N comes to mind.)
techcheetah
i love Flash but hate to use it in websites.
blueknot
Flash does spices up your website in term of animation.

but one thing is that you got to make it load quickly.

I guess flash, after all is still professional.
snowboardalliance
Grimboy wrote:
Why not have flash for navigation? The following should probably do (Just wrote the stuff now psdo-code quality stuff.)
...


What you posted isn't even flash, its html and javascript, which just proves his point.
simplyw00x
Quote:
What you posted isn't even flash, its html and javascript, which just proves his point.

It is Flash. Note the output. However, it happens to use way to much Javascript (bearing in mind that 10% of web users have JS disabled) and still doesn't get around the fact that the only thing you can do with Flash buttons is left-click them.

Also, sure you can make a Flash frontend for your CMS, but why would you want to? Read my posts; I object to the basic premise of Flash as a form of website navigation.
Grimboy
simplyw00x wrote:
However, it happens to use way to much Javascript (bearing in mind that 10% of web users have JS disabled)


Wait, didn't you say earlier that we should be using javascript instead? Fair enough though, I agree. But you just couldn't make ridiculous but at the same time quite brilliant sites like these in html and css.
simplyw00x
Quote:
Wait, didn't you say earlier that we should be using javascript instead?

If I did (and I can't think why I would have) I meant comparatively, and only when you can't do it with just PHP or HTML.

Quote:
Fair enough though, I agree. But you just couldn't make ridiculous but at the same time quite brilliant sites like these in html and css.

Of course not, but those websites are a pain to navigate, take ages to load, are annoyingly flashy and inaccessible to blind or deaf users.
Jack_Hammer
Quote:
Long video can work with flash. If you have two options (stream, download) the user still has the choice. You can choose when the video should start steaming or you could give the choice to the user.


Flash video still hasn't got very good compresion although it is getting better all the time.

And as for Flash not being used by most people over 98% I believe of web users can view flash, and if you use flash correctly (Tends to be new people to flash that have errors and big files) but good flash toolbars introductions can look profesional and work incredibly well, with a SMALLER file size to still images as it can work well with the idea of vectors and high compresion.
Jack_Hammer
Flash can be read by MS Narrator, so there are little problems for the blind but as for the deaf they should have no problem viewing the images, most flash just have music as a soundtrack (as music files tend to be quite large in size) so they extract a snippet and repeat it.
gonzo
simplyw00x wrote:

Why is a table-based layout bad?

Because EXCESSIVE nesting slows rendering! Try DIVS

Quote:
If you're gunning for the 'n00b' market, i.e.

Funny you should mention IE (yes I know what "i.e." is). Most utterly clueless (noobs) stick with IE. Many people stick to dialup (I don't want to hear flames about big-pipe not available in country XYZ). Why pander to people who are unwilling to spend money? It's silly!


Quote:
IF you're a large business whose primary user is using IE


I'm not so I have zeeeerro problem redirecting ALL ie agent traffic to a firefox endorsement. Smile Smile Smile Smile


Quote:
Flash is poor for a website is that it would require users who can just about navigate normal websites (back, forward, etc.) to learn how to view your website

Again why pander to people who are limited to understanding back, forwards, and reload? hahaha



But I generally agree. Flash only is annoying. It's a captivation tool that usually torments users with literally flashING imagery and annoying sound microloops.



Here's the positive, feel good, be happy solution:


http://GreaseMonkey.mozdev.org


re-write the page as YOU see fit.

Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool
Texas Al
It tells me volumes that ever since switching to FF (like a year ago) I deliberately didn't install Flash. As it turns out, every useful website works for me just fine without it. Some of them give me that missing plugin message, but apparently whatever it is that's missing isn't essential to the functioning of the website (raising the question of why have it at all then). I get far fewer ads, especially those unspeakably vile ones that take over your whole browser window. The 1% of the Flash-only sites that I'm actually curious about I view in IE and 100% of them turn out to be goofy animation and game sites.

