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To Flash or Not – Let Your Website Decide

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flash or not vector To Flash or Not – Let Your Website Decide

Adobe’s Flash was in the news recently for all the wrong reasons – the launch of Apple’s iPad saw a barrage of criticism directed towards Steve Jobs’ company for its failure to include Flash in the gadget, but Apple seemed to think the application was no great shakes. In the world of web design however, Flash is an all-important tool that holds immense potential. It allows designers to control every pixel and generates beautiful sites that are well, flashy and aesthetically appealing. However, in spite of all these advantages, Flash seems to have developed a reputation as the bad boy of web design and something that designers must avoid like the plague.

While it’s true that Flash has various drawbacks – the site takes longer to load, it can be disabled by users who are familiar with it, it does not offer support for search engine optimization and that websites that are embedded in Flash do not show in the lists that search engines throw up on a query, it makes we analytics very difficult because it does not show where a user enters and leaves a webpage, it does not conform to standards on the web in that it is difficult to use the back button in your browser or link to text within a page, and changing even a small part of your site requires a designer who is adept at Flash – the biggest disadvantage of this application is that it is used erratically and irresponsibly.

So what is inherently a mistake on the part of the designer becomes a blot on the reputation of Flash. However, those who know this application better and are aware of how to use it judiciously, also know that is that it is not meant for every website. In general, Flash holds its own when it is necessary to the site – for content that is media-rich, animations that bolster the quality of a site, and photographs and videos that add to the informational and aesthetic appeal of a site, it’s ok to use Flash.

When programming a website with Flash, it’s important to remember these points:

  • Never use Flash when plain HTML will do.
  • Never use Flash just for the sake of using Flash – it’s not a skill that you have to show off at all times.
  • Embed Flash into a part of your page so that there is text and links for the search engines to index.
  • Provide a faster way for Flash movies to load
  • Allow visitors to opt out of viewing the Flash bits on your site. If they’re repeat visitors, they won’t want to sit through the same presentation over and over again.

Bottom line – use Flash judiciously and enjoy the benefits that this application brings to your website.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Bailey Digger, she writes on the topic of web design degree . She welcomes your comments at her email id: Baileyd@webdesigndegree.com.

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