To Flash or not to Flash

“Flash is a great way to enhance a website”. I think the operative word in that sentence is the word enhance. Flash can lend itself really well to add those dynamic touches to a website and if used well and make a real difference between a boring site and an exciting one. Take for example. Flash is used conservatively at the top of the page and this adds a real sense of sophistication to the whole page. However, if overused, this can lead to a potential Death by Flash.

Personally I don’t mind a bit of gloss as part of a website, however the thing that really annoys me are complete sites built in Flash. It’s not just because of the fact that they are harder to navigate (as each site designer can implement his own navigation style), but also because the whole website is one atomic package. There is no way to address content buried in the site, there is no way to interact with the site programmatically, there is no way to even access the site unless you are using the right technology. And this to me is very anti-Web. I suppose I’m singling Flash out here because of it’s prevalence, but the same idea applies to Java websites, ActiveX web-controls, Silverlight and all the other technologies which trade away usability for the sake of standing out from the crowd.


  1. I agree poor usability drives me crazy. Most flash is worthless dazzle that adds nothing. As you mention, using it can add value but so often it is done poorly and just makes me go elsewhere. Web developers really should understand the ideas on and

  2. Totally agree. It’s one of these cases where “less is more” isn’t it. My advice is always to keep things as simple as possible but most Flash designers seem to miss this.

  3. Flash has got so bad (at least on sites that I visit) that I’m now using ‘flash block’ add-on in my Firefox. Now sites load much quicker and I can open the flash content at my discretion. Still, you are absolutely correct about such content being more of a hindrance than help.

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