Animation and games are cute, but the real world uses the web for real world purposes... and when I run into a business using Flash, I automatically take them a little bit less seriously.

To me Flash says "I'm not too different from those animated dancing teddybear clipart imbeciles, but more pretentious and (assuming I actually bought the development software) richer."
Texas Al
So, simplyw00x, despite our differences on CSS-as-religion, I'm firmly in your camp where Flush is concerned. I'm hoping you'll write a similar 'anti-tutorial' about why ColdFusion is lame.
simplyw00x
Quote:
So, simplyw00x, despite our differences on CSS-as-religion, I'm firmly in your camp where Flush is concerned. I'm hoping you'll write a similar 'anti-tutorial' about why ColdFusion is lame.

I am now going to learn coldfusion, install it on my localhost and use it for a bit just for that purpose. Expect a 'Why You Should Never Use Coldfusion (or ASP or JSP)' tutorial shortly.

Quote:
To me Flash says "I'm not too different from those animated dancing teddybear clipart imbeciles, but more pretentious and (assuming I actually bought the development software) richer."

Amen.
S3nd K3ys
Flash? What's that?? Shocked

Don't use it, don't allow it to run in Firefox, don't need it, don't want it.
Jack_Hammer
S3nd K3ys wrote:
Flash? What's that?? Shocked

Don't use it, don't allow it to run in Firefox, don't need it, don't want it.


You should seriously think about it, it's a good form of getting information across to the user and as I said before has a high compresion rate, it's basically like a small progrma that loads and runs in your browser instead of it loading say Javascript of PHP etc. for the website it will load flash which uses Actionscript.
Jack_Hammer
" Flash Web Design: Pros and Cons

Flash is a powerful web technology that achieves a high level of visual impact from the graphical point of view. Unfortunately, it is widely misused in web design. There are still many problems with Flash, especially related to usability and search engine behaviour; we need to thoroughly understand what those problems are before we decide to use Flash for our site.

As with any business decision, it all boils down to understanding what our target audience wants.

If you want to make a big impression from a graphical point of view, Flash is definitely a good approach. However, concrete evidence still points to the fact that most web users utilize the web to find information, and what they regard most important is... "

Continued: http://www.discountdomainsuk.com/articles/9/570/0
simplyw00x
Quote:
You should seriously think about it, it's a good form of getting information across to the user and as I said before has a high compresion rate, it's basically like a small progrma that loads and runs in your browser instead of it loading say Javascript of PHP etc. for the website it will load flash which uses Actionscript.

But only if that user has flash installed, allows potentially dangerous flash content, has a high bandwidth connection and is not disabled in any way. Your arguments for Flash are unconvincing at best.
m_furquan36
how could you wage war against such a popular web-media-based software application which is the bread and butter for many companies, like flashkit.com! Flash aint that bad if you look at it overall, imagine not needing codecs for viewing flash moives, and besidez, deres a reason why microsoft gives Macromedia Flash 7 Player with their Error and Bug Prone Microsoft Windows XP SP2, cuz they dont wanna mess up oder companies businesses, (factually i dont think they even care, they give flash becuz the cour is gonna sap out money from them again!)
simplyw00x
Quote:
Flash aint that bad if you look at it overall

I have looked at it overall, and the cons far outweigh the pros.

Quote:
how could you wage war against such a popular web-media-based software application which is the bread and butter for many companies, like flashkit.com!

People make a living from murder. Money-making websites are devoted to bestiality and scat. Does that make any of these right? No.

Quote:
deres a reason why microsoft gives Macromedia Flash 7 Player with their Error and Bug Prone Microsoft Windows XP SP2, cuz they dont wanna mess up oder companies businesses,

They don't. You have to download it from Macromedia.

Quote:
(factually i dont think they even care, they give flash becuz the cour is gonna sap out money from them again!)

You type like a chav. Make sense please.


