Ah, Flash. It’s never been exactly clear what its one, true purpose is. The definition of “Flash” in my mind is “multimedia application”. Though most of all, Flash was made to make things animate!
A website sort of is a multimedia application, but its primary function is to serve information. In my opinion it’s okay to have a Flash animation or game embedded into a website, but it’s not so good to have all your information, links and images embedded in a Flash applet.
Here are some reasons:
- Google can’t see your valuable content. Most internet users use Google as their starting point. Google uses all sorts of information to figure out which websites are best to serve to the user. But Google can’t read inside Flash applets.
- Loading time. Needs no explanation.
- Many internet users browse using an iPhone or iPad. These Apple products don’t support Flash.
- Some internet users use an ad-blocker or similar to completely disable Flash on their computer.
- Some internet users are vision impaired. They have software to help them read text on a computer screen, which doesn’t work with Flash.
- Probably not as common, but some internet users, like myself, like to highlight text on a page in order to search for a term I don’t understand, or copy/paste so that I can write a quote or review.
What is Flash good for, in my opinion:
- Very simple games.
- Stand-alone multimedia applications. (eg. A product demonstration handed out at an exhibition or fair – something you won’t find on the internet)
If you have your heart set on creating a whiz-bang, animated, multimedia-rich website using Flash, please consider making a non-Flash version so that you don’t exclude some of your visitors and so that Google has something of yours to find.