To conclude, a quick list of for/against for Flash:
Quote:

For:
  • Easily compressible and relatively universal animated video format
  • Relatively easy to learn (for animation)

Against:
  • Incompatible with many built-in features of HTML
  • Encourages annoying animations and sounds.
  • Never designed as a website-creation tool, and it shows
  • Discriminates against low-bandwidth, disabled and novice users
  • Requires a seperate download, is not built into Firefox or IE.
  • The authoring software is wildly expensive, unreliable and bloated.
  • There are no free SWF file creators that are actually competent
  • It drains professionalism from your website

Grimboy
simplyw00x wrote:
You type like a chav. Make sense please.


Not his fault that he got so poor social security had to kicki in, anyway that beating was an isolated incident and he'd had a lot to drink.

Flash has had a lot of fundimental design mistakes. (No non-hack XHTML way to embed, no percentile embeding (AND it's a vector format) without a load of javascript.) I think the classic blind arguement is irrelevent, flash is MADE for visual content.
simplyw00x
Quote:
I think the classic blind arguement is irrelevent, flash is MADE for visual content.

...so by making your entire website in Flash, you're really just saying that your website is essentially visual (despite presumably containing text) and telling everyone for whom this is not an option (mobile device users, visually impaired people, people on low bandwidth) to stuff it. Nice.
grief
I agree, a website built totally in flash will have many faults, but I still like using flash for animations and I'm currently developing my skills in making games in flash.
windval
i do not agree with you
i always build up my website by flash and dreamweaver
yjwong
Since you say so, can you mention more than 10 programs that can create interactive content? I bet no! (not including those progs that can create SWFs)

A list of pros and cons:
Pros
* Easily compressible and relatively universal animated video format
* Relatively easy to learn (for animation)
* Files are smaller than traditional HTML pages. (Same design)
* GUI based.
* Interactive content without complex codings.
* Accessible almost to all. (Broadband technology is spreading fast)

Cons
* Incompatible with many built-in features of HTML
* Discriminates against low-bandwidth, disabled and novice users
* Requires a seperate download, is not built into Firefox or IE.
* The authoring software is wildly expensive, unreliable and bloated.
* There are no free SWF file creators that are actually competent
* For importing files, the white part of the file cannot be cut of. (becomes transparent)

*Took some from simplyw00x

Now, balanced.
blueknot
Alas.

no point blinkering.

i think it boils down to personal preference.

so no point talking about it anymore.

haha.
simplyw00x
Quote:
* Files are smaller than traditional HTML pages. (Same design)
* Interactive content without complex codings.
* Accessible almost to all. (Broadband technology is spreading fast)


Files are only smaller than image-laden HTML, another thing to avoid.
Coding interactivity for Flash is harder than, say, PHP
Accessible sure, except to the millions on 56k, the blind, the small-screen users, the security-conscious etc...

Quote:
i do not agree with you
i always build up my website by flash and dreamweaver

Care to explain why, other than laziness?
auacule
So what would be your suggestion to make things more animated in a website?

I mean I hate moving things while I'm trying to read the website's contents as much as the next person but I'm designing a site for children and they usually like shiny, moving stuff...
grief
If it's for children, then indeed I think flash is the best, children do like that kind of thing.
simplyw00x
But wiull children know how to download and install Flash player? Will they be receptive to learning how to do things all over again? Children have short attention spans, and a Flash website requires re-learning everything. By all means use it to add colour and animation, but use a real CMS and real HTML for the actual content, and real links for the links.
polarBear
Take into account the fact that kids learn, and that server side scripts don't provide any sort of interaction (they run, process, return or print, and suicide. Period). Well designed flash-based applications have demonstrated their true advantage over any arcane dhtml or plain html: they can be fun. Go to www.cartoonnetwork.com and tell me what you see all over the place. Lots of games. DHTML games? No. HTML Quizzes? No. Primitive and fun games.

As for accesibility, there is always the posibility of providing both contents overlapping one each other (same size divs, different z-index), and that way your content is ALWAYS going to be understood, wether you're visually impaired or not.

As for usability, there's the possibility of regaining the browser's essential functionality (back,forward, bookmark) with little effort.

As for portability, flash plugins exist for most OSs and can be pretty fast to download, compared to other plugins like SVG or Shockwave or even QUICKTIME...

As for streaming, you can stream videos if you want to (Sorenson codec, one of the best ones around, is included on the plugin, and you can import several file formats to it), or sounds (mostly MP3 but also wav and perhaps ogg with an extra component).

Also, you can have normal text that you can select, copy and paste, and you can also include PDF's and some sort of hybrid called flash papers.



Given all this, all availlable from the Macromedia Whitepapers, and the fact that you can actually use javascript syntax on your documents since MX 2004, I don't know why you are complaining. The fact that the unknown scares you isn't an excuse for being a zealot. Get it.
twocarlo
application made from Flash is slow..... thats all and thats the real deal.... its only good for when you used it offline ,Flash is Presentation software... rather used on the web... or unless you can afford to buy a Mac....that is surely would work fast on that system...
Bookface
I was happy when I read the original post.

Then I was sad when I kept reading and realized it wouldn't change anything.

I don't have flash installed, I don't want it installed, and in most of the browsers I use most of the time, it would be complicated or impossible to install it. I like having content that search engines can search, I like having web pages that interact when I want them to (javascript disabled by default, allowable per-site with Firefox extension NoScript.)

I want a simple web, and I want my information lean and mean.
Aelita
Okay i stoped actually reading this about the third post, and just skimmed the rest. i don't see the reason for this topic other than he stated an opinion and backed it up. Thats his opinion. So what. There are drawbacks to everything. There is also a good side to things (else people wouldn't be trying to put flash in their sites). Nothing is going to change because of this topic. and its obviously not a tutorial, because it tells you to completely not to use an aspect of webdevelopment. Maybe it wasn't meant for webdevelopment, but human weren't meant to fly so we built airplanes.. If you don't get the point to that go back to school.. But anyway my point in even responding to a topic that i don't thinkshould even be a topic, at least not here, is just to say that this doesn't belong here. This is a section for helping people understand how to do things, not to persuade them not to use something.
yjwong
Actually, you don't have to download Flash Player. Now, many computers comes with Flash Player.

<offtopic>A nice debate topic</offtopic>
simplyw00x
This is a tutorial, as it explains how to do several things:

  1. Increase accessibility
  2. Make your website look more professional
  3. Annoy your users less
  4. Be more friendly towards low-bandwidth users
  5. Return to a more correct method of web design


The fact that all of these are achieved by uninstalling Flash and vowing to never use it again as long as you live is neither here nore there. The topic title 'Why you should ever use Flash' was used as an abbreviation for the above.

I think that if you ever find yourself needing to do something that can't be done using xHTML, CSS or PHP (or possibly, possibly Javascript), you need to examine closely whether you really need it.

I can take the point about websites for children needing to be more fun and interactive. By all means, use Flash for such specialised usage; Flash was designed for specialised usage.

And sure, there may be ways to restore some of the basic functionality of HTML, but why bother? Why not just use HTML, which, stunningly enough, already has the basic functionality of HTML? Is your uber1337 Flash menu worth that much? Do you really need it? Does it, to put it simply, adctually add anything of worth to your website?

If not, chuck it and never look back.
morningstar
Hi,

I think every webmaster should decide on his own using swf movies to code pages, menues or whatever. In some cases it´s the only way to prevent shown files (e.g. music or movies) from being copied by others. You have to record them instead.

I like very much watching a perfect looking flash-page or flash elements in good relation to the page content. It`s worse to use flash only to have many game-like web-elements without any interesting content.

But:

If you just want a text to be shown take a book. Internet is multimedia. Flash provides multimedia.

Users who deactivate browser plugins like flash and java or javascript code are missing much in my opinion. Many sites even do not work correctly without.

Html, CSS, PHP, flash, js, java and other technologies are all fitting the web. It is not very innovative to leave out working technologies.

The best way to produce pages is to code everything the way you like it and if anybody does not like it. So what.

The world is free and diversified. Give yourself a kick and be open for everything. Cool

But I agree to the point with the disgusting flash ads.Twisted Evil I hate them and wish to have the function to ignore swf`s in some arrays.


morningstar (excuse my english, i`m from germany)
supjapscrapper
simplyw00x wrote:
(This tutorial by Carl van Tonder <simplyw00x> August 2005. All rights reserved)

I mentioned in Making Your Website Look Professional that you should never use Flash in your website, and I felt that it deserved more explaination, as it seems pretty radom to tell people not to use a wonderful tool that everyone else is using without reason. So, reason:

1. Flash is not a website design tool
Why is a table-based layout bad? Because that's not what tables are for. Why is a Flash website bad? That's not what Flash is for. It lacks many features (more later), including any proper integration with any browser. It's great for hilarious short clips, interactive animated movies or even small games. However, you don't see companies using to produce fully-fledged commercial games, nor do you see entire movies made in Flash. This is because that's not what it's for. It may well work (badly, see below) as a nav bar, but that doesn't mean it works as an entire website.

2. Flash is seperate
If you're gunning for the 'n00b' market, i.e. you're a large business whose primary user is using IE with all the defaults, then it's going to maen that a fair proportion of your users may have to download and install Flash just for your website. In addition, slightly more tech-savvy users may be wary of installing anything a website tells them to, and they won't be able to see your website at all. In addition, large Flash intros or Flash websites with no alternative will drive away many 56k users, or users who are multitasking on their connection.

Yet another reason Flash is poor for a website is that it would require users who can just about navigate normal websites (back, forward, etc.) to learn how to view your website. This may not be so bad (thinks you), but in my experience people who know little about computers do so because they hate learning about computers, and what's more, learning how to view your website is utterly useless for the future (unless someone else makes one exactly trhe same).

3. Flash lacks necessary website features
The great thing about HTML is that just by typing <a href="foo">bar</a>, you not only create a link, but you also allow that link to be saved, bookmarked, opened in a new tab (or a new window), copied, inspected, and a whole host of other features. Just by making an HTML page you automatically give users Back, Forward, Refresh, bookmarks, saving the page and whatever else they may have browser-side.
The problem is that if you use Flash, you need to build all this functionality in directly to your Flash, for every website, for every page. Even then, you won't have replicated all the functionality, and all that code will have slowed down the loading time anyway.
No matter how slick your Flash website is, it'll never have all the functionality of an HTML website.

In addition, a Flash nav bar is just a waste of space. Any kewl graphical effects can be achieved through GIFs (if you really have to), but by choosing Flash for the nav you nuke all but the basic 'left click' functionality of the links, certain to piss off several users.

4. Flash is difficult
It's true. No matter how many kewl tutorials get posted on it, it will always be a bitch for webdesign because that's not what it's for. Site builder tools are a quick way out, but leave your website soul-less and difficult (if possible) to customise. Building in any features traditionally expected of websites will require some truly 1337 actionscript skillz, which in turn require lots of time and effort, which, as stated above, is ultimately not worth it.

5. Misc.
Flash is rubbish in terms of accesibility, as it doesn't use standard Windows API for forms and stuff, and offers no text alternative by default.
Flash also deals poorly with people on low resolutions, skewed resolutions (smartphones etc.) and black-and-white displays, being non-resizable and often relying on colour.




Bottom line:
  • Never have an entire website made in Flash
  • Never use Flash for navigation
  • Always provide a 'normal' alternative in case of either of the above
  • Never have background music (it's annoying), or always have it off by default
  • There should be a point to every element in the Flash. Don't waste bandwidth with kewl sky graphics and flashy things.



For small websites like your résumé or funny journals, I think that flash technology may really be well considered.
May problem wit flash is that it s not free.Marketing lies that pretend that flash is a professionnal tool are really unaccurate...
polarBear
Hmm... check this out:
http://www.fantasy-interactive.com/

http://www.volvocars.com/_campaigns/VolvoOceanRace/new_start.htm

http://www.rr.com/flash/

http://www.whoswestudios.com/kimpire/splashpage.html

All small and un-professional stuff ¬¬ specially fantasy interactive
tyxl
flash can be really usefull for somethings. But what he means is that a complete flash site or "noob-made flash animations" aren't good for a website. So the only thing you have to do is to give the guest a chose: flash or html. And then it orks fine Smile
you can also include a detection of flash player and if there is none then load html page. But nowadays most computers got a flash player(but an older version). So always try to export you flash version as old as ossible.
e.g.: export as flash 4 is better then flash 8 bcause more people got the flash player 4 Smile. Make shure you don't take the oldes tneither cause then some functions won't work ...

All you have to do is think about what you making and giving the guest an as easy as beautifull webpage when he visits your site Smile
That's the challendge of every webdesigner.
simplyw00x
The point is not 'look at all these sites that spent far too much time on their layouts and have something that looks like hot shit', it's 'look at all these sites which are clearly designed by people who aren't web designers otherwise they would understand that HTML, CSS, PHP and a little JS are perfectly adequate for any web use and Flash is entirely unneccessary'.

Unless you have some amazing reason that normal, real, web techologies aren't good enough, bloody use them.
CELR
Well i agree with simplyw00x Flash is not for designing websites, also the Flash sites sometimes are annoying because you don't have time to wait an stupid intro to load up and all the content.

So in my very personal point of view.. NEVER use flash to design a webpage.
ryanh2006
Hello simplyw00x I just wanted to thank you for spreading the message! Flash based sites suck for the very reasons you mentioned. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a huge, bloated website to load even on a 128K line. Some sites weigh in as much as 4MBs!!! I mean get real here! What exactly is the author trying to prove? And that aside, flash sites don't scale well on different platforms and on different browsers. Well I just felt like popping in and reading this thread because I too wanted to add my opinion and hopefully as a collective voice authors will begin to realize that relying solely on flash for a mission critical site is without doubt the biggest mistake an e-commerce (or heck any site!!) site can make. Smile
{name here}
I think flash is good for simple things on web pages you'll only use for so long, such as ads, or highlights of the website or company on the front page - like Intel, IBM, or AMD's website. After that one single flash animation, everything is PHP/ASP/HTML.
clownFart
ok wtf are you talking about there are so many good flash sites out there. I know theres lots of gay ones, but once you see some good ones woul whant one.
some awsome ones:
http://www.2advanced.com/flashindex.htm
http://www.xrs.pl/
http://www.leoburnett.ca/
http://whoswestudios.com/flashsite.html(my favorite)
and soooo much more awsome ones, check out http://www.greg.ch/flash/ for more.
neonard0
Hi, guys I'm a web developer and i think that Flash gives so many chances of making new things, of course there is a price for this, (maybe more use of processor or memory). And you have to think that not all the web pages or better the main concept of the web page has been made to work with flash. just think in e-bay, their bussines is to let other people to buy other things, not thir things, so the web page does not have to look so much complicated or there is no need to have a complex animation, but if you want to design a web for a Night Club, well now there is a need to have a good appereance, cause everything begins with the first view. And there is other point of view, you have to take in count and is to think th people that is going to use or view your web app and think if they are gona used a powerfull computer (cause not all the people has a good computer, and for exampple int colombia some internet coffeShop still use a pentium III at 700Mhz with 120Mbytes of ram and Not accelerator video card, so sorry Embarassed ) or not and then decide if a complex o basic animation needs to be done.
So my conclusion is that flash works fine in some areas and for some people and some others prefer basic html design, so my recomendation is to made that 2 things, a flash web based and a html web based. More work but everybody is happy
kawkazEE
what a nice topic!! but sorry it didnt affect a bit on my loyalty to flash, in terms of coding actionscripting is more like javascripting... Laughing Crying or Very sad